Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!!!

I am a frequent traveler and I used to not care much about which hotel I stayed with or how clean the bed.  I normally assumed all is well.  That is why they have people knocking on your room door at 9:00 a.m., so that they can get a head start on the cleaning.  I didn't know that even a clean-looking room could be a habitat for bed bugs.  These creatures are found in any type of room, clean or dirty.  I didn't even think to check.  There were several weeks while at home that my wife and I kept waking up with what looked like mosquito bites.  We didn't pay too much mind until the frequency and amount of bites increased dramatically.  By the time we knew we had bed bugs, it was too late we were infested.  I brought one or two home in my luggage from a stay in military lodging and because we didn't pay attention to the warning signs our house became infested.

bed bug

They are Parasites

Bed bugs are parasites.  They search for a host and attached to that host drawing in its blood.  Here are a few things I have learned from researching these pests. 

They are masters at hiding.  They can squeeze into the tiniest, darkest places.  They can flatten their bodies, which makes it easy for them to hide and a little difficult to squish.  They are hard to locate when their body and population size is small. 

Bed bugs can crawl on you without drawing attention and draw you blood without your notice.  One website mentioned that they will draw your blood for as long as 3 minutes.  While you are sleeping this parasite is sucking your blood for 3 minutes and you have no clue.

The pests can travel a good distance as well.  They can move in a circumference of 20 to 25 feet in one night.  They can climb up beds, walls, and blankets.  This is partly why bed bugs can spread so quickly, they can set up shop in hard to see locations.  The way they reproduce also is why they can infest a home or apartment in short time.  Female bedbugs can lay up to 5 eggs a night.  If you haven't caught them within a few weeks, bed bugs will spread to damaging levels.

Where to Find Them

Finding these creatures is the first step to eradicating them.  They will hide in the creases of your mattress or in the cloth flaps of your box spring.  They will hide behind baseboard's, under carpet, on animals, in cloths.  The young ones are very small and difficult to see while the adults are as large as a fly. 

One of the telltale signs of where your bedbugs are hiding is where they leave their fecal matter.  Concentrations of black and brown spots are signs to where they are hiding.  When there are lots of them they release a strange smell that can be used to locate where they are.  White surfaces can help you find them while they are on the move, however, I stayed up for several hours waiting to see if they would come out to feast on my spouse.  They didn't show up until I had quit and was asleep and then my spouse and I got bit unaware.


Its Time to Destroy the Bug

There are a myriad of ways to kill bed bugs.  You just need to pick your poison but that doesn't mean it has to be poison.  Pesticides do work and if you decide to use a pesticide either hire a professional or follow the instructions precisely.  Certain household cleaners will kill them but no residual poison will remain for the ones you might have missed.

These parasites do not like extreme temperatures.  High heat will definitely kill them.  Using steam is a popular method because its clean and sanitary.   Some pest control companies use big heaters that will heat your whole house at about 120 degrees Farenheit.  This method sounds very effective but maybe costly.  Putting clothing and bedding into your dryer and setting it on high for 20 minutes will also kill them.

I have not been able to find much about natural predators.  A lizard may work to kill some but I don't know how effective a lizard would be.  This is an area that could use some research. 

Be Considerate

If you know you have bed bugs, please be careful when traveling.  It is easy to transport these little fellas but nobody wants them.  Check your luggage and inspect your clothes before you travel. 

When eradicating the pests don't leave infested furniture in locations where the bugs can just travel to your neighbor's house, because they will.  Be attentive to what you dispose and clean while getting rid of bed bugs.  A friendly neighbor makes a nice neighborhood.