What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are flat reddish brown oval insects ranging from 4 to 5mm in length. They are about the size of Lincoln's head on a penny in the adult stage. They feed on human and animal blood and are mostly active during the night. They usually hide in places within 8 feet of their blood meal but can travel up to 100 feet, which is the reason they are usually found around beds, sofas, recliners, and other furniture as well as in crevices, holes, and seams.
Bed bugs don’t care if your house is clean or dirty. Although, if your house is clean, it will be easier to spot bed bugs if you have them. To keep bed bugs at bay you should take proactive measures such as:
Keep room clutter to a minimum,
Use a mattress cover,
Inspect any hotel where you stay,
Examine 2nd hand furniture for signs of bed bugs,
After a trip or experience with bed bugs, first place your clothes in the dryer,
Wash and dry your bed sheets regularly with hot water.
What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?
One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:
the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
a sweet musty odor.
How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?
It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.
Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
How did I get bed bugs?
Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.
Who can get bed bugs?
Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.
Bed bugs, a problem worldwide, are resurging, causing property loss, expense, and inconvenience. The good news is that bed bugs do not transmit disease. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for signs of an infestation.
How are bed bugs treated and prevented?
Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have Bed Bugs or an infestation, contact your landlord or The Xterminator at XThatBug.com who is experienced and professionally trained to deal with and treat bed bugs in homes and businesses. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspections for the signs of an infestation.