The Eternal Pest: Bed Bugs

August 11, 2014


Bed Bug Crawling on Boxspring

Although many people have experienced Bed Bugs at hotels or other temporary accommodation, Bed Bug infestations in the home are becoming more and more common. Bed Bugs, tiny oval-shaped insects that live on blood sucked from people or pets, can be found anywhere in the home, not just beds; they can be found in furniture, rugs or curtains as well.

They are nocturnal creatures and often bite at night, targeting any available area of skin-usually the face, neck, hands and arms. Initially, the bite is not noticeable; later, small welts on the skin may appear and lead to redness, swelling and itching. Because of these symptoms, Bed Bug bites are often mistaken for a mosquito bite, a rash or allergy-related reaction; standard rash or allergy treatments, however, do not work; usually no treatment is necessary for Bed Bug bites. If the itching becomes difficult to bear, steroid creams or antihistamines, taken orally, may be required.

How do they get into a home? They may arrive in suitcases, clothing, used furniture and other items; it is easy for them to squeeze into tiny spaces. They often hide in mattresses, box springs, headboards and other parts of the bed since this allows them convenient contact with their victims for nighttime bites. However, they may also spread over the rest of the house and reside in crevices and crack all over the living space; they may also move into nearby apartments.

It is important to recognize the signs of a Bed Bug infestation. The female may lay hundreds of eggs over her life span. The nymphs (immature Bed Bugs) often discard their skins five times before they mature. It is possible for Bed Bugs to mature in less than a month and birth more than three generations a year. They exist only on blood, so it does not matter how clean the house or living area is; they are just as likely to be found in extremely clean houses and hotels as in dirty ones.

What are the signs Bed Bugs have moved in? Physical signs such as bites noticed after sleeping. There may be stains on sheets, pillowcases or other items of bedding. Sometimes, fecal spots, egg shells or remnants of the shed skin of the bugs may be found on bedding items or even the walls.

It is time-consuming, but not impossible, to get rid of a Bed Bug infestation. First, prepare the area: get rid of items cluttering the area so that it is easier to search for Bed Bugs. Be careful not to move items to other areas of the house; this could spread the Bed Bugs. Items should be bagged; this includes toys, stuffed animals, and blankets need to be taken out and cleaned with a vacuum. They should then be put in plastic bags for a few days with Nuvan Strips. Appliances such as computers, radios, and phones should also be bagged. The Nuvan Strips have insecticide but they will not cause any damage to the possessions; they don’t need to be cleaned or laundered after the strips are used. 

In addition, bed frames will need to be taken apart to look for Bed Bug hiding areas. Make sure to inspect the box spring and the fabric covering it; if the fabric is torn, it may need to be removed to get ready for spraying. There are encasements available, which you can put over the mattress and box spring-this will not allow the Bed Bugs to enter or leave, and the box springs and mattress won’t need to be treated. Clothing and bedding cannot be sprayed or treated with insecticide; instead, they should be washed in hot water, at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drawers will need to be removed, and furniture be turned over to find and clean any areas where the Bed Bugs might be hiding. Walls are another area to look at; any areas where there are holes from pipes or wires need to be caulked and sealed. Cracks around baseboards and molding will also need to be filled. Surfaces need to be scrubbed to remove eggs and the floor should be vacuumed. Not only the floor, but edges of carpets, along headboards, bedding edges, furniture, baseboards and anywhere else the bugs may have stayed, should also be vacuumed. Use a hose vacuum attachment, not a bristle brush (which the bugs may cling to and then spread to other areas) and throw out the vacuum cleaner bags afterward. 

There are commercial gadgets that can monitor Bed Bugs; put these around the area of infestation to assist in locating the area the Bed Bugs live. 

If all these steps are carried out, an inspection should be much easier to perform. For inspection, a high-powered magnifier and flashlight are recommended since a Bed Bug is usually visible to the naked eye, especially if actively searching for it.

Aerosols with pyrethrins as an active ingredient can aid in driving out Bed Bugs to make inspection easier. Not only will the aerosols kill the Bed Bugs when they come into contact with them, but they can also be put into any cracks where Bed Bugs may be hiding.

Make sure to check other areas the bugs might be hiding, such as electric switch plates, pictures, or anything else attached to the wall as well as the wall itself- cracks in the wall or in wall paper may provide hiding places. Check wall-to-wall carpeting, including tack strips.

For all your Bed Bug problems and infestations, Alliance Pest Services offers a variety of treatment options to eliminate all your Bed Bugs at home and offices.




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