Bed Bugs: They are back!

They were all but gone in the developed countries in the 40's, but unfortunately, they have made a global resurgence. They are wingless, bloodsucking, elusive little creatures of the night. They are derived from the Cimicidae family which means they like their feast to be warm blooded. They get their name from where they dine, sleep, mate, and defecate. That's right! When you are sleeping they are lurking underneath your bed preparing for the days catch. When you're awake, they are nestled up in the dark crevices and cracks of your bed frame. Some bed bugs, along with their eggs and droppings, can be found under the sheets and on the ticking. Others have ventured into your box springs. If you wake up with unexplained bites spread out on various parts of your body don't panic. However, it is time to start entertaining the idea that you may have an infestation of bed bugs on your hands.

What do I look for?

Obviously, unexplained bites will be the first thing to get your attention. If you start waking up once a week, or more, with little red, itchy bites it is time to investigate. First, look at the sheets. If you notice little tiny blood smears or dark spots on the sheets, they can be from a number of things. Bed bugs leave lots of waste behind such as blood, feces, shed skin, eggs, and dead bed bugs. Inspect your mattress and box springs. Look under your bed frame with a flashlight, especially in cracks and crevices. Look at material where the folds are located in linens, and nearby curtains, or any clutter laying around the bed. You may have to catch them in the act. They are notorious for feeding right before dawn, so have a flashlight handy. Don't thrash around in the bed because they will scurry to the nearest hiding place. The element of surprise is the best. You can also place two sided carpet tape around your bed and on the frame where it want be disturbed. More than likely a few will adhere to it. If you have signs of one or more of these events happening in your bedroom, it is more than likely that you have bed bugs. They are back, and they are spreading out all over the United States so don't feel bad about your situation. This can happen to anyone. Now, you are going to have to deal with the eradicating them form your home.

What if I have them?

You can call an exterminator and make an appointment. If you are going to choose this route, then clean. Take the linens off the bed and wash in at least a 120 degree temperature. If there is something that you cannot wash throw it in the dryer. This will usually kill them. Dispose of any unwanted clutter in a sealed bags and vacuum. Concentrate on corners and carpet edges to remove dead bugs and eggs. Seal up the bag before tossing it in the trash. Sometimes people take household items outside. If the heat outside doesn't kill them, then you will only be bringing them back in after the exterminator is gone. It is usually best to leave the items in the room that has the infestation. That way everything is treated at once. More than likely an exterminator will use a variety of methods to treat your home. Insecticides like powders, aerosols, and sprays will be utilized. If powders are placed on the floor ask the exterminator how long you should wait before you vacuum. Purchase a bag to encase the mattress in. You can also buy one for the box spring, and pillows. They come in fabric and vinyl. Fabric is more comfortable, whereas vinyl is cheaper. Either way, they will need to stay on for at least 6 months to a year. This will trap and suffocate them. Bed bugs can live up to a year without food.

Can't afford an exterminator!

If you cannot afford an exterminator, then do the things mentioned above. Use a steam cleaner to clean your mattress, box springs, and bed frame. You will need to steam literally everything in the room. There are also at least ten or more products on the market for treatment of bed bug infestations. Just remember that if they can't get to you, they will go to your pets. Be sure to treat this areas. If all else fails, they also will feed on rodents, so if you have a mice problem then you will have to address it. I hope this advice is helpful and that you never have to use it.