By now you have probably heard that bed bugs have come back to our shores with a vengeance over the course of the past few years. This came as a surprise to many as we thought they had been pretty much eliminated in the 1940s and 1950s. However, these tiny little pests are back in our homes and businesses around the country.
Congress Is On the Ball
Not only are many homes and business feeling the “bite” of the returning bed bugs, but so is Congress. There is a bill, (H.R. 967) currently sitting before the members of Congress that calls for a resumption of funding into bed bug research including investigations into the efficacy of all products designed to eliminate these pests that are currently on the market. The problem is that since bed bugs have been virtually eliminated for over 50 years, they have been pretty much overlooked by researchers.
However, you can’t afford to wait for Congress to move forward with this bill and fund further research, you need to make sure your home is bed bug-free and that it remains so for your health and that of your family.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny insects that are oval shaped and brown in color. They feed on the blood of human beings and animals. By size, an adult bed bug is approximately the same size as an apple seed. Of course, when they are full from feeding they tend to be more red than brown in color. Under the right conditions, a bed bug can go from larvae to full grown in a month after shedding its skin five times. The good news is that while bed bugs do bite and they can be a painful nuisance, the CDC says they don’t transmit diseases.
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
You can bring bed bugs into your home on your clothing, your shoes, your luggage, in any type of used furniture, and many other ways. Because they have such flat tiny bodies, they can hide virtually anywhere. Unlike many insects such as ants or termites, bed bugs do not need any type of nest, they can exist in small colonies in a number of hiding spots. Initially, they tend to hide in box springs, mattresses, headboards, and bed frames, places where they have easy access to food (your body) during the night when you are asleep and they are awake.
Finding and Eradicating Bed Bugs
The way most people find out they have a bed bug infestation is that they wake up to itchy spots on their skin from bed bug bites. Among the other signs you may have bed bugs are:
- Rusty or dark-colored spots on your bed linens, these are bug excrement spots
- Blood spots or stains on your bed linens
- Egg shells, shed skins, and concentrations of bed bug feces in dark areas where they may be hiding and breeding
- You may also notice a stinky odor in your bedroom that is produced by bed bugs’ scent glands
Getting rid of them starts with cleaning all of your bed linens in hot water and drying them on the highest heat setting. Scrub mattress seams and then vacuum the frame, mattress, box springs, and the floor around your bed, put mattresses and box springs in sealed covers as bed bugs can survive for up to a year without eating. If all else fails, call in a professional extermination service to get rid of them for you.