By Lorraine Cyr
Bed bugs are a growing problem in the United States. College dorms, apartments and even single family homes are now a breeding ground for this very hard to get rid of pest. Here are some common facts to help you know if you have bed bugs. Once you know you have them you should consult with a professional company to help eliminate the problem before it spreads.
Bug bites are frustrating and irritating and can be harmful. Learning to identify the type of bug bite or sting so you can determine how to treat the bite and get rid of the problem is the first step.
Bed bugs are small, oval, non-flying insects that belong to the insect family Cimicidae, which includes three species that bite people. Adult bed bugs reach 5-7 mm in length, while nymphs (juveniles) are as small as 1.5 mm. Bed bugs have flat bodies and may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Bed bugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. Adult bed bugs are reddish brown in color, appearing more reddish after feeding on a blood meal. Nymphs are clear in color and appear bright red after feeding. The wings of bed bugs are vestigial, so they cannot fly.
Bed bugs live in any articles of furniture, clothing, or bedding, so they or their eggs may be present in used furniture or clothing. They spread by crawling and may contaminate multiple rooms in a home or even multiple dwellings in apartment buildings. They may also be present in boxes, suitcases, or other goods that are moved from residence to residence or from a hotel to home. Bed bugs can live on clothing from infested homes and may be spread by a person unknowingly wearing infested clothing into your home. In apartment buildings they will travel from unit to unit by crawling along electrical wires, floors or from person to person.
Getting rid of bed bugs is not an easy process, and most cases of bed bug infestation will require treatment by a pest-control expert. A variety of low-odor sprays, dusts, and aerosol insecticides can be used to eradicate bed bugs. These must be applied to all areas where the bugs are observed as well as spaces where they may crawl or hide. The pest-control company can help you determine if the mattress can be disinfected or must be discarded. Since beds cannot readily be treated with insecticides, it’s often necessary to discard infested mattresses and beds.
The pest-control expert may recommend certain forms of deep-cleaning such as scrubbing infested surfaces with a stiff brush to remove eggs, dismantling bed frames and furniture, filling cracks in floors, walls, and moldings, encasing mattresses within special bags, or using a powerful vacuum on cracks and crevices. Treatment usually takes 3 visits with lots of cleaning. Sometimes even replacement of infected furniture. Please call your management company if you think you may have a problem.