“Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite”. I remember hearing those words many times as my mom was putting me to bed. I never understood what it meant and would usually laugh as if she was referring to some funny cartoon characters. I don’t remember ever being afraid of those words, probably because bed bugs were never a reality for me or anyone that I knew. But bed bugs are alive and well in the U.S., and are now a common problem.
8 Facts About Bed Bugs
- Bed bugs get their name from the fact that they often hide in beds seeking refuge from the daylight, coming out when someone is resting on the bed for a period of time.
- Humans are the preferred host of bed bugs, feeding on any bare skin that is exposed while they sleep.
- Although the bite is painless, you can develop an allergic reaction to the saliva injected by the bug as it feeds.
- Swelling can result from feeding but usually there is no red spot such as is characteristic with flea bites.
- Swelling can be severe and extend beyond the immediate bite area in highly sensitive people.
- The principal medical concern is limited to the itching and secondary infections from scratching.
- Adult bed bugs can survive up to a year if they are well fed.
- Bed bugs will feed on any warm-blooded animal, including household pets.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From and How Can They Be Prevented?
Bed bugs usually “hitch hike” their way into the states through tourism because they are easily transported. Once they are introduced, they usually spread throughout a home or building, hiding in cracks and crevices during the day and coming out to feed at night. Typically, they are found around beds in mattress buttons and beading, in box springs or their coverings, and in any crevice of a bed frame.
Physicians, and the public in general, are unfamiliar with bed bugs and this has allowed infestations to increase. Prior to 2007 it was unusual for us to get a call about a true bed bug problem, but now we receive calls on a daily basis. There are a few things you can do to discourage bed bug activity in your home.
- Clutter is a bed bugs best friend and should be removed.
- Be cautious when purchasing used furniture for your home.
- Be aware of your guests’ belongings if they have been living in, or visiting, a bed bug infested situation.
- If you suspect a bed bug problem, look for small reddish-brown fecal spots clustered on your bed sheets.
- After a vacation or other extended time away, place your clothes, shoes, and backpacks inside a dryer using high heat.
Bed Bug Treatments For Your Home
After a thorough inspection determines that bed bugs do exist in your home, you will want to begin bed bug treatment immediately. Sometimes, this can be accomplished through pesticides, aerosols or liquids which are cheaper but also less effective. Our preferred method of treating bed bugs is by use of heat. Heat is non-toxic, allows you to move back into your home the same day, and will kill the bed bugs and their eggs at each stage of their development.
Whether you have a bed bug problem now or want to ensure that you won’t have one later, our free bed bug estimates for implementing a treatment plan will ensure that the only thing you will be saying to your kids at bedtime is, “Good Night”.