There are numerous pests that can cause havoc in our home. Not only can they damage the very foundation of a property, but they can also cost a lot to eliminate.
Bed bugs in the United States have grown to epidemic proportions. Known for the red wheals they cause on their victims, bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed Bugs are small parasites that feed exclusively on blood. Scientifically known as Cimex lectularius (Cimicidae), bed bugs are small and wingless, and is well adapted to human environments. They may be first brought into a home in luggage, on bedding or in second-hand furniture. Once inside, they can quickly disperse throughout the home.
Symptoms of Bed Bugs
Bed bug bites can leave a wide array of marks on the skin, from small red splotches to wheals and bullae that may hemorrhage. Intense itching around the spots may occur for a few days at a time. It may also take several days after the victim is first bit for the symptoms to occur, with the arms, shoulders, legs and other exposed areas being the most frequent areas to show symptoms. Severe bed bug infestation may also lead to anemia, and a bacterial skin infection may also occur due to scratching.
Bed bug infestations can also lead to psychological symptoms, including panic attacks, stress, anxiety and insomnia. Mild to intense allergic responses may also be triggered from bed bug bites.
Bed Bug Infestations
Bed bug infestations are a nightmare. They can survive for over a year without food, and can hide behind wall paper, in desk corners, bundled clothing and drawers. Washing clothes and cleaning the furniture may appear to solve the problem, but they almost always come back. In the case of bed bugs, it is best to call a trusted professional, who will know where to look and how best to get rid of them. Depending on the severity of the infestation, follow up visits may be required.
In the meantime, there are several things that can be done to reduce the bed bug infestation. This includes laundering bedding and clothes at temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or placing these items in the dryer and setting it to high heat for 20 minutes. Vacuuming the house won’t completely rid the home of infestation, but it will help reduce the numbers before the professional steps in.
Guarding against Bed Bugs
The home should be regularly inspected thoroughly for any signs of bed bugs. If they are identified early into their infestation, they may be eradicated more easily. Mattress covers are also available at many retailers. They won’t stop bed bugs, but will keep your mattress safe from them.
When traveling, the hotel room should be infected for signs of infestation. Suitcases should be kept on a rack away from the walls and any hung pictures. Luggage and clothing should be examined when repacking, and clothes should be thrown into the dryer for 20 minutes when travelers return home.
About the Author
Scott’s a Austin Extermintor. When Scott’s not out battling little buggers in an attempt to rid the earth of those combatting critters, he’s at home with his newborn baby Ellie and the wifey.