Bed bugs for most of human history have been a problem that has plagued people in all walks of life. However in the mid 1900s, the bed bugs were all but eradicated in the United States and quickly forgotten as nothing more than a quirky little saying of “Don’t let the bed bug bite.”
Sadly in recent years bed bugs have started popping up more and more for reasons that the scientific community is still pondering on, making it important for the public to become acquainted with all things bed bug once again.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are kind of like the vampires of the insect world, they live in areas where they have a good source of constant blood to feed on such as beds, couches, carpets or behind peeling wallpapers. They feed by sucking your blood oftentimes leaving behind itchy bite marks or rashes as a mark of their feeding.
The problem with bed bugs is that the adults can live for upwards of a year or more without any blood feeding, surviving to lie in wait for the hapless victim to come their way. The same can be said about their eggs which can survive for many months under the right conditions.
How Do You Know If You Have A Bed Bug Infestation?
Bed bugs are small and most of the time they are unseen by the naked eye unless the infestation is extreme. To try and figure out if you have been bitten by bed bugs or have a infestation, look in areas that the bugs often find refuge in such as the areas around head/foot boards, baseboards of the bed, mattress seams and tag, curtains, cracks in the wall as well as under the carpets. You want to check for black dotting (bed bug fecal matter) or bed bug molted skin and eggs. You might also look for small spots of blood on your mattress that fell when you were bitten.
How Can One Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?
There are a number of ways to get rid of bed bugs when you have an infestation in your home such as:
- Do a thorough cleaning of the home (i.e. vacuuming every nook and cranny, washing bedding, clothes, curtains in the hottest setting the items can be washed in).
- Use proven pesticides to spot clean the affected areas excluding the bed.
- Fill any crack or crevices in the walls with plaster and glue down wallpaper to eliminate areas for possible bed bug harborage sites.
- Use a steam cleaner to kill the bed bugs (it must be at least a minimum of 200°F (or 90°C) at the cleaner nozzle to kill the bugs and their eggs completely).
- Hire a professional exterminator experienced with bed bugs extermination to sanitize and eradicate the infestation.
- As a last resort consider getting rid of items that are infected if they are unable to be cleaned or sanitized properly (i.e. the mattress and furniture where bed bugs often populate).