What you need to know about Bed Bugs.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed upon the blood of warm-blooded animals, such as humans, birds, rodents, bats and pets.
Young bed bugs are about the size of a poppy seed and adults are about a 1/4 inch long. Their bodies are oval and flat and their color ranges from nearly white (after molting) to deep brown (after feeding).
Bed bugs live in cracks and crevices and only come out at night to feed.
Do bed bugs spread disease?
Bed bugs are not known to spread disease.
Bed bugs inject a small amount of saliva into the skin while feeding. An allergic reaction to the saliva may cause the area around the bite to become swollen and itchy. Do not scratch bites, as this may worsen the irritation and itching and may lead to a secondary infection.
Why are bed bugs resurging?
International travel and changes in modern pest control practices are believed to be responsible for the resurgence of bed bugs in the United States.
Bed bugs are common in Asia, Africa, Central and South America and Europe. With the growth of international travel, bed bug infestations are steadily increasing. Since most people of this generation have never seen a bed bug, they are more likely to bring bed bugs home with them in luggage and on clothes.
In the 1940s and '50s, the pesticide DDT was liberally used in homes to fight insect infestation. With the ban on DDT in the 1970s pest control methods changed from elimination to repellent and baits. These changes make it easy for bed bugs to avoid most pest control methods.
How can I avoid bed bugs while traveling?
Check for bed bugs right after entering your hotel room.
•Place luggage on the luggage rack. The metal or plastic legs of the luggage rack make it hard for bed bugs to get into your suitcase. ◦Keep the luggage rack away from walls.
•Check the mattress and headboard for signs of bed bugs. ◦Pull sheets back and check for dark brown spots on the mattress.
◦Check crevices and creases of mattress for shed skin, live insects or fecal matter.
How do I prevent bringing bed bugs home with me?
If you have visited a dwelling infested with bed bugs, the following procedures will help prevent you from bringing the pests home.
•Wash all clothing in 120° F water and use a machine dryer set on hot before or as soon as the clothing is brought back into the home.
•Suitcases should be carefully inspected, scrubbed with a stiff brush and thoroughly vacuumed.
•Seal the luggage in a plastic bag for several months to prevent bed bugs from feeding and they will eventually die. Bed bugs can live several months without a blood meal.
•Leaving luggage for several hours in a closed vehicle in full summer sun may also kill bed bugs and eggs.
•A single, sexually-mature female bed bug can start an infestation.
•Bed bugs hate light, so if you can’t change rooms, sleep with the light on.
•Bed bugs can go months without food.
•Bed bugs can survive in 120° F temperature for several days.
•Bed bugs can survive freezing temperatures for several weeks.
•Bed bug eggs are very sticky and difficult to remove, making them efficient hitchhikers.