Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have been a nuisance in this country for hundreds of years when they came over on sailboats from Europe. In the 1950’s when the pesticide DDT was introduced, the incidence of bed bugs dropped. In the 1970’s DDT was banned, but it wasn’t until recently that pesticide-resistant bed bugs have made a big comeback. With an increase in world travel, it’s easy for these tiny parasites to hitch a ride on clothing, luggage and humans as they move from one place to the next.

 

Mattresses carry the greatest risk of harboring bed bugs and their eggs.  Whether to discard your mattress and box springs depends on the condition of the mattress and infestation size.  If there are holes or tears in the gauze fabric or fabric of the mattress, bed bugs and eggs may be inside, as well as outside.  You can use Bettersleep Bed Mite Covers to completely enclose any bed bugs.  Enclose your mattress and box springs with these covers which have special locking zippers.  By eliminating their ability to feed for a year, they will die.  You should be wary of acquiring used furnishings, especially beds and couches.

 

Recognizing Bed Bug Infestation

Bed bugs (cimex lectularius) are dark reddish brown in color, oval, flat, and about one-eight to one quarter-inch long. They have no wings. Unfed young bed bugs can be almost translucent in color. Bed bugs are a nuisance to mammals because they bite us to dine on our blood. After feeding, their size can triple and they turn more reddish-purple. Bed bugs are not an indication of an untidy home or hotel. They are found in the cleanest of places, hiding behind loose wallpaper, in furniture, wall cracks, clocks, picture frames, bedding and carpet. A bed bug’s lifespan is 10 months to one year, and the female can have up to 250 offspring. In a one-year span, three or four generations may be born. Young adults can live for several months without feeding, and an adult may survive for a year without food. You’ll find bed bugs in areas where people rest, sit or sleep. They like to create their homes within 5 feet of their host, which could be you. They’re nocturnal, and shun daylight. During the night they come out and feed…on us. They like to bite us n the head, neck, arms, legs, hands or torso. Feedings last 2-5 minutes and then they move on. Fortunately, they’re not known to spread diseases to human

 

Signs of Bed Bugs.

• The most telling sign that bed bugs are present are the bites they inflict. Everyone reacts differently, according to how sensitive they are. Bites manifest as red spots, rashes, and even hives. These bites are sometimes mistaken for flea or mosquito bites.

• You may also find cast off bug skins that they shed as they grown from one stage to another. They shed their skin—or molt—5 times before becoming adults.

• After feeding, bed bugs deposit fecal matter (digested blood) which look like small rusty spots. These are found near where they feed or where they like to hide. Look under mattresses, box springs, seat cushions, and around light switch covers too.

• An odor that’s musty yet sweet—like soda pop syrup—is a telltale sign that bed bugs are present.

If bed bugs are found, discontinue inspecting and initiate a call to a professional pest control company immediately!

 

How Bed Bugs Travel

Bed bugs are not like lice. They do not travel on the host. Instead, they prefer to hitch a ride on clothing, suitcases, and backpacks. Check the seams and folds for signs of these tiny critters. Even airports can be a place for bed bugs to hang out. Once a bed bug catches a ride on someone’s luggage, it’s easy for them to travel in the cargo or baggage claim area.

At home or while traveling, check for bed bugs on your box spring, mattress, bed frame and sheets. They love to hide under mattress buttons, and in tufts and folds. They also like to hide behind headboards and under the edge of carpeting and rugs. Less common is to find them in bathrooms, living rooms and laundry rooms.

 

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

If you discover a bed bug infestation the first thing to do is call a professional pest control company right away. They are trained and licensed to deal with these pests, and know how to do it right.

 

If you find clothing that has sign of bed bugs, collect them in plastic bags until ready to launder. Then wash and dry them on the hottest setting the fabric will tolerate. If your suitcase is infested, you don’t have to throw it out. You may wash it by hand with a scrub brush and soapy water that’s around 100°F-120°F. Be sure to scrub along the seams and folds. According to the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota, if you have an item that can’t be washed, you can treat it with extreme temperatures. Exposure to 120°F for 2 hours is a minimum recommendation for treating bed bugs and their eggs. You can freeze them too, at a minimum of 23°F for 5 days. Just remember, the core of the article being treated must be at these temperatures listed. The best remedy is to consult with a pest control expert.