Try saying “bed bugs” three times in a row. It’s kind of hard.
You know, we’ve all heard advice and rumors about bed bugs. “Be sure to check your hotel room for bed bugs.” Or “You have to burn down the entire apartment building to get rid of bed bugs, because they’ll move from apartment to apartment.”
While these things might be true, there is so much more to these nasty little critters.
Bed bugs are parasites. The reason they bite you is because, like ticks (and vampires), they want your blood.
Bed bugs have been around, pestering us humans, for thousands of years. At one point in the mid 20th century, we almost managed to get rid of them in the more developed areas of the world. But then, around the mid ‘90s, they’ve came roaring back. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which are increased international travel, government pesticide bans and pesticide resistance.
Sooooooo…what do we do about bedbugs?
Well, first of all, how do you know the tiny dark spots crawling around in your bedding are, in fact, bed bugs? If you see what kind of look like apple seeds with legs, you probably have bed bugs.
For those of you who don’t eat fruit, bed bugs are small, oval in shape, and brownish in color. After feasting on a delicious meal of human or animal blood, though, their bodies swell and change to a reddish color.
Side note: If you see apple seeds flying around, they are NOT bed bugs.
So how does one get bed bugs?
Bed bugs may enter your home in your luggage, your clothing, or in used furniture like beds or couches, to name a few. The can fit into tiny spaces, and their favorite hiding places are your mattress, box spring, bed frame, and even your headboard…anywhere they can lie in wait, ready to bite their unsuspecting hosts in the night. Sometimes, they’ll invade the rest of your bedroom, nearby rooms or even other apartments.
If you suspect bed bugs, obviously give your bed a once over, especially areas like the piping, seams and tags on your mattress and box spring. If you see LOTS of bed bugs, inspect the seams of nearby chairs and couches, between the cushions and in curtain folds. Also take a quick look at your electrical outlets, the area where the wall and ceiling meet, in drawer joints and under loose wallpaper and wall hangings, and in any cracks.
Keep in mind, these things are about the width of a credit card, so they can squeeze into really tiny spots.
Bed bug bites won’t hurt you, but they will irritate the heck out of you. They feed on you by piercing the skin with their elongated beak, and they will eat up to 10 minutes at a stretch. You probably won’t feel the bite during their feeding frenzy, but you will often develop a small, itchy welt at the buffet site.
It you wake up itchy, what should you do?
Other than the itchy bite areas, there are other signs you can look for to help determine if you’ve been invaded by bed bugs. Small bloody stains on your sheets or pillowcases caused by crushed bed bugs; small dark spots, aka bed bug excrement, on your sheets and blankets, mattresses and walls; tiny bed bug eggs and egg shells or pale yellow bug skins; a musty, unpleasant odor; and, of course, the apple seeds themselves.
Hate to say it, but a bed bug infestation is not the best news you’ll ever receive. Getting rid of them can be a real bear. If you find yourself in this predicament, visit your nearest Pestop location as soon as you can for your pest-control supplies.
And be sure to heed the advice…inspect your hotel room and luggage before xxx.