Most people are tempted to squish bed bugs to get rid of them, but is it an effective extermination method? As it turns out, squishing bed bugs isn’t a good idea. Their bodies rapture, attracting more of the insects.
You can squish a bedbug if it fed not long ago because its body will be relatively soft, much like a cooked pea. Bed bugs have rather stiff exoskeletons that provide their bodies with a rigid structure. However, when fed, their shells soften and become easy to squish.
I will discuss more on what happens when you squish a bed bug in the next segment of this article. I’ll also give you tips on how to prevent or control bedbugs.
Why It’s Difficult to Squish a Bed Bug
Bed bugs, like most insects, have an exoskeleton that functions as the human skeleton. This hard shell gives their bodies structure, and it’s tough enough to keep them in form even under pressure. You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve tried to squish a bed bug before.
The inflexible nature of an exoskeleton is what makes insects with exoskeletons shed their hard shells as they grow. However, the rear section of bed bug bodies isn’t as tough as the front. Instead, it’s more flexible.
When bed bugs feed, the back of their bodies expands to allow for more “food” storage.” It’s as if your belly can expand to 3 times its original size to let you eat more. Therefore, the rear of the insect’s body is flexible and soft to accommodate more food, making it easy to squish when full.
What Does It Look Like When You Squish a Bed Bug?
It goes without saying that controlling bed bugs can be annoying, and you can resort to unconventional ways if the conventional methods fail. One of these unconventional techniques involves squishing them. Seeing a bedbug lingering on your sheets might scare you, and you might think of squishing it immediately. So, what does squishing a bed bug look like?
Squishing a bedbug will burst its full belly, and its contents (the blood it has been feeding on) will stain your mattress or sheets. The blood spatter could also cause your skin to itch or feel irritated. A pungent smell also follows the burst. So, think twice before squishing a bed bug.
Squishing Bed Bugs Results in Blood Stains
Squishing bed bugs will burst open their bellies, spilling their content and stain the surface you squish them on. Bed bugs feed on blood, so you’re likely to stain your duvets, sheets, or mattress if you squish bed bugs on them.
If you have white sheets, these stains can pose an even bigger problem. Remember, the blood from a bed bug’s belly is still fresh, making it more likely to stain. You know how difficult it is to remove blood stains. So, you better think it through before squishing a bed bug.
If you have to squish a bed bug, ensure it’s not on your bed or on a surface that’s likely to stain. Still, why squish it while there are more effective ways to remove bed bugs from your home?
Squishing a Bed Bug Releases a Pungent Smell
If you’ve squished a bed bug before, you know what I’m talking about. It’s too gross. Ordinarily, bed bugs have a foul smell even when their bellies are intact — it’s just not very strong. It’s the same smell you experience when you flip an infested bed.
When you squish bed bugs, the smell is more potent. Surprisingly, the unpleasant odor is actually a way for the insect to communicate with the rest of the gang that something wrong has happened. Therefore, the remaining bugs also produce the pungent smell to pass on the “message.”
Just like you’d communicate with your neighbors in an emergency by blowing a whistle, bed bugs communicate through the pungent smell. So, squishing one might trigger the rest. Imagine how many insects there could be, then try to picture all of them releasing the signal. It won’t be delightful, so you’ll probably want to avoid it.
The bedbug’s body structure gives you shivers and itchy senses.
Bed bugs excrete small anesthetic amounts on your skin, so you won’t feel their bite. About half of bed bug bite victims develop noticeable reactions.
Symptoms of bed bug bites include the following:
- Itchy skin
- Fluid-filled blisters
- Red swollen spots on the skin
- Blood stains on bed sheets due to scratching your skin
The symptoms worsen when the blood from a squished bed bug touches your skin. The blood on your sheets and duvets might touch the rest of your body, increasing the unpleasant sensations that come with bed bug infestations.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
The first thing to do when you have unwelcome tiny guests in your home is to know why your home is infected in the first place. You might be fighting a losing battle.
Getting rid of bed bugs requires some serious diligence. You must stick to a removal plan until the last one is gone. Otherwise, a resurgence is possible.
Bed bugs are notorious for hitching rides on luggage. Sometimes you bring them into your house unintentionally through second-hand clothing and furniture.
Although there are claims of bed bug infestation in retail malls and movie theaters, you or someone else will rarely bring them into your house.
Therefore, bed bugs come from houses or places they have already infested. Be wary of them when buying second-hand household items and when you return from a holiday. They might be in your luggage.
Here’s how you get rid of bedbugs:
- Declutter your house. Bed bugs love to hide in cluttered places and crevices where it’s hard to locate. Use unique bed bug covers on infested mattresses to make it harder for them to reach you while you sleep.
- Regularly wash your sheets, bedspread, and anything that touches the floor. Cleaning your household items often will reduce the bed bug population. Also, remember to clean your laundry containers because they love hiding there.
- Try a heat treatment. Raising your thermostat’s target temperature won’t do the trick. There is special heat treatment equipment designed to get rid of bed bugs. This equipment operates at temperatures high enough to kill bed bugs. Usually, bed bugs die when their body temperature exceeds 45°C (113°F).
- Don’t always go for sprays. Getting rid of bed bugs from your house is a comprehensive approach. Integrated pest management methods might help reduce their population and limit the use of pesticides. Seek the advice of a professional if you need to use pesticides.
- Inspect second-hand or borrowed furniture units before bringing them into your house. Pack suspected items in a bag and freeze them for about a week.
- Install bed bug pitfall traps or receptors around your bed. This will prevent them from crawling from other places to your bed.
You can buy this ClimbUp Insect Receptor (Amazon) to monitor and trap bugs trying to climb up your bed. It has a dual-well design that helps you determine which direction the bugs are crawling from.
Sleeping on a bug-infested bed is one of the worst experiences you could imagine. The experience is made even worse by removal efforts that never seem to work. If you’re thinking of resorting to physical squishing, think again.
There are more effective ways of getting rid of bedbugs than squishing. The blood from squishing bed bugs stains your sheets and may cause you to have a skin reaction.