“Night, night sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” is the nursery rhyme many of us absentmindedly say to our children during bedtime every night. But those that have had first-hand experience with bed bugs know that they aren’t child’s play. The resurgence of the bed bug can be attributed to a few factors. Shifts in pest management play a role, as do their resistance to certain pesticides. In addition, international travel has become commonplace, leading to bed bugs hitching rides on our clothing and suitcases. We as a society have become more transient and bed bugs have followed suit.
Common bed bugs, cimex lectularius, are believed to have originated in the middle East, taking shelter in caves inhabited by bats and humans. In fact, you can find mention of bed bugs in Grecian text dating back to 400 BC. Bed bugs are parasites that are usually no more than 1/5 of an inch in length. They feed on the blood of humans and other animals. Bed bugs are nocturnal and most often feed when people are asleep. When a bed bug feeds it injects a salivary secretion into the bite to discourage coagulation, the process of blood changing from a liquid to a solid or semi-solid state. Bed bug bites are not known to carry any human blood-borne pathogens, but the bites can be painful and can cause distress. Scratching the bites can lead to secondary infections and some people have been shown to have allergic reactions to the bites.
Despite their name, bed bugs can lay their eggs and reside in your furniture, the box spring, and folds of your mattress, they can hide in the cracks of your hardwood floors, in your carpet, behind pictures, in your luggage and even behind baseboards in your home. It is a common misconception that bed bugs thrive in filth; bed bugs can infest any type of dwelling. Furthermore, a well-fed bed bug can live anywhere from four to six months. A dormant bed bug can live without feeding for as long as 18 months.
Here are five tips for preventing bed bugs:
- Before bringing secondhand furniture home, check for signs of infestation.
- Use a protective cover that fully encases mattresses and box springs. This helps to eliminate a prominent hiding spot while also making it generally easier to see bed bugs.
- If you’re using shared laundry facilities, transport your laundry in a sealed plastic bag. Place laundry directly into the bag when removing from the dryer and then fold laundry at home.
- Vacuum your home regularly to pick up any hitchhikers.
- Check your pets for bed bugs.
Your first line of defense against bed bugs is keeping the outside of your home protected. contact your local Mosquito Squad today!