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Do I have bed bugs?

What do I do about it?

The Bed Bug Adviser
Victim’s Guide

Think you might have bed bugs?

We’re here to help. Our victims’ guide will help you identify your pest, treat an infestation, and keep your health and sanity intact.

At The Bed Bug Adviser, our independent team of experts has tested every treatment option, read all the research, and interviewed academic experts to get you the best possible advice.

Fill in your email below to see the full guide.

Bed Bug Victim Guide - Draft 4

How to tell (for sure) if you have bed bugs…

You might wake up with a suspicious, itchy set of bites; you might have caught a brief glimpse of something retreating into the darkness. Or you think you already know, and you’ve fled your bed and tried not to dream of bugs from your couch or hotel. (Hope you didn’t bring them with you!)

But are the bugs you saw really bed bugs? If you don’t have bites at all, or haven’t seen any bugs long enough to look closely, what evidence might tell you that your gut instinct is right?

It’s easy to mistake bed bugs – or bed bug bites – for a different pest.

A few things you should know about bed bugs…

Bed bugs aren’t microscopic. You can see even the smallest ones with your naked eye, but you generally don’t, because…

Bed bugs hide from human activity. If you’re moving, they’re hiding. If you see one, there are a lot more.

Only a quarter of us even react to bed bug bites. You may not even know if you’ve been bitten.

The easiest way to identify bed bugs is from the signs they leave behind.

Check out our full identification guide for more.

26 %
of samples submitted for identification are not bed bugs.

Know your bed bug life cycle.

Before you set out to get rid of your bed bug guests, know that just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they’ve gone away. Bed bugs can live anywhere between 12 and 16 months without a meal – these little vampires don’t need to eat your blood every day, and they’re so good at hiding it can be hard for even experts to spot them. Once you’ve seen definitive signs of bed bugs moving in, it’s time to find a treatment option.

So you do have bed bugs. How do you get rid of them?

One of the reasons we started Bed Bug Advisor: there’s more than a few treatment options for bed bugs, all of which vary quite a bit in efficacy and cost. And that’s just the professional pest control treatments; don’t get us started on the DIY ones.

Check your email for our thorough treatment guide, as it should be there soon. We tested the three most-often used treatment options  – and wrote up our results. Knowing what treatment works best for your particular home and level of infestation is the most efficient way to ensure you win your fight against bed bugs in a cheap and timely manner

Don’t transfer your bed bugs with you.

Bed bugs are talented hitchhikers – in fact, that’s usually how they move around the world, attaching themselves to humans as they move from place to place.

It’s important, while you’re treating an infestation, to ensure you don’t bring them along if you flee to a friend’s spare bed or a hotel room.

Make sure you read our travel guide if you’ve had bed bugs and need to get away – and bring one of our TravelGuard Bite Barriers with you, just in case.

What are our customers are saying about our products?

  • I was on an Airbnb Facebook group reading over the different posts where hosts share their different problems or questions and I kept seeing the bed bug issue come up, and one person said 'I don't know what to do, this is a disaster' and nothing I was reading in the comments was satisfying. It was pretty jarring and I thought as we're scaling this up I really need to do something preventative there and I just didn't know what to do. But then I met Brian the Bed Bug Adviser and learned a lot about how to deal with them and protect myself.

    Caroline Y.
    Caroline Y. Airbnb Property Manager and Traveler
  • What I like about the TravelGuard is that it's literally just a sheet, it's not bulky or anything like that, it's as easy to pack as a sheet, you can roll it, you can fold it down. There are more times than you think that you end up needing something like the TravelGuard.

    Caroline Y.
    Caroline Y. Airbnb Manager and Traveler
  • I selfishly put all of my TravelGuard sheets on my own beds at home and then afterwards put them on my guest beds.

    Jennifer T.
    Jennifer T. Airbnb Property Manager

TravelGuard Bite Barrier

Bed Bug Victim Guide - Draft 5
Bed Bug Victim Guide - Draft 6

Bed bugs can affect your mental health.

We’ve talked to a lot of bed bug victims. One long term effect they didn’t expect was something a lot like PTSD – a persistent fear that stays with them for months after the infestation was cleared up, trouble sleeping, and a constant anxiety.

It’s very common to feel like you’re getting phantom bites, or to have more trouble getting to sleep. Several victims we talked to felt like they needed to burn everything they owned (you don’t, but we understand the impulse) and you can end up feeling disoriented, unsafe, and paranoid.

“It would be weird for you not to be freaked out!
If you have bed bugs, and if you don’t care, that’s not
a normal reaction. You should be worried. I would
consider it a normal reaction to a stressor.”

-Stéphane Perron, University of Montreal

You’re not alone. 

Bed bugs don’t carry disease, but they are very good at getting to your mind. They love to hide in your bed, your safe space. Let me tell you, nothing is worse for a good night’s sleep than knowing there’s bed bugs about.

Read our guide to keeping your health and reclaiming your sanity during a bed bug infestation…

Let’s recap…

Don’t assume you have bed bugs. Make sure you know how to identify a bed bug – even if you don’t have bites and haven’t actually seen any bugs, you may still have them if you can spot the telltale signs.

Bed bugs are tough, resourceful parasites. They can live 12-16 months – and they’re experts at avoiding you and your attempts to eradicate them. Call a professional – but read our treatment guide which was emailed to you first.

Be careful if you’re traveling. Bed bugs are talented hitchhikers. If you’re going to a hotel, or a friend’s guest room, you can bring them with you without even realizing it. (We recommend bringing our TravelGuard Bite Barrier, just in case.)

Bed bugs often affect your mental health. Don’t underestimate your own health needs; take a few steps to protect yourself with our health recommendations.

We founded the Bed Bug Adviser to give bed bug victims with the best, most up-to-date information. If there’s a question we haven’t answered in this guide, please let us know below.

Until then, we hope this helps you sleep tight tonight.

Questions about fighting bed bugs?

The Bed Bug Adviser answers a new question a week over at our FAQ – check it out here and submit YOUR question below.

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