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Posts tagged ‘bed bugs’

The Truth About Bed Bugs

Some people enjoy sleeping alone, but sometimes it’s unavoidable or unwanted. Several members of the Cimicidae family have moved into the comfort of many homes across the U.S. and into their beds and other comfortable places.  Cimex lectularius, also known as the bed bug, is a parasitical bug that is mainly associated with humans, birds and bats. Although they parasitize with these different creatures, they adapt best to human environments 1.

There are many people that don’t know what bed bugs are capable of and why they choose to sleep in beds with other humans. Another question that has also risen to the surface is, what do they look like? The answer is this: They are a small bug that has a chestnut brown color to them, dorso-ventrally flattened, and the adult bug usually measures up to c. 5 mm across2. Bed bugs can look similar to other small insects such as ticks and fleas, but don’t get confused as to where each bug can hide or even sleep at night.

Bed bugs are known for spending most of their lifetime concealed in harbourages, including around the seams of mattresses, in bed-frames, behind head-boards, behind skirting boards, in furniture, inside electrical fittings, behind pictures and coving, in curtains, under fitted carpets and in wall voids2. These small creatures hide and sleep in other places that aren’t exclusive to peoples’ beds. They are also sometimes found on or in clothing and the seams on clothes, but they are almost never found on humans.

Whenever there is an unfortunate event of bed bugs being spotted on someone, one most know what the dangers of that situation are. After someone has been bitten, that person may or may not show a substantial, red, itchy reaction wherever the bite occurs. While some people have extreme and quick reactions to a bite, some people may never have any reaction at all2. This can be very fortunate in some cases, but knowing that someone has been bitten only means an early detection of an infestation in your home, apartment, office, etc. Although bites may sometimes become secondarily infected, research has consistently indicated that bedbugs do not transmit blood-borne infections, such as HIV or hepatitis2. With this being known, the worse consequence of a bed bug is only irritation, itchiness, and swelling of certain areas.

The infestation of bed bugs can be very annoying, irritating, and also very costly. After some people have experienced them moving into their homes, their only solution may be to throw out any mattresses, (a memory foam mattress naturally resists bed bugs) furniture, carpet, linens, and many other items that could have contained bed bugs. This only means that replacements are in need for any place or item that has been bothered by this insect. If you ever suspect bed bugs, we recommend contacting a pesticide specialist immediately. COMING SOON:Please read ‘How to Prevent and Control Bed Bugs’ for tips you can use to help prevent and control them in your home.

[1] Reinhardt, Klaus, and Michael T. Siva-Jothy. “Biology of Bed Bugs (Cimicidae).” Annual Review of Entomology 52. (2007): 351-374. PDF. 30 Nov 2010. <http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.ento.52.040306.133913&gt;.

[2] Boase, Clive. “Bedbugs – Back from the Brink.” Royal Society of Chemistry 2001 (2001): 159-162. Web. 30 Nov 2010. <http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2001/PO/b106301b&gt;.

How to Prevent & Control Bed Bugs

The truth is bed bugs can be an itchy topic.  Bed bugs have been dining on humankind since ancient times, but they have made a bigger comeback than ever.  According to research at the Mayo Clinic, bed bugs had been eradicated with the help of a pesticide known as DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane)1Today, DDT use has been banned in the US since it was found to be extremely harmful to human health and toxic to the environment.  Pesticides like DDT can cause serious health effects. In this article we will discuss how to prevent and control bed bugs from entering into your family’s home. We will also discuss the safest, healthiest, and most economical ways to handle these uninvited guests.

The risk of picking up these little hitchhikers has increased significantly. Bed bugs are typically exchanged where people are coming and going often and/or crowded places. You may be at a greater risk of bringing these uninvited guests into your home if you have spent time (or plan to spend time) in hotels, motels, inns, hospitals, apartment complexes, and college dorms.

Another factor that may put your family at risk for bed bug infestations is buying second-hand items.  The economy has impacted families across the country, so it is not surprising why more people are buying family necessities second-hand. Be careful! A great bargain may give you a warm feeling in your wallet, but you may find yourself in a severe case of the bed bugs. The following items should not be purchased at a second-hand store unless absolutely necessary: mattresses, box springs, bedding, linens, and furniture.  The list is not all inclusive. Always use your best judgment when shopping second-hand.  The truth about bed bugs is they do not mind if your home is clean or dirty, they simply need you- a host to live off of.

Prevention is truly the key to protecting yourself against these parasites. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), bed bug populations in different geographic areas of the country have developed resistance to various pesticide modes of action2. If you are dealing with a resistant population some products may only make the problem worse. The safest way to prevent bed bugs without the use of toxic chemicals in your home is to use a mattress that is a naturally resistant to bed bugs.  The best type of mattress to help fight the war against bed bugs is one made of foam. The bed bugs are less likely to be able to live IN the mattress as they cannot move easily through the foam like a spring mattress that has open spaces within the mattress.

memory foam mattress is an affordable and easy way to protect you and your family. Another practical method of preventing an infestation is to invest in a research backed, bed bug resistant mattress cover. These covers will incase the entire mattress and trap the bed bugs, preventing them from getting to a host (You!). Bed bugs are very resilient and can live up to a year without feeding! A mattress cover is beneficial so that if an infestation occurs you will not have to throw out your mattress. Remember- bed bugs are visible (dust mites are not) and can be vacuumed away, so be sure to vacuum regularly if you suspect an infestation.

So, “Sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

Sources:
[1] Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Bedbugs: Risk Factors – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic. Sept. 2010. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bedbugs/DS00663/DSECTION=risk-factors&gt;.

[2] “Bed Bugs | Pesticides | US EPA.” US Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 08 Mar. 2011. <http://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/&gt;.

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