According to reports, bed bugs come in as stowaways in luggage, furniture, clothing, pillows, boxes, and more when these are moved between dwellings. Used furniture, particularly bed frames and mattresses, are most likely to harbor bed bugs too. Risk for bed bug exposure increases in several of the following situations:
a) Purchasing or using second-hand furniture and mattresses.
b) Entertaining or being an overnight guest.
c) In hotels, college dormitories, boarding schools.
d) Children coming home from summer camp.
According to research, bed bugs are active and usually bite people mainly at night while they are sleeping. During the daytime, they prefer to hide close to where people sleep. But, hungry bed bugs may also feed during the daytime, especially if this is when people normally sleep.
Bed bugs are usually considered disease-free nuisances whose victims are left with only itchy welts from bites and sleepless nights. But, recent studies show bed bugs can transmit parasite that causes Chagas Disease.
To reduce the opportunity for acquiring a new bed bug infestation, travelers should take the following precautions: 1) assess the room for the presence of bed bugs by a quick examination of the bed and bed frame, 2) avoid placing suitcases and clothing on the ground or room furniture, and 3) upon return home, launder all clothing (even those not worn) using the hottest settings for each fabric type, and store travel luggage in the garage (source).
To avoid acquiring bed bugs when travelling, reports suggest travelers to always inspect before settling into any room. Pack a flashlight (even the keychain LED variety) and gloves to aid in your inspection. The inspection should focus around the bed. Start with the headboard, which is usually held on the wall with brackets—lift up 1 – 2 inches, then lean the top away from the wall to gain access to the back. After checking the headboard, check sheets and pillows for blood spots. Next, pull back the sheets. Check the piping of the mattress and box spring. Finally, look in and under the drawer of the bedside table.
You can decrease the number of bed bugs by vacuuming all rugs, floors, furniture, bed frames, and any crevice and crack in their home. You can also place mattresses and box springs in encasements designed to protect against bed bugs for 1 year (Source). Once the encasement is on the mattress, all bed bugs inside will be entombed and die. In addition, you must wash anything that touches the floor, clothes, bed sheets, blankets, and bedspreads in water with a sustained temperature of over 49C (120F) (Source), and bag all items for disposal and place in outdoor trash. The client can place washable clothing in dissolvable laundry bags directly into the washer without having to open the bag and risk infestation of other laundry. If an item cannot be laundered, the person can place it in a plastic bag and put the bag outdoors in a hot, sunny location or inside a closed vehicle for at least a day (Source).
Studies show bed bugs are commonly found in mattresses, box springs, and furniture crevices. They are tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses, box springs, and bed frames. Typical hiding places include beneath loose flooring, behind loose wallpaper, inside box springs, and in upholstered furniture. One common hiding place in hotel rooms is behind bed headboards that are fastened to the wall and another is behind moldings just above the floor. Bed bugs also hide behind electric switch plates and inside appliances . However, sites that have surfaces consisting of plaster, stone, and metal typically do not harbor bed bugs.
Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. They are small, brownish, flattened insects that feed solely on the blood of animals. Although the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) prefers feeding on humans, it will also bite other warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, birds and rodents (source).
Signs of bed bugs include bite symptoms, small brown spots (fecal spots) on bedding and small blood smears on sheets (source). Small translucent bed bug eggs may be found in tucks and folds of the mattress and box spring, behind headboards, along baseboards and any other site bed bugs are hiding.
Symptoms and signs of bed bug bites are raised bumps on the skin. The bed bug 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. The bites often appear in a zigzag pattern (source).
Typically, no treatment is required for bed bug bites. Reports suggests that if itching or irritation is severe, practitioners can use topical steroid and oral antihistamine treatment, and encourage good hand washing and hygiene to prevent secondary infections. If a secondary infection occurs, they may prescribe empirical topical agents, such as mupirocin or fusidic acid 3 times a day for 7-10 days.
An infestation of bed bugs is usually identified by finding the bugs or their dark colored fecal stains in the seams of mattresses and box springs, behind headboards and peeling wallpaper, or in other cracks and crevasses near a sleeping area, behind picture frames, in couches and other furniture, in bed springs and under mattresses, and even in articles of clothing (source).
No. You’re not likely to stop your infestation by throwing your bed or furniture out. They may be called bed bugs but they don’t just infest a bed or other furniture in the bed room. Bed bugs can hide in any dark crack or crevice in a room. Getting rid of bed or furniture before it has been inspected and treated by an experienced pest control professional can be a costly mistake and will not solve the problem. Almost everything can be treated to remove bed bugs, but if not properly handled, the removal of bed or furniture can simply spread an infestation to other areas of a home (source).
According to reports by CDC (Center for Disease Control), one of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:
Bed bugs are not a sanitation issue. According to reports, they are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide. However, houses and rooms full of clutter offer bed bugs more hiding places.
Over the counter products may work on some bed bugs but not all. There are strains of bed bugs that are resistant to the chemicals currently on the market. Researchers have linked insecticides purchased by individuals, either online or from home and garden suppliers, to severe neurological, respiratory, and gastrointestinal problems.
Bed bugs are efficient hitchhikers, they can latch onto suitcases, backpacks, and, yes, even clothing. They will travel on most things until they can find a suitable place to hide. Reports suggest that if you are buying new clothes, run the clothing through the dryer for 30 minutes or freeze them.
According to reports from AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), bed bugs don’t live on pets or spend as much time on your pet as the more common pests (such as fleas, ticks, lice and mites), but they can bite your pets. We also know that bed bugs are very efficient hitchhikers and can be transported to your home via luggage, clothing, bedding, furniture, etc., so it’s possible that bed bugs could also hitchhike in your pet’s fur or its bedding or clothing.
It can be difficult to know for certain. Often people notice itchy skin welts, see the bed bugs themselves, notice small blood stains from crushed insects, or see dark spots associated with their presence. However, it is often hard to see them because they hide in or near beds, other furniture, and in cracks. Favored hiding spots include bed frames, mattresses and box springs; for that reason, we rely on licensed pest control specialists to make a determination, and one is dispatched whenever a report is made of possible case of bed bugs (source).