How do scratches and bed bugs differ?

Recognize bed bugs and fight them properly - this is how it works

Bed bugs are annoying and multiply quickly. To get rid of the parasites, do not use insecticides and bed bug spray without professional help. What you can do.

Bed bugs can nestle in your home and become unwelcome roommates. There is no reliable preventive measure, but there are ways to get rid of these annoying animals. To do this, you should definitely turn to professional pest controllers.

"We have been observing an increasing increase in bed bug treatments for years," explains Adam Tesmer, pest controller from Berlin t-online. In recent years, more and more people have been calling him because they need help with bed bug infestations.

How do you catch bed bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) belong to the family of flat bugs. You may have brought the pests in suitcases from your vacation. You can also bring bed bugs or their eggs into your home through old furniture or clothes that you buy at the flea market or on the Internet.

In addition, bird nests are real breeding grounds for bed bugs. Since they can crawl along house walls, it can happen that they can get into the apartment from a nest or from an attic inhabited by house pigeons.

This is what bed bugs look like

Before you start tackling bed bugs, you should first make sure that they are actually bed bugs. You can recognize adult pests with the naked eye. They reach a body length of four to nine millimeters, depending on whether they are soaked with blood or not.

Bed bug: it is four to nine millimeters long, six-legged, hairy and red-brown in color. (Source: smuay / Getty Images)

Characteristic of the hairy, six-legged parasites is their reddish-brown color and the very flat body shape, which the tormentors owe their colloquial name "wallpaper flounder".

Not only in bed: find bed bug hiding places

Beds and mattresses are preferred dwellings for bedbugs. At night, they are attracted by the warmth, smell and breath of the human body. "Bed bugs usually move in and near the bed. Only when the infestation is very strong does it spread," explains pest controller Tesmer.

Then the bloodsuckers hide behind pictures, wallpaper, baseboards, light switches and in cracks and crevices in furniture. Sockets, electrical devices, blinds and curtains are also popular places to stay for pests, as the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) explains.

Most people only recognize an infestation after they have been bitten by the parasite. Because bed bugs are nocturnal and hide during their rest breaks.

A migration to other rooms only occurs when there is no longer a source of food. But the UBA warns: Bed bugs are able to starve for several months. This is why rooms that have been uninhabited for a long time and have not been properly renovated can be infested with bugs.

Other signs of bed bugs

There are signs that you can tell if you have bed bugs in your home.

  • Wanzenstrasse: If you have been bitten by bed bugs, a row-like arrangement will be visible, also known as bed bugs.
  • Traces of blood: If a bug bites, blood usually appears. A few drops also get onto the bed sheet or duvet cover.
  • Droppings:Small black spots could be bed bug droppings.
  • Dead bugs (nymph skins): In addition to live bed bugs, dead animals - bed bugs live between six and twelve months - or dead nymph skins can indicate an infestation.

Recognizing bed bug bites: This is how they differ from flea bites

It is popularly mistaken to say that bed bugs cause bites. In fact, they are bites because the bedbugs only feed on blood. The act of sucking blood lasts three to twenty minutes, depending on the stage of development of the bug. Bed bug bites often go unnoticed at first because the animals secrete an anesthetic secretion.

Back with bed bug bites: The bed bug bites are not visible in all people, but when they do, they usually appear in a row on Wanzenstrasse. (Source: Joel Carillet / Getty Images)

According to the UBA, people react differently to bed bug bites. While some people experience wheals and redness, others have no symptoms. Uncovered areas of the body, such as arms, legs, feet, shoulders, neck, neck and face, are particularly afflicted by the animals at night.

It is not that easy to distinguish bed bug bites from flea bites: Both insects are bloodsuckers and leave several bites behind. In contrast to bedbug bites, flea bites tend to be more itchy and sometimes cause papules - pea-sized swellings - on the skin.

Tip: If you don't have pets, it stands to reason that they are bed bugs - most of the fleas in this country are transmitted by dogs and cats.

Treatment of bed bug bites

"Bed bugs do not transmit disease," explains Tesmer, the pest control agent. In most cases, the bites can be treated with over-the-counter ointments or medication. Depending on the severity of the itching and the type of reaction, active ingredients such as cortisone or hydrocortisone can be used. If in doubt, you should contact a doctor.

If the affected areas are swollen, cause severe itching and wheals form, an allergic reaction could be behind it: The ingredients from the released saliva lead to these symptoms. In this case, contact a doctor.

Note:Even if it is very uncomfortable, do not scratch the itchy areas. Because in the worst case scenario, a small wound could develop in which bacteria cause inflammation.

Bed Bug Control: How To Get Rid Of Them?

It is best to contact a professional pest controller. This is the only way to ensure that the animals are completely removed and that there are no more eggs in your apartment. These are only about a millimeter in size and milky-white. The females lay around twelve eggs a day - up to 200 in their entire lives.

If you have the feeling that bed bugs may have lodged themselves, Tesmer recommends speaking to an exterminator as the first step. This clarifies whether it is actually a bed bug and what measures are necessary. You can find out here how a tracker dog recognizes bed bug infestations.


"We recommend spraying with insecticides. Due to the long-term effect of the agents, we can destroy all stages of the bed bug. One problem is the bed bug eggs: we currently cannot destroy them directly with any agent. With insecticides, we just wait until the bed bugs hatch. They poison themselves when they come into contact with the agent, "explains the Berlin pest control agent.

The insecticides are not toxic to humans and vertebrates such as cats and dogs. However, allergic reactions such as coughing and runny nose can occur.

Insecticides, including those advertised on the Internet, should not be used alone, warns the Federal Environment Agency. Only professional pest controllers can adequately apply them. Incorrect use could possibly even be harmful to health.

Temperature method

Since bedbugs, like other pests, are becoming increasingly resistant to pesticides, pest controllers use the so-called heat method as an alternative against the insects. The affected room is filled with air at around 50 degrees Celsius. Laboratory tests by the Berlin Federal Environment Agency have shown that bed bugs die after just 20 minutes at 45 degrees. The reason for this is that from this temperature the protein compounds in the enzymes denature (convert) and stop the metabolic processes. The animals also cannot survive temperatures below -18 degrees.

However, treatment with heat or cold is difficult if it is carried out in inhabited rooms. In addition, there has already been structural damage in old buildings when using heating systems, explains the expert.

Bed bug control costs

The cost depends on the type and number of treatments. Treatment with insecticides is usually cheaper; treatment with heat and cold is more expensive. The stronger the infestation, the more treatments are necessary. The fight can then extend over several weeks.

Those affected can be found by exterminators in the vicinity, for example on the website of the German Pest Control Association (DSV).

tip: Ask the owner of the house or apartment whether he or she will pay for the costs.

Carry out supporting measures yourself

To help the professional pest controller, you can take small measures yourself. You can vacuum up bed bugs by vacuuming the infested bed, for example. You should then close the vacuum cleaner bag or collecting container in a plastic bag and freeze it in the freezer.

Clothes can be washed at 60 degrees or freed from the parasites in the tumble dryer also at 60 degrees. Objects such as books that should not come into contact with insecticides can be put in the freezer for three days.

Preventing Bed Bugs: How To Keep The Parasites Away

It's difficult to prevent bed bugs. There is no guaranteed way to protect yourself from the pests. However, you can take some precautionary measures to reduce the risk of an infestation.

  1. Before you one Room in a hotel or a youth hostel relate, check for signs of bed bugs and request alternative housing if necessary.
  2. Make yourselfused furniture only if you can rule out bed bugs at work in it through a thorough inspection. To be on the safe side, you can also put the furniture outside for two days in winter when there is frost.
  3. Make your suitcase Do not place it on the floor or near the bed in the hotel room and always keep it locked.
  4. Store while travelingworn clothes in airtight bags or special storage containers. Bed bugs are based on the human odor and therefore often nestle in worn clothing.
  5. In addition, wash your clothes at least after your vacation 60 degrees. Do the same if you buy used clothing online or at a flea market. Anything that cannot be washed in the washing machine at 60 degrees can alternatively be frozen for 48 hours.

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.

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