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If you’ve encountered the bed bug infestation, chances are that you will need to replace the bed because it’s the most common location these critters choose to live in.
As a temporary solution, many people choose to sleep on an airbed. And you might have a reasonable question: can bed bugs live on an air mattress?
The short answer is no, but that doesn’t mean they cannot live anywhere near it.
So, let’s find out what the signs of the bed bug infestation are and how these insects appear in our houses so that you can be prepared in case of an emergency.
Who Are Bed Bugs and Where Do They Come From?
Bed bugs are tiny wingless insects that vary in size from 1 to 7 millimeters and are similar to an apple seed in shape and color. They’re nocturnal creatures and typically attack at night. However, a bed bug might bite you during the day too, if you’re close to them and inactive for a long time — i.e. watching TV on a coach.
When not feeding, bed bugs hide in hard-to-reach places. These can be cracks and crevices in your walls, inside the foam padding on your chair or couch, or behind the wallpapers that started to peel off, etc.
“A crack in furniture as thin as the VISA card can be a perfect place for bed bugs to hide.”
Even though bed bugs can’t fly or jump, they’re able to crawl long distances pretty fast in search of a host to feed on. That’s why your bed may not be the main habitat of the infestation.
So, how can these gross critters appear in your house? Because they don’t just spawn in your bed out of nowhere, right?
Here are the possible ways how bed bugs can end up in your bedroom:
- Used furniture. Flea markets have their name for a reason. You may adore this vintage armchair you’ve bought for $25, but note that such a low price might be the result of an unpleasant surprise inside. It's better to avoid buying cheap used furniture.
- Luggage. Bed bugs are really good hitchhikers who can hide in your suitcase, backpack, purse, or other luggage items. So, if the sanitary conditions of the hotel you stayed in weren’t good enough, you might bring the bugs to your place upon your return home.
- Public places. A soft upholstered chair in the cinema or an office building, as well as seats in the public transport, can easily be home to a colony of bed bugs, and they can cling to your clothes and travel to your house.
Aside from that, you have more chances to get bed bugs if you live in an apartment building. Because you don’t always know all of your neighbors and what sanitary conditions they have in their home.
Can Bed Bugs Live on an Air Mattress?
Generally speaking, bed bugs don’t consider an air mattress as a good settlement for their colony.
And there are three reasons for that:
- They can’t climb it. More often than not, the sides of the air mattress are made using smooth material. Unlike wood or mattress fabric that has microscopic fibers and grippy texture, those smooth sides aren’t easy for bed bugs to climb and bite you.
- They can’t chew it. If you take a look at our selection of the best air mattresses for everyday use, you’ll notice that they’re made either of PVC or vinyl. Both these materials are designed to withstand multiple inflation-deflation cycles, and they’re very hard for bed bugs to chew on.
- They can’t form a colony inside it. An air mattress is basically a layer of air wrapped in film, so even if bed bugs manage to get inside, they won’t settle down and lay eggs in it.
So, as you can see, your airbed is totally safe when it comes to bed bugs, which means that you can use it as a sleeping space while searching for a colony.
Knowing about the main signs of the bed bug infestation will save you a lot of time and help get rid of them faster. Because your bed isn’t the only place where the colony can hide. In fact, bed bugs can only travel to your bed to feed on your blood, but their home might be in a totally different place.
So, here’s what you should look for:
- Red welts all over the body. The most obvious sign of having bed bugs is their bite marks on your skin. These marks look like mosquito welts and may appear on any part of your body, but the back and sides of your torso are most common because they’re the largest areas of your body in contact with the mattress.
- Dark spots on your sheets and mattress. These are your dried blood and the bed bug fecal matter, so if you see them every time you change the bedding, this is another sign of the infestation.
- Bed bug eggs and shells around the house. White and opalescent eggs and bed bug shells indicate that there’s a colony nearby, so if you notice them, inspect the nearest furniture pieces very thoroughly.
“Bed bugs have scent glands that release a strong odor when they feel a threat. This odor is somewhat similar to coriander (or cilantro), so if you suddenly can smell it in the air, check the area for bed bugs.”
So, are you dealing with bed bugs now? What are you planning to do to get rid of them? Share your stories below!