Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite: Myths & Measures of Prevention
Nothing is more unnerving than the thought of bed bugs crawling in your bed while you’re asleep. It’s the stuff horror films are made of!
Whether in your own home or in a hotel or rental accommodation, these miniscule nuisances are considered a public health pest. And while they are not known to transmit or spread disease, they can cause other negative physical, mental health and economic consequences.
Once a pest of the past, bed bugs now infest every state in the U.S. These small, flattened insects that feed solely on blood of mammals and birds have been living with humans since ancient times. And because bed bugs are indoor pests, there are no high or low seasons throughout the year, only continual bombardment.
Top misconceptions about bed bugs are:
- MYTH: You can’t see a bed bug. In reality, you should be able to see adult bed bugs, nymphs and eggs with your naked eye. Small black spots indicating bed bug feces or nymphs in mattress seams and other furniture could indicate their presence in your home.
- MYTH: Bed bugs live in dirty places. They are not attracted to dirt or grime, but to warmth, blood and carbon dioxide.
- MYTH: Bedbugs bite only at night. Although bedbugs are generally nocturnal, they’re like humans – if they’re hungry, they’ll get up and get something to eat.
- MYTH: Bed bugs won’t come out in a brightly lit room. They prefer darkness, but light will not deter these pests from biting you.
Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. They may enter your house undetected through luggage, clothing, used couches and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bed bugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards, where they have easy access to people to bite in the night – but don’t let their name fool you. Bed bugs spread away from beds into living areas and can be seen on any surface, including chairs, railings, ceilings and pets.
Most bed bug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that appear mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites can show on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do. People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes.
Remember, like most bug and pest problems, bed bugs are easier to treat if they are caught early so it’s a good idea to do periodic inspections in your home. When you take off your sheets to wash them, look for signs of bed bugs. If you do find signs, know that controlling bed bugs takes time and patience. It is not a DIY project. Contact a pest control company that has experience with bed bugs for eradication.
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