Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite: The 411 on BedBugs
It’s not just a nursery rhyme anymore, it’s a way of life. Bedbugs are a real concern for people, especially those that travel, but those that stay close to home aren’t exempt from the threat of bedbugs. Luckily, bedbugs are more of a nuisance than a health hazard. Although not a health risk, it is imperative that you call a licensed pest professional if you think you have a bedbug infestation.
What Do Bedbugs Look Like?
Bedbugs are small, flat, wingless insects with 6 legs. Like mosquitoes, bedbugs feed on the blood of animals and humans. They are brown in color and turn a reddish brown after a feeding. Read more on how to ID a bedbug HERE.
Where Do Bedbugs Come From?
Bedbugs are great hitchhikers. They can catch a ride on luggage, purses, clothing, pets, boxes, and other belongings that are taken from place to place. That is why bedbugs are often found in hotels, apartments, dorm rooms, places where people often come and go. Bedbugs are a world-wide issue. At one time, they were most common in developing countries but due to increased international travel, they are an issue in the US and other developed countries.
What Do Bedbugs Eat?
As stated earlier, bed bugs feed on blood from humans and animals. They typically feed at night. After they feed, they become engorged and fall off of their host. It only takes them about 3 minutes to complete their meal. They can go weeks without feeding.
What Does a Bedbug Bite Feel Like?
Bedbugs inject a numbing agent in the body when feeding. In most cases, you won’t know if you are being bitten by a bedbug.
What Does a Bedbug Bite Look Like?
Bedbugs bites are itchy, red bumps, usually left in a straight line, on the skin. Bites are usually found on the upper body.
How to Treat A Bedbug Infestation?
It’s simple. Hire a licensed pest professional if you think you have a bedbug infestation. They can be very difficult to treat. In the mean time, inspect all mattresses and bedding, especially when traveling. Avoid putting your luggage on the floor or bed, instead use a luggage rack. When returning home, wash and dry clothing on the highest heat level. Make sure to check the cracks and crevices of any luggage before storing.
We know that bugs are gross and unsanitary but did you also know that they can be bad for our health. WebMD discusses some of the worst bugs and the potential harm they can do to our health:
- Ticks –Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and allergic reactions.
- Black Widow Spiders – Poisonous.
- Brown Recluse Spiders – Poisonous, can cause serious wounds, infection, and in some cases can be deadly.
- Head Lice – Itchiness can lead to infection, loss of hair.
- Fleas – Itchiness can lead to infection.
- Bee, Wasp, Hornet, Yellow Jacket – Painful sting, and can cause allergic reaction.
- Fire Ants – Painful sting, venomous, red bumps that burn and itch, and can cause allergic reaction.
- Chiggers – Itchy red welts.
- Scabies – Itchiness, sores.
- Bedbugs – Itchy, red bumps, can develop infection from scratching, and can cause allergic reaction.
- Puss Caterpillar – Poisonous, painful sting, rash, fever, vomiting, and muscle cramps.
- Scorpions – Poisonous, painful, and can be deadly.
- Deerflies – Infection, and Tularemia.
- Mosquitoes – West Nile virus, dengue fever, other diseases, and scratching can cause skin infection.
- Houseflies – Carries more than 1 million bacteria, intestinal infections by contaminating food.
- Cockroaches – Salmonella and other diseases, dead carcasses can trigger allergic reactions and asthma.
Tips to prevent feeling the sting of these health issues:
- Make sure your home is treated by a professional exterminator. A professional can diagnose current problems, and prevent new issues from coming into your home efficiently and effectively.
- Wear long clothing when outdoors.
- Wear DEET repellant when outdoors.
- Keep a clean, sanitary home and yard. This will prevent insects from seeing your home as a place for them to call home.
For more information on these insects and their health hazards, visit WebMD: Bad Bugs Slideshow: Identifying Bugs and Their Bites.
If you think you may have been bitten or stung by any of the insects above, please take note of your body’s reaction and seek medical assistance immediately.
It is Spring Break time here in Atlanta and the surrounding areas. It’s a time that parents and kids both look forward to. A lot of people will be going out of town this spring break and staying in hotels. I’m sure you’ve seen media reports of bed bug outbreaks across the US. Hotels are being hit pretty hard with bed bug infestations and it is something that travelers need to be aware of. The truth is that you are more than likely not going to experience bed bugs in your hotel room or home but it is always best to be educated and aware!
Many wonder why the number of outbreaks has risen in recent years, it is suspected that increase in travel, less effective household pesticides, resistance to pesticides and lack of awareness are among the main reasons. The key to avoiding bed bugs is early detection. Make sure you are checking mattresses and other upholstery items when traveling. Know that bed bugs are not a sign of a sanitation issue with the hotel; they are often brought in by other guests.
Bed Bugs on a mattress cover
What to Look For:
- Brown or chestnut in color
- Size of a pencil eraser
- Eggs are several millimeters and clear to whitish in appearance
- Droppings and dead skin of bed bugs
How to Search Hotel Rooms for Bed Bugs:
- Simply call the hotel. They may not always be forthcoming in their answer but it’s worth a shot. A lot of hotels will be honest and tell you if they have or haven’t had experiences with bed bugs.
- Check The Bedbug Registry. This free data base is a place where bed bug sightings are reported.
- Pack clothes and shoes in air tight bags in your suitcase. Keep your items packed away in Ziploc bags inside of your suitcase to protect them from bed bugs.
- Inspect the bed. Pull back the sheets and check the mattress, concentrating heavily on the mattress seams, for droppings or skin that has been shed. Also check the headboard, footboard, sheets, comforter, and pillows for signs of bed bugs.
- Use the luggage rack. Do not put your luggage on the bed or on the floor. Hotels usually provide a luggage rack, if not; place the luggage on a tile floor where it is easier to see bed bugs moving if they are present.
- Bites on body. Bed bug bites are not dangerous but do cause allergic reaction. Bed bugs often bite in a straight line on the body. You can tell the difference between mosquito and other common pest bites and bed bug bites by the area on your body you have been bitten. Mosquitoes mainly bite on the arms, legs or other body parts that are left uncovered. Bed bug bites can be found throughout the body.
The thought of bed bugs and their bites are unnerving to say the least. However, you may find comfort in knowing that bed bug bites are not dangerous because they do not carry human diseases. All of that being said, you want to be sure that you do not carry these pests home with you from vacation. Bed bugs are not only difficult to treat but can be an expensive treatment.
Tips for returning home:
- Keep luggage in the garage or outside until you can unload your suitcase fully.
- Wash and dry everything on the hot cycle immediately. The hot temperatures will kill any bed bugs that may have made the trip with you.
- Vacuum out suitcase once emptied.
- Take precautionary measures with your own furniture. Get a bed bug proof mattress case for your mattress and add traps on the legs of your bed.
- Inspect frequently.
At the end of the day, we want you to have the best time on your spring break or other vacation. We just want to make sure that you are not bringing home anything that wasn’t supposed to come home with you. As we said earlier, the key is to be educated and aware.
If you have more questions on bed bugs or think that your home may have bed bugs, call Northwest Exterminating. We have a dedicated team of experts that specialize in bed bug treatment.
Other Additional Links:
Dorm Rooms and Bed Bugs
NPMA Releases Bed Bug Best Management Practices for Pest Professionals