Bed bugs can leave many red bites all over your body and they are quite itchy and uncomfortable. When you scratch the bumps, they can become infected and you will need antibiotics to rid yourself of them and then you must remove them from your home to sleep peacefully. Read on to learn everything you need to know about bed bugs including prevention.
Are You at Risk for Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small insects that have evolved over the years to survive in changing environments—this makes them an enemy to be reckoned with to all humans. Most humans don’t realize they have been bit as the bugs feed on the blood of humans while we are sleeping at night in bed.
These small pests travel around the country as they hitchhike in clothing, luggage and even in moving boxes for cross-country travel. They are attracted to warmth and love to hitch rides on electronic devices suck as tablets, cell phones and laptops and they really enjoy items with a USB port.
General Bed Bug Information
What Do They Look Like?
Bed bugs are quite small and are about 1/8th to 3/16th of an inch when full grown. At this size, you can actually see them. Eggs that are newly hatched are a translucent color whereas the adults are brownish red. They are oval in shape and have no wings but do have six legs
How Do They Feed?
Bed bugs feed on your warm blood for about five minutes and you don’t feel the bite at the time, although several minutes or hours later the site will begin to itch. They actually inject you with a numbing agent when they feed on you, so that you do not feel the bite immediately and brush them away. They also inject you with an anticoagulant to keep your blood flowing as they suck. Then the little pests return to their hiding place that can also include paper trash, floors, wood or furniture in the day. The peak biting activity occurs just before dawn and they fill themselves with a breakfast of blood.
What do the Bites Look Like?
The bites are generally in an alignment in a row. The bites are a flat welt with a raised bump that itches. They look very similar to mosquito bites but they can take up to 9 days for you to see them. The most common areas for bites to be found are on the arms or shoulder, but they can appear anywhere on your body.
What is the Life Cycle?
The disturbing part is that one adult female bed bug can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime and they can live up to 10 months. By this time, each adult female has already laid up to 500 eggs in your bedding. This makes them very hard to get rid of.
Where Are The Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs can be hard to find, since they are nocturnal and only are active at night. In your bedding, they can be found at night with a flashlight in the folds of your mattress fabric, the hemstitch edging of sheets or anywhere in your bed that is dark.
Who is At Risk for Infestation?
Bed bugs love to live in area that attracts many different people, such as hotels, shelters, apartments with many people that come and go and dormitories. They can hitch a ride in your luggage, pets, clothing, boxes and any other objects. They are most common in developing countries and are increasing in the United States due to an increase in international travel.
Preventative Measures Against Bed Bugs
If you don’t have bed bugs and have no signs of them yet, you can take preventative measures to ensure that you don’t get them. If you travel to any area and are in a hotel, don’t place your suitcase on the bed or the floor. When you return home, unpack your suitcase in the garage, immediately wash your clothing in the hottest water possible, and dry it all on the hottest setting in your dryer that you can. Place your suitcase in a garbage bag with no pest strips for two weeks to fumigate your luggage.
The best idea if you don’t have bed bugs or even if you suspect you do, is to purchase complete enclosure protectors for you mattress. The pillow case enclosures are generally included in this set. When you seal up your mattresses and pillows, you will prevent getting bed bugs that can hide in these areas. If you already think you have these little pests, the enclosures will protect your body from them and they will eventually die inside the enclosures.
The Final Solution
After sealing your mattress and pillows in a total encasement, call an exterminator if you believe you may have bed bugs because of bites you are getting. They can bug bomb your home or use an extreme heat process to kill all these pests in your bedding and throughout your home.
If you do travel and will stay in a hotel room, take a flashlight with you to inspect the bed before you sleep in it. Look for tiny black waste dots or bed bugs on the mattress seams. As you do this, leave your luggage in the bathtub or shower so it doesn’t get infected with these insects. You can still travel as long as you are very careful of your environment. Happy Trails!!