Bed Bugs

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Bed Bugs Information


Bed Bugs InformationBed Bugs
are small, oval, non-flying insects that belong to the insect family Cimicidae, which includes three species that bite people. Adult bed bugs reach 5-7 mm in length, while nymphs (juveniles) are as small as 1.5 mm.

Bed bugs have flat bodies and may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches.

Bed bugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. Adult bed bugs are reddish brown in color, appearing more reddish after feeding on a blood meal.

Nymphs are clear in color and appear bright red after feeding. The wings of bed bugs are vestigial, so they cannot fly.

Bedbugs or bed bugs are small parasitic insects of the family Cimicidae.  The term Bed bugs usually refers to species that prefer to feed on human blood. All insects in this family live by feeding exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals.

Informational Video about Bed Bugs

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Where are bed bugs found?

Bed bugs were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger pesticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bed bug infestation.

While bed bugs are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bed bugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bed bugs.

Bed bugs can live in any area of the home and can reside in cracks and crevices  in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses, box springs, and bed frames.

Bed Bugs do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress. Other sites where bed bugs often reside include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

Since bed bugs can live for months without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.

What about bed bugs in hotels?

Many news reports in recent years have focused on the discovery of bed bugs in upscale hotels, and a number of lawsuits have been filed by guests in these fashionable hotels who awoke to find hundreds of bed bug bites covering their skin. Searching on TripAdvisor and other travel-review web sites regularly reveals information and even photos confirming the presence of bed bugs in numerous hotels.

Since the bed bugs can arrive on the clothing or in the suitcases of guests from infested homes or other hotels harboring the pests, hotels can be an easy target for bed bug infestations.

How are bed bugs spread?

Bed bugs live in any articles of furniture, clothing, or bedding, so they or their eggs may be present in used furniture or clothing. They spread by crawling and may contaminate multiple rooms in a home or even multiple dwellings in apartment buildings. Bed bugs may also be present in boxes, suitcases, or other goods that are moved from residence to residence or from a hotel to home. Bed bugs can live on clothing from infested homes and may be spread by a person unknowingly wearing infested clothing.

What are the symptoms and signs of bed bug bites?

Bed bugs bite and suck blood from humans. Bed bugs are most active at night and bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. The face, neck, hands, and arms are common sites for bed bug bites. The bite itself is painless and is not noticed. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign; redness, swelling, and itching commonly occur. If scratched, the bite areas can become infected. A peculiarity of bed bug bites is the tendency to find several bites lined up in a row. Infectious disease specialists refer to this as the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" sign signifying the sequential feeding that occurs from site to site.

Bed bug bites may go unnoticed or be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other types of rash or skin conditions, since they are difficult to distinguish from other bites. Bed bugs also have glands whose secretions may leave odors, and they also may leave dark fecal spots on bedsheets and around their hiding places (in crevices or protected areas around the bed or anywhere in the room).

Bed bugs have not been conclusively proven to carry infectious microbes. However, researchers have implicated bed bugs as possible vectors of American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), and studies are ongoing to determine whether bed bugs may serve as disease carriers.

How do I detect a bed bug infestation in my home?

You can look to see if you can identify the fecal stains, egg cases, and exuviae (shed skins) in crevices and cracks on or near beds. You should also look at other areas such as under wallpaper, behind picture frames, in couches and other furniture, in bedsprings and under mattresses, and even in articles of clothing.

While fecal stains and skin casts suggest that bed bugs have been present, these do not confirm that the infestation is still active. Observing the bed bugs themselves is definitive confirmation that an area is infested. You do not need an exterminator to help you determine if you have bed bugs.  There are several bed bug survival guides available to show you what to look for and can save you a lot of money.

Bed bugs in the home?

Bed Bug Protection KitGetting rid of bed bugs is not an easy process, and most cases of bed bug infestation will require treatment by a pest-control expert or with do-it-yourself products specially formulated for Bed Bugs. A variety of low-odor sprays, dusts, and aerosol insecticides can be used to eradicate bed bugs.

These must be applied to all areas where  bed bugs are observed as well as spaces where they may crawl or hide. The do it yourself products help you to clean & sanitize your mattress; they also offer special bed bug mattress protectors to cover your mattress.

These mattress protectors keep the bed bugs in the mattress they also do not allow bed bugs to get back into the mattress.  Either way, you are protected!

There are  several  forms of deep-cleaning such as scrubbing infested surfaces with a stiff brush to remove eggs, dismantling bed frames and furniture, filling cracks in floors, walls, and moldings, encasing mattresses within special bags,steam cleaning or using a powerful vacuum on cracks and crevices.

Always pick bed bug products with residual value; you want to be able to apply them and they keep on killing bed bugs for up to two months with one application.

Bed bug bites?

Avoidance of infested areas is the method for prevention of bed bug bites. Recognition of bed bug infestation and proper treatment of affected rooms  is the best way to prevent bed bugs in the home. There are several products on the market to prevent bed bugs and to keep killing bed bugs for up to 2 Months.  The best prevention is to avoid bringing bed bugs into the home by checking your luggage before bringing it into the home.  Read more to learn how to prevent bed bugs.

Those concerned about the potential for bed bugs bites in hotels should examine hotel beds and mattresses for signs of a bed bug infestation. Sealing your mattress in a bed bug prevention casing can be beneficial.

Bed Bugs At A Glance

  • Bed bugs are small, oval, non-flying blood sucking insects.  They suck blood from humans or animals.
  • Bed bugs can live in any area of the home and can reside in tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses, boxsprings, and bed frames.
  • Bed bugs are most active at night and bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. The face, neck, hands, and arms are common sites for bed bug bites.
  • A bed bug bite is painless and is not noticed. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign; redness, swelling, and itching commonly occur.
  • Typically, no treatment is required for bed bug bites. If itching is severe, steroid creams or oral antihistamines may be used for symptom relief.
  • Fecal stains, egg cases, and exuviae (shed skins) of bed bugs in crevices and cracks on or near beds are suggestive that bed bugs may be present, but only observing the bugs themselves can confirm an active infestation.
  • An exterminator may be required to help identify and remove bed bugs from the home; however it is not required.  There are do-it-yourself products that work very well and are just as effective.  In fact, if you do it yourself, you can rest assured you have taken all the bed bugs from your home.  Exterminating companies WILL NOT clean your mattress, encase it with a mattress protector, steam clean your draperies, vacuum your chest of drawers, etc.  By doing it yourself, you can accomplish the same results, if not better, but paying a fraction of the cost.

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Facts about Bed Bugs

  • Adult bed bugs grow up to 7 mm in length and up to 3 mm wide.
  • Adult bed bugs have has been known to survive for up to twelve months or more without feeding.
  • These bed bugs are very smart and resilient little critters.
  • Since bed bugs can last for over a year without feeding, it is common for bed bugs to just hide and wait until the chemical pesticides have dissipated enough to the point where it is no longer effective in killing the bugs.
  • Adult bed bugs are easy to see, but only if you look at the right time — during the night on or near a human target.

Interesting Studies about Bed Bugs from PubMed.gov

Additional Resources about Bed Bugs - Get the Facts: