What are bed bugs?

Bed Bugs have made a very unwelcome comeback!  

We know this is not a pleasant topic, but bed bugs remain a growing concern throughout the United States. The following video from National Geographic shows these pests biting someone while sleeping. 

 

But how in the world did they get into the bed?

Here are some important facts you should know about bed bugs. 

  • The tidiest of houses and the cleanest sheets does not guarantee you are safe from bed bugs. They can be picked up virtually anywhere: through public transportation, hotels or even by sitting on a random chair. 
  • Bed bugs have likely existed as long as human beings have walked the earth. They have followed us from one era to the next and continue to be a nuisance. 
  • In developed countries, bed bugs were pretty much exterminated. This occurred in the 1940's and was mainly due to potent pesticides. But with an ongoing rise in international travel, those pesky critters have made their return to the U.S. Bed bugs have also built up a resistance to modern pesticides, which means they might just be here to stay. 

So what exactly are bed bugs and what else do we need to know about them? 

  • Bed bugs are actually parasites, which means that they live off blood. They also favor a home that is warm. That makes your bed an ideal place for them to feed. 
  • Bed bugs are nocturnal and this only compounds the problem. Studies have indicated that bed bugs usually hide in small protected spaces, such as a small crack in walls, electrical outlets or any other small crevasse in your bedroom. They typically go undetected until they start reproducing right there in your bedroom. At night, they leave their safe havens and instinctively navigate their way to the nearest food source, which could be you.  

Bed bugs will travel as far as 100 feet to find you.  

  • Just take a look around your bed. You will notice plenty of places bed bugs can safely hide and that is only within a few feet.   
  • A bed bug is flat and ranges in size. Bed bugs can range from an eighth of an inch to a quarter of an inch in diameter. They find you based on three criteria; the carbon dioxide you emit when breathing, your body warmth, and chemical odors that can exist in your skin and in your bedding.    

Magnified image of bed bug 

A bed bug generally eats every five days, although they can live as long as a year without food. As with most insects, they are prolific.  

  • When a bed bug bites you, it is not felt because it injects an anesthetic into your skin. Bed bugs do not spread any diseases, but they can leave you with a nasty rash.

Bed bug bited 

So what do you do to get rid of bed bugs?  

The most effective way to kill those unpleasant little buggers is to hire an exterminator. You can try exterminating them yourself, but you won’t be as effective as a professional.  

If you want to try to get rid of them, here’s what to do:  

Step 1- Locate the bed bugs and clean the affected area with a vacuum. Vacuum up as many as you can see. It is also a good idea to wipe down your mattress with a damp cloth and some soapy water. Clean the entire room and that means the dressers, closets, and drawers. Wash every one of your sheets and blankets in hot water.  

Step 2- Use hot steam in every area where you found bed bugs. This can be done by using a steam machine. Don’t hesitate to steam your entire bed.   

Step 3- Use a bed bug spray and clean all areas where bed bugs have a chance of residing. Spray the product throughout the entire room. Be sure to spray all over the bed, on every part of the floor, inside the entire closet, and all around the door.  

Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.....