Bed Bugs

Beware! Bedbugs are back!

Since the late 1990’s bed bugs have made a comeback and have returned stronger than ever. Several reasons for the resurgence include an increase in international travel, changing pest control methods and bed bugs developing an immunity of some insecticides.

Infestations have been found in high and low-end residential areas, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, movie theatres, universities and public schools and methods of mass transit such as trains, airplanes, cruise ships, etc.

Bed Bugs are parasites and are about one-quarter inch in length and flat allowing them to get in or behind anything. When first infesting a place, bed bugs will migrate to areas of least exposure, such as a mattress or box spring, making them very hard to detect. It only takes 3 – 4 months for a home to become fully infested and this is only when bed bugs become visible.

Bed bug infestations occur because they are amazing hitchhikers – they can travel in suitcases, bags, on shoes or be transferred from second-hand furniture. Travelers staying in infested hotels or apartments or traveling on infested cruise ships, airplanes, trains, etc. can unknowingly bring the bed bugs home.Bed bugs live solely on human or animal blood and adult bed bugs can live up to a year without a meal. They leave definite markings to advise their human hosts that they have taken up permanent residence in their homes. Dark spotting and staining on sheets, mattresses, pillows and clothing are the most visible telltale signs.

The staining is from excrement and blood left by crushed bed bugs. Molted skins, excrement, and eggshells can also be discovered in their favorite hiding places which include tuffs of mattresses, in box springs, cuffs and pleats of draperies, behind baseboards, behind wallpaper and in walls, where carpet meets walls, under furniture such as nightstands, behind pictures and headboards, and in hanging clothes. 90 percent of bed bugs are found living in beds, sofas, and recliners.

Bed bugs come out at night time and feed exclusively on human and animal blood. Their bites feel and even look similar to a mosquito bite. Often they are painless and result in small, red, itchy bumps along the body. A number of health effects may occur due to bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects and allergic symptoms, but they do not carry or transfer disease. Some people are unaware that they have been bitten and don’t see any physical evidence of bites for up to nine days. This can make it hard to pinpoint where a person was when they were bitten, particularly if someone has been traveling.

Treatments can include the use of pesticides, steam treatments, heat treatments, vacuuming, and mattress & box spring encasements with bed bug proof covers. Heavy infestations can require multiple treatments and can result in having to discard infested mattresses or furniture. If mattresses or furniture are thrown out, it is best to destroy the items to the point that someone else cannot take them home and use them resulting in their home becoming infested.

There are steps you can take when traveling to decrease the likelihood of bringing bed bugs home. First, do your own inspections of where you are staying, looking in the tuffs or folds of mattresses, check under sheets for stains on mattresses, look inside pillow cases, behind headboards and pictures, etc. If you see a bed bug or signs of bed bugs, do not unpack your belongings and notify hotel management immediately and request another room on another floor.

There are also items you can purchase to prevent bed bugs from coming home with you such as insecticide sprays that are safe to use on and in your suitcases and carry bags, dirty laundry bags to store clothes in and are designed to go straight into the washing machine without opening them. A hot water laundry cycle will kill any bed bugs in your dirty laundry. Bed bug proof mattress and box spring covers that prevent bed bugs from infesting your bed or used after pesticide treatment for infestation to prevent bed bugs from getting out to feed.

Discovery Channel Video

For additional bed bug information, a bed bug inspection, or any of the travel products mentioned above, call Acme Pest Management inc today at 735-2234.

Member NPMA, Arkansas Pest Management Association, Termidor

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