We've all heard the reminder, "Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite!" But since their bites are often painless and skin reactions may not show for 1-2 weeks afterward, many people are unaware when bed bugs have been feeding on their blood.
Basic Information on Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are reddish-brown and about one-fourth of an inch in length.
Bed bug bite wounds may show as generalized minor swelling or raised bumps that itch.
Bed bugs are not known to carry or transmit any human disease.
Getting rid of bed bugs can be extremely difficult because they may hide many feet from the bed in furniture, baseboards, doorframes, or within voids in the wall until they venture out to feed.
When bed bug populations become large, or when a host becomes scarce because no one sleeps in the bed for a period of time, bed bugs may crawl into other rooms or squeeze through walls to enter neighboring locations. They may also be transported from place to place hiding in furniture, clothing, blankets and other belongings.
Evidence of bed bug activity includes live and dead bugs, dark spots on a mattress, box springs or bed frame, blood spots on sheets and empty tan-colored skins that are left behind when bed bugs shed their skins to molt into the next stage.
Bed bugs infest homes, hotel rooms, and apartments by hitching rides on luggage, furniture, and other items carried from an infested room to another location. Bed bug prevention is difficult because it takes only one female bug or a few eggs deposited onto a bag to begin a new infestation elsewhere. Typically, an infestation begins in a single motel room, hotel room or apartment and then may spread to neighboring units.
Tips for Control
Getting rid of bed bugs is very difficult. A consultation with Terminix® is recommended. Positive identification is important because bed bugs can be confused for bat bugs or swallow bugs. Misidentification can lead to unsuccessful bed bug control efforts.
Inspection is critical in preventing bed bugs from returning. Overlooking even the smallest crack in furniture may lead to a persistent infestation; therefore, beds, nightstands and related furniture often require disassembly and careful inspection. Carpets may need to be gently lifted along the edge and the space beneath treated. Baseboards, door and window frames and any visible crack will require treatment in infested rooms. Should furniture be moved from an infested unit to another unit, it should be carefully inspected and cleaned or treated as necessary to prevent the spread of bed bugs to the new room.
Furniture that is infested needs to be thrown out, and clearly marked as unusable due to bed bug infestation. It should also be tightly wrapped in plastic to keep from spreading them to other rooms as it is moved to the outside. People should take care when purchasing furniture at garage sales and should carefully inspect all sides and crevices for evidence of bed bugs. Picking up furniture that is seemingly in good condition left on the street for trash pick-up is not recommended.