In recent years, there has been more and more media coverage regarding bed bugs to the point that you may wonder if you should be concerned about this “epidemic”. First of all, we should be hesitant to call anything an epidemic that does not spread disease and is not life threatening. Second of all, we should be hesitant to call this up rise an epidemic. The media hype leads us to believe that every surface or every city is suffering an infestation when it is not.
The up rise in bed bugs is suspected for a number of reasons. Frequent international travel could be to blame for spreading these pests from country to country. Stricter guidelines on pesticides that were once used to wipe out such insects could also be a reason for their increase. Some individuals may be embarrassed to call a professional to treat a bed bug infestation in their home since there is a myth that bed bugs are more common in unclean homes. This may lead them to try to treat the infestation without professional help which is not recommended since some pesticides claim to treat bed bugs but may just disperse them throughout your home, making them even more difficult to treat. Even in an easy case, it may take more than one trip by an exterminator to completely irradiate them from your home.
So, what do you need to know to prevent a bed bug problem? Bed bugs love to hide in cracks, crevices, luggage, clothing, box springs of mattresses and other furniture. If you stay in a hotel, be sure to pull back the sheets and check the seams of the mattress for evidence of an infestation. Always check your luggage carefully when returning from a trip as well, wash new clothing and inspect new furniture carefully.
Evidence of bed bugs can include seeing their excrement, tiny eggs or eggshells. You may notice reddish stains on bedding where the bugs have been crushed while you are sleeping. Dark spots that look like a marker bleed on bedding are left from their excrement. It is a myth that bed bugs are too small to see. Bed bugs have small, oval shaped, reddish brown bodies, and are wingless.
Bed bugs are parasites that require blood for survival. However, leaving a location for an extended period of time will not cause them to die out because they can survive for a year without a human or animal to feed on. Their bite marks usually form small red welts on the skin that are in a zig zag pattern and itch. Bites can typically be treated at home with a corticosteroid cream, but you should make an appointment with a dermatologist if you have blisters, signs of an infection including tenderness and discharge from the bite, or signs of allergic reaction such as red, swollen skin, or hives.
If you believe you are suffering from bed bug bites, give our office a call. We are happy to assist you in regaining a good, painless night’s sleep again!