BED BUG MYTHS AND FACTS
There are plenty of reasons why people avoid bed bug infestation like a plague. For one, bed bugs bite. Well, it actually all starts with the bites, then all the bad stuff follows; for aside from the aftermath of the bites, which is itchiness and pain, bed bugs cause a host of other negative health impacts.
“Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite” is a recurring reminder from loved ones every time we go to sleep. But what is it exactly in these tiny bugs that make them seem like awesome yet terrible creatures? Despite the familiarity that we have with their name, we seem to not know much about them.
It is exactly for this reason why bed bugs have managed to come back. Now, you must be asking why I said that they have managed to come back. Bed bugs were actually eradicated from the face of the earth during the 1950’s due to breakthroughs in pest control at that time. However, they were able to get back during the 1990s, and have been unstoppable since then.
If you are not yet familiar with bed bugs, let me introduce them to you right now.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are insects that feed only on the blood of humans or animals. They are small insects with oval-shaped bodies and are brownish in color. They are oval-shaped, but are flat and are about the size of an apple seed. They bloat after a blood meal and become reddish in color. They move very quickly, so the problem of them spreading fast all over the house is a reality. They are not capable of flying, fortunately.
Bed bugs bite
Their bites are very itchy and can be painful. They do so at night, because they are nocturnal insects. They are considered high health risks, according to three of the U.S. government agencies namely the Center for Disease Control, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The negative impact of bed bugs go beyond the physical. They affect their hosts psychologically. Thankfully, what they do not do is to transmit diseases.
How do we get them?
According to North Carolina’s bed bug experts, travel is the number one cause of having bed bugs. Americans nowadays travel a lot, and to more countries than ever before. Modernization made it so easy to travel anywhere. Hotels have sprouted in many different countries as well. This gives the bed bugs many places for shelter; even 5-star hotels are not safe from them. When bed bug-infested rooms become occupied by travelers, these bed bugs manage to latch on to their clothes, luggage, and other materials that the travelers bring along. This brings them to our shores.
There are many other reasons why we get bed bugs. Buying old clothes from thrift shops also puts you at risk of getting bed bugs. Getting used sofa that has bed bugs on it is also going to be a huge problem for you.
Where do they hide?
Bed bugs have tiny, oval-shaped bodies that are flattened, so it is easy for them to hide in very small spaces, cracks, crevices, or holes. A space need only to be the same width of a credit card.
Unlike ants or wasps, bed bugs do not build nests. They just hide somewhere around the house in groups. Initially they would hide in mattresses, bed frame, headboard, and box springs. This gives them easy access to people that they can bite in the evening.
If the infestation problem is not addressed, however, they can easily scatter into other parts of the house. This includes drawers, electrical sockets, on the cracks of the walls, and may even spread to other rooms and nearby apartment units.
Bed bug bites
Bed bugs are nocturnal insects. They wait until their potential hosts are asleep. Then they attack. The bite itself is not painful. In fact, you may not feel anything; they inject anesthesia into the skin so as not to be painful and our sleep would not be disturbed. Bed bugs have elongated beaks that they use for piercing the skin and sucking blood. Feeding time for them takes from 3 minutes to 10 minutes, after which they become engorged and simply crawl away.
Bed bug bites are on any exposed skin while sleeping. It is initially painless, but later become itchy welts that look ugly. The bites form a straight line on the skin.
Signs that you have bed bugs
The bites are no accurate signs that you have bed bugs; they show up 7 days to 2 weeks after the bite, which will be too late as they would have spread by this time. Here are some signs that are more accurate, so that you may act on the infestation early on. Remember that it would be much more difficult to control them once they have spread.
- A sweet, musty odor in your bedroom. Bed bugs have glands that emit such odors.
- Dark spots on the bed, which actually beds bug excrement. This happens when you accidentally crush some bed bugs as you turn over while you sleep.
- Presence of eggshells or shed skins.
- Actual bed bug sightings, whose appearance we described earlier.
Bed bug myths and facts
- Bed bugs bite only in the dark. False. Even though bed bugs are nocturnal, they can bite anytime as long as they get access to a host.
- Bed bugs are too small to be seen. False. Bed bugs can still be seen even by the naked eye. Adult bed bugs are the size of an apple seed, which we can see.
- Bed bugs cannot jump. True. They do not have the ability to jump, fly, or hop. They simply crawl.
- Bed bugs transmit diseases. False. They are not disease vectors, but are high health risks.
- Bed bugs can cause depression. True. There are many reported cases of depression which were traced to having bed bugs at home. Bed bugs can also cause insomnia, stress, anxiety, and even social isolation.
- Not all people are affected by bed bugs. True. Some people do not have a reaction to bed bug bites. They only find out they have bed bugs after they see one.
- Bed bugs are found only on the bed, that is why they are called bed bugs. False. Like what we said earlier, they can be seen in drawers, electrical sockets, on the cracks of the walls, on furniture, sofas, etc.
- Bed bugs do not have to feed every day. True. They can survive for many months without a blood meal.
- If your house is clean, you are safe from bed bugs. False. Bed bugs do not choose their dwellings. Whether you are in the filthiest house, or in a 5-star hotel, or your house is squeaky clean, you are still at risk.
- If my furniture has bed bugs, I should throw it away. False. You can still salvage your furniture by treating it. If, after repeated attempts to treat it and it still has bed bugs, that is the time to dispose of it. Make sure to mark it with the words “Bed Bugs” so no one will use it again.
- You may use diatomaceous earth. Sprinkle around areas that they may be hiding. Diatomaceous earth is safe for humans but deadly to the bed bugs. It is made up of fossilized remains of diatoms and looks are like tiny shards of broken glass. When the bed bugs crawl on it, it would cause tiny cuts on their bodies, causing them to bleed. They die soon after. You may get these from a local gardening store near you.
- If there are bed bugs hiding in cracks or crevices, try to force them out using a putty knife or a playing card. Or use a blow dryer and set it at low settings then blow them out with hot air. Then catch them with sticky tape and crush them.
- Get rid of clutter around the house. This will eliminate some of their hiding places.
- Vacuum carpets, furniture, floors, bed frames, cracks, and crevices. Afterward, seal the vacuum’s bag and dispose of properly.
If your bed bug infestation is too much for you to handle, you can follow my technique. Just like me, it is more effective to hire a local company that can help me get rid of pests, the Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned commercial service solutions provider of modern pest control services and techniques, using the latest and most advanced technology in the business, making our service to you more efficient, safer and more convenient. We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments all throughout North and South Carolina.
Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.