The common bed bug has long been a pest. It feeds on blood, causing itchy bites and generally irritating their human host. They are considered to be a public health pest, although they are not known to spread or transmit diseases.
The recent increase in bed bugs in the United States may be due to more traveling, lack of knowledge about preventing infestations, and an increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides. The good news is that there are ways to control bed bugs and the first step in both prevention and control is knowing what to look for. While there is no chemical quick fix, there are effective strategies to control bed bugs involving both non-chemical and chemical methods.
Bed bugs are small in size size. They can stay hidden very well, making it difficult to find and identify bed bugs. Although it’s helpful to know what they look like, a more accurate way to identify a possible bed bug infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for the following:
-Reddish-brown stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
-Dark spots (approximately this size: •) are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a black marker would.
-Live bed bugs.
When they are not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places. Look around the mattress and box springs. They can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and in cracks of the bed frame as well as the headboard.
If a room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains, drawer joints, electrical receptacles and appliances. Bed bugs can also be found under loose wall paper and wall hangings.
Suggested Cleaning methods when dealing with Bed Bugs:
-Place all clothing, linens, shoes, coats, pillows, in large, clear plastic bags
-Take down all things hanging on walls such as clocks, picture frames, posters, etc
-All clothes and plush items should put into a HOT dryer for 1/2 hour
-Separate cleaned items from items that have not been checked or cleaned
-Personal belongings should remain in bags until they can be inspected
-Room should be emptied of all belongings, and floors vacuumed
-The mattress, box spring(s), and bed frame should be vacuumed thoroughly
-Buy and install certified “bed bug” covers for the mattress and box spring(s)
-Non-porous furniture, floors, and walls should be washed with warm soapy water.
-Wash in and around any steam or hot water radiators (do NOT wash electric baseboard heat).