Bed Bug Reality

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Myth: Bed bugs are cute little bugs that snuggle up in bed with us at night and count sheep.

Fact: Bed bugs are disgusting insects about the same size and color of an apple seed and don’t sleep at night but drink human blood.

Another fact is that bed bug infestations are increasing all across our country and bed bug awareness is needed for eradication of these horrible insects. Bed bugs do not have any wings and are flat and oval in shape. When bed bugs are fully mature they are normally around ¼ inch long. How do they drink our blood? Their mouthparts are formed into an extended proboscis. When this mouthpart is not active, it is tucked up under their bodies facing the opposite direction. While you are sound asleep bed bugs are up and hungry. At dinner time, their proboscis is facing frontward and their sharp pointy tubes puncture your skin and siphon your blood. Female bed bugs lay their eggs where they conceal themselves during the day. It is alarming when you discover that female bed bugs can bear as many as five hundred eggs. Bed bugs increase in development each time they molt. Baby bed bugs or nymphs need to feed off our blood in order to molt and move to the next step in their development. Baby bed bugs molt five times and once they are mature suck human or pet blood at least one time during the course of a week.

How do bed bugs get into our homes? If you have just returned from a vacation there may be a possibility you brought them back with you. Hotel mattresses are a favorite breeding ground for bed bugs. You may also have brought them into your house on furniture or clothing you purchased from a thrift store. There are many ways bed bugs can enter your home and once they do you have a serious problem on your hands.

After bed bugs drink your blood they leave behind red itchy bite marks, resembling those left behind by mosquitoes. The urge to itch will be much greater than that of a mosquito bite and the area can often times feel as though it is on fire. Allergic reactions can follow due to the saliva of a bed bug. There is a direct correlation between the number of bites you have and the amount of bed bugs you have inhabiting your home. The more bites you have; the larger the bed bug infestation. Where else besides your mattress will you find bed bugs hiding? They love to conceal themselves in cracks in the floors and walls, behind wallpaper, dressers, carpets and blankets. They can virtually be anywhere. A good idea is to fill in the cracks and crevices in your home with caulking. Bed bugs will also take cover in cushy sofas and chairs. Just as with mattresses, look for bed bugs along the seams and button areas of your furniture.

Anything that you can wash in hot water or steam clean should be done immediately. All surface areas should be sanitized. Vacuuming with attachments is also a good idea; you must properly dispose of the vacuum bag after you are done cleaning. Burning it is a wise choice. Don’t forget your child’s toys and stuffed animals; these should also be gone over thoroughly and cleaned.

After you clean, you are not through, you have really just begun. What you need to do now is treat for bed bugs. A great inorganic material to use for the treatment of bed bugs is diatomaceous earth. This white powdery substance can be sprinkled all over your home. It is not poisonous, so you do not have to worry about using it around your children or your pets. The bed bugs that are in your home will die after they walk through the substance. Diatomaceous earth works like little razor blades, cutting the exoskeleton of bed bugs, leaving them to dehydrate and eventually die.

By: Bradley Skierkowski