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Don’t let the Bed Bugs Bite…remember that funny childhood comment as you went off to bed? It has a whole different meaning now!

Don’t let the Bed Bugs Bite…remember that funny childhood comment as you went off to bed?  It has a whole different meaning now!  And why are we writing about bed bugs in this blog?  Simply put, they’re everywhere, they’re everywhere! We recently had a client who had a bed bug infection in a high rise office building when a staff person brought in a rug for his office that was infested with bed bugs…yuk!

bed bugs
So what are they? Bedbugs are wingless, blood-sucking insects. They are flat, oval, reddish brown, about 5-7 mm in length, and turn purplish after feeding.

Bedbug infestations are common worldwide, including North America and Europe, and seem to be increasing around the world at an alarming rate.  The reasons for this resurgence are unknown, but are thought to be due to increasing world travel, reluctance to use some insecticides because of concerns regarding toxicity, and resistance to other insecticides, such as pyrethroids.

Although bedbug infestation is thought to be a problem of poverty, unsanitary living conditions, and overcrowding, they are documented bedbug infestations in single-family dwellings as well as in homeless shelters and other communal living settings

bed bug mattress
Bedbugs are transported from infested to non-infested areas on clothing, luggage, furniture, or bedding. Bedbugs possess stink glands and emit an odor. Homes heavily infested with the bugs have a distinct odor that dogs can be trained to detect.

The bedbug’s name comes from its preferred habitat that includes mattresses, sofas, and other furniture. Bedbugs hide in the seams and folds of upholstery and cracks and crevices in beds, wooden furniture, floorboards, and walls during the daytime and emerge at night to feed on humans, attracted to body heat, carbon dioxide, vibration, sweat, and odor. In some persons the bite is nearly undetectable. However, repeated bites may sensitize individuals to bedbug antigens, leading to more pronounced cutaneous manifestations, usually small clusters of extremely itchy, red and inflamed papules (skin bumps), or systemic hypersensitivity reactions. Scratching of the bite can lead to secondary bacterial infection. Most bedbug bite reactions are self-limited and require little specific treatment other than corticosteroid creams and oral antihistamines for local allergic reactions and antiseptic or antibiotic creams for secondary infections.

The life span of a bedbug is about 10 months, during which they may bite more than one individual and could possibly serve as a vector for transmission of a blood borne pathogen from one individual to another. Nevertheless, bedbugs have never been shown to transmit diseases. Hepatitis C virus RNA has not been detected in bedbugs at any time after feeding. Although hepatitis B virus DNA has been detected in bedbugs and excrement up to 6 wk after feeding on an infectious meal. Similarly, HIV could be detected in bedbugs up to 8 days after exposure to highly concentrated virus in blood meals, but no viral replication was observed, nor was any virus detected in bedbug feces

usbugs
This is a map of the United States current bed bug infestations as reported by the The Bed Bug Registry (almost sounds like a bridal registry!).

Itching yet?  Wanna know where they are?  Well of course a good entrepreneur has created, The Bed Bug Registry!  This is a free, public database of user-submitted bed bug reports from across the United States and Canada. Founded in 2006, the site has collected about 20,000 reports covering 12,000 locations.

http://bedbugregistry.com/

http://www.medicinenet.com/bed_bugs/article.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/10/3134734.htm

 

 

 

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. Even if bed bug bites are fairly harmless, an allergic reaction to the bites has been known to cause nausea, sickness and even shock on very rare occasions. For fast relief from the bites, you could run it under lukewarm running water for approximately a minute, which will minimize the inflammation and take your mind off it. For other treatment of the bites, you should take some antihistamine or visit your local pharmacy to obtain a suitable cream that will help reduce swelling and relieves the itching. Hopefully this helps! – Sarah

  2. BEDBUGS SUCK! IF YOU LIVE IN RI, AND YOU DONT HAVE BED BUGS, I SUGGEST NOT EVER VISITING THE “AQUASTAR” MOTEL OF WESTERLY. 110 POST RD, THIS MOTEL DENIES BEING INFESTED IN-ORDER TO KEEP MAKING MONEY. I HAD TO SLEEP THERE FOR SEVERAL DAYS AND I WAS CONSTANTLY BITTEN ALIVE BY 3 TYPES OF BED BUGS, SOME WERE HUGE AND SOME I COULDNT EVEN SEE…

  3. BED BUGS ARE DISGUSTING! THEY LIVE WITH IN THE WALLS, FURNITURE, AND IN, AND UNDER THE BEDS AT THE AQUASTAR MOTEL. THEY ITCH LIKE CRAZY AND YOU CAN FEEL THEM CRAWLING ON YOU EVEN IF YOU CANT SEE THEM.

  4. I am at my witts end…we have bombed, washed everything, dryed everything and still these annoying creatures are still invading our home!!! My middle child seems to be the only person in the house who gets bitten the bites are huge swollen red sores all over him . This is a nightmare! We clean and clean and i have thrown out all clutter and nothing seems to work….we’ve spent hunderds of dollars on sprays and bombs….caulked crevises and still are living with these pests….i have a large family and cant afford an exterminator please please please help!!!!

    1. I have heard that the only way to really kill them is by heat. They have these people that come in and seal off your home and pipe in heat to make the inside of your home like 150 degrees for a couple hours and it kills all the bugs. I have seen it on the tv show called Infested.

      1. Heat is the most effective way to kill BB on objects where pesticides can’t be used (like clothing). You can’t heat your house with your own heating system enough to kill them….it requires those industrial heaters that vendors have…Hot water and hot dryers can be effective on clothing but of course not all clothing can tolerate it.
        They are tough to get rid of but it can be done and requires diligence to do it.

        1. I’ll echo Regina’s observation. All stages of bedbug die instantly when the ambient temperature reaches 125 F but a residential heating system can’t deliver that ambient temperature. Accomplishing the treatment requires massive heaters, fans, careful control of air flows, and constant monitoring.

          We had a bedbug infestation in our condo (1300 sqft). Heat treatment took about eight hours and cost about $1500. Yes, that is a lot of money – and a larger place would cost a lot more. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t take many survivors for the problem to persist. Bedbugs don’t groom themselves the way that roaches do, so poison is useful only when it contacts a specific bedbug. The things can get into everything, including furniture crevices and baseboards. Heat gets them all – and a good heat-treating company will warranty their work on a whole-home treatment for 30 days, more than long enough to know that they’re really gone. If you get reactions to the bites — my wife did not, but our three-year old daughter and I did — then you won’t balk at the price it takes to get rid of them, because they are just that annoying. *laughs*

    2. I’ve heard that fabric softener sheets work nicely. You are supposed to lay about 8-10 sheets underneath the mattress with about 6-8 under the sheet that the mattress is wrapped in, as well as putting 3-5 in your pilliow case. Also put duct tape (sticky side out) around each of the bed legs. I recommend putting the fabric sheets throughout the house on furniture as well. And the duck tape on and legged furniture as well.

      1. Thanks for your post! I have not seen specific research that fabric softener sheets are effective but there is lots of antidotal evidence…There is one study that shows “Bounce” effective against a particular gnat…I would think it is worth a try and may work….thanks for the suggestion! Be well, Regina

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