Bed bugs continue to be a problem that almost every day, one out of five Americans complain of a bite or an infestation at home. To fight these pests off, you need to have a better understanding of what they are and how to manage an infestation.
1. What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are oval-shaped parasites that survive and thrive on the blood of warm-blooded animals including humans. They are tiny, wingless insects with varying sizes. Nymphs are somewhere from 1.3mm to 5mm while adult bugs are about a quarter of an inch in length.
Adult bugs are reddish-brown in color while newly hatched nymphs are very light in color, almost clear. About more than ninety species are recognized in the world, the Cimex lecturius being the common that had invaded human abodes.
2. Can bed bugs spread diseases?
The first manifestation of bed bug bites are the telltale, red, angry marks on your skin after they have feasted on you while asleep. Despite the bites, bugs are not known to spread diseases. Still, you need to be wary of them and avoid being bitten. While biting, bugs inject a very small amount of saliva to sensitize your skin which with continued bites could lead to severe allergies. The bites can be very itchy but scratching could only intensify the itch and cause an infection.
3. Is every body part subject to bites, including private areas?
Most definitely! Anywhere they can extract blood, regardless of which part. However, bed bugs often move away from the most hairy part of the body.
4. Where do you find bed bugs?
You can find bed bugs almost anywhere in the world but there was a time when they were thought to have been totally eradicated towards the end of the 20th century. In recent years, however, they have resurged and have pestered the populations of Australia, Europe and North America.
They frequent areas where people sleep, hence their name but at home, they can be anywhere near the bed, the mattress, the sofa, carpet, in cracks and crevices – anywhere their flat tiny bodies can hide. They will come out to seek food and that is usually during the night when their preys are asleep.
5. How do bed bugs get into homes, offices or hotels?
The eggs and even the bugs themselves can easily attach to just about anything: luggage, boxes, clothing, bags, and briefcases to name a few. When any of these items are transported and they carry the pests with them, expect them to tag along and become residents of wherever the said items are brought. Another favorite transport vehicle is used furniture.
6. How can you tell if a place has bed bugs?
Just merely judging the façade of a place will not help you determine the presence of bed bugs especially because they cannot be associated with dirt or cleanliness. Also, they often infest only a portion of the place. The way to tell if the place has it is by doing a careful sight inspection or by hearing of complaints about bites. You can come to a place and see it as spotless as a clinical laboratory but checking the mattresses, the linens and areas that you know could be a possible hiding place would help determine their presence.
7. How do you stop the bites from itching?
There are several ways to stop the itch but the most common remedy is an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion. You may also ask your local pharmacist about anti-histamines that can help stop the itch but above all these solutions should be the elimination of what’s causing it.
8. Can a clean house still get bed bugs?
As mentioned above, sanitation has nothing to do with bed bugs. The easy way they can be transported is the main reason why a place would be infested. That is why it is unsurprising that places with heavy customer and commuter traffic are often bug-ridden – hotels, movie houses or bus terminals.
So even if your house is clean, a luggage or a piece of furniture with bugs attached could mean their entry into your home.
9. How do you stop an infestation?
It could be a combination of steps and it may take some time depending on how thick the infestation is. A single treatment cannot always guarantee complete eradication. It may take several treatments over a given period of time. Follow-up inspections are also necessary just to be sure.
10. What makes bed bugs difficult to treat?
Treatment will have to be done by expert pest control companies because aside from being nocturnal creatures, bed bugs are also very elusive. They move from place to place in such a discreet manner and can hide for a long time without eating and survive. They can also survive extreme temperatures from very cold to very hot. Without vigilance and close scrutiny, it will really be hard to treat them.
11. How soon should you get rid of bed bugs?
Imagine one adult bed bug laying 4 or 5 eggs a day and you have an infestation of about 50 bugs? How many bed bugs will be feasting on your body after some time? The very moment you discover an infestation in your home, immediately take the necessary steps to get rid of them. The sooner you do, the better.
12. How do you prevent bed bugs from infesting your home?
While sanitation has nothing to do with an infestation, to prevent it means to do regular general cleaning and vacuuming on a regular basis. Use precautionary items like matters covers and box springs so that you don’t give them a chance to invade your homes and find hiding spots inside.
Undoubtedly bed bugs are unwanted house guests. Before they make your life miserable, be sure that you take the necessary measures to prevent them from entering your homes or get rid of them without any delay.
Got bed bugs? Here are 10 products that can help you get rid of and prevent them.