Unwanted Guest Quickly Becoming a Major Pest
The incidence of bed bugs in the United States is increasing to the point where
they can affect anyone and anywhere. Here in Broward County, Florida we hear
about a problem or two every week. In the past couple of years, bed bug infestations
have been increasingly observed the U.S. This increase has been mostly attributed to
the increases in immigration and travel.
For years when people talked about bed bugs the thought of run down, flea bag
hotels came to mind. Not now. It is not uncommon for a 4 or 5 star hotel to have
a problem or two with uninvited guests. Just look at what happened in NY last
Being familiar with bed bugs can help to avoid infestation, or at least prompt
earlier intervention by a professional pest control expert to help get rid of
Bed bugs are small, oval, brownish, flattened insects that belong to the insect
family Cimicidae. Bed bugs feed solely on the blood of animals and humans. Other
bed bug species prefer to feed on wild hosts, especially bats and birds.
Sometimes people mistake them for ticks or small cockroaches. FYI…Bed bugs
Female bed bugs lay their eggs (1, 2 or more eggs per day and hundreds during a
lifetime) and tend to hang out in tiny cracks in furniture, wicker furniture,
walls, moldings, upholstered furniture and any other place they can squeeze
into. Initial infestations tend to be around beds and bedding, since that is
where the food is at. They especially like to get into mattresses, box springs,
and bed frames.
Bed bugs pretty much sleep during the day and come out at night to feed when we
are sleeping. Many times bed bug bites may go unnoticed or be mistaken for flea
or mosquito bites or other skin conditions.
Bed bugs don’t really make nests like ants, that would make it easier to find
them, but they do congregate in their hiding places. Outside of seeing them,
they are fast little bugs, look for areas are marked by dark spotting and
staining, which is the dried excrement of the bugs, places like inside the night
stand, base molding behind the bed or between the box spring and bed frame. Also
look for eggs and eggshells, the brownish molted skins of maturing nymphs and
the bugs themselves.
Another telltale though less frequent sign is reddish blood smears on bed sheets
or mattresses from crushing well feed bed bug. Very heavy infestations may cause
an area to smell funny, but the odor is seldom apparent and should not be relied
upon for detection.
Many people are concerned that a bed bug can transmit diseases. Bed bugs are not
believed to harbor infectious microbes in and on their bodies. The main medical
concern is infection if the bite area is scratched which is what we have a
tendency to do when bitten. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be prescribed
to reduce allergic reactions, and antiseptic or antibiotic ointments to prevent
Everyday we get calls asking “how do I get rid of bed bugs”.
Bed bugs are challenging pests to control and getting rid of bed bugs is not an
easy process. In the event it is a serious case of bed bug infestation you will
require the services of a pest control expert.
Your local store, Home Depot or Lowes, carry some sprays, dusts, and aerosol insecticides that can be used
but are not recognized by the EPA. These types of products must be applied to all areas
where the bugs are seen as well as spaces where they may crawl or hide. Think
Small and Be Very Careful Before You Spray Anything. Not sure if they are
safe? Then don't use them!
Use a stiff brush to remove eggs, take apart the bed and bed frame, remove the
drawers from the dresser, and caulk the cracks in the wall and molding. A
portable steam cleaner works great on getting into the small crevices
and cracks. Steam kills bed bugs and their eggs. Then
vacuum really good paying special attention to the cracks and crevices. Put the
used vacuum bag in a plastic bag and throw it away outside.
Beds cannot be treated with insecticides. Under no circumstances
should you ever spray or let anyone else spray any pesticide or insecticide on
your mattress or bedding. You do not want to sleep on poison do you?
Cover the mattress, box spring
and pillows in protective membrane
bed bug mattress covers. These mattress
covers are specifically designed with a membrane to protect against bed bugs and
Once the bed bug cover is installed and zipped shut, any bed bugs which happen to be
inside are trapped and eventually will die.
In the event the mattress is heavily infested it is often necessary to throw it
away. If that happens, cover your newly purchased mattress in a bed bug
cover before you even bring it in the house. This will make it easier to spot and destroy any bugs that may be on the outer
surface during follow up examination.
All bedding and clothes in the affected area need to be washed in hot water
(120°F minimum) and then dried. Things like stuffed animals can either be put in
the dryer or placed in the freezer for 24 hours.
Carpet should be steamed cleaned. If you take anything to a dry cleaners make
sure you tell them what is going on. You don’t want to cause someone else to
have a bed bug infestation.
Cleaning up a bed bug problems is not easy to do but it can be done. Just be
ready to do a lot of hard work.
Wishing you the best of health
The Allergy Store