It can be an unpleasant feeling to realize you aren’t the only one sleeping in your bed, but unwanted bed bugs are in fact dwelling in the beds of thousands of Americans annually. Bed bugs are parasitic insects of the Cimicidae family, about ¼ inches long and reddish brown. They hide in mattresses, upholstered furniture, or other fabrics during the day and emerge at night to feed on blood, most often of humans, but sometimes other animals. Bed bugs initially traveled to North America with the early colonists 3,000 years ago. By the 1950s, bed bugs were nearly extinct, but began to re-emerge in the mid-90s and infestations have since been rising. If you wake up with bites, notice small blood stains on your sheets or mattress, or simply see the pests in your home, you may be dealing with a bed bug infestation.
If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation, you will want to investigate and treat it immediately. Bed bugs are not known to transmit any diseases to humans, but their bites can be itchy, painful and unsightly. Several bed bugs tend to feed on the same host, so if you have an infestation, bites can become out of control. Many people are afraid to talk about bed bug infestation due to a fear of judgment, but infestations are more common than you would expect and nothing to be ashamed of. It is a common misconception that the presence of bed bugs is a sign of an unsanitary lifestyle. In fact, cleanliness is not at all a factor for bed bugs — these creatures are actually just attracted to humans for simple, biological reasons.
Carbon dioxide: Bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide. Because humans exhale large amounts of the compound, they are a prime target for bed bugs.
Warmth: Bed bugs are drawn to warmth, which explains why they emerge at night when people are in bed. The likelihood of bedbugs increases if two people share a bed because they create additional warmth.
Fabrics: Bed bugs prefer to live in fabrics such as mattresses, box springs, upholstered furniture, seams, and clothes.
Black and red: Studies have shown bed bugs are prefer certain colors.They are attracted to black, likely because they thrive in darkness, and also like red because it is similar to the color of the bugs themselves. Studies show bed bugs do not like white, yellow, or green because it reminds them of bright, well-lit areas.
Clutter: While clutter or filth does not attract a bed bug infestation, it could make them harder to notice. If you have a bed bug infestation that has gone unnoticed because of clutter, the bugs are able to thrive and reproduce, making the problem worse.
You can take steps to avoid bed bugs, but not all causes of infestation can be avoided. Guests in your home could unknowingly transmit bed bugs from themselves or their clothing to your home. You, yourself can also bring bed bugs into your home after going to a public place, such as a movie theater, or staying at someone’s home or in a hotel. You can bring bed bugs into your home from buying used furniture, or clothes. To avoid bed bugs, you should vacuum often and frequently check areas where bed bugs would be likely to dwell. Clean out the clutter so bed bugs have fewer places to hide and use mattress and pillow covers that zip closed to prevent bugs from getting to your mattress and pillows. This will make them easily detectable if they do appear. Covering furniture legs in smooth containers may help prevent infestation, as bed bugs cannot climb smooth surfaces. Avoid buying used furniture or second-hand clothes. If you do get second-hand clothes, wash them immediately in the hottest possible water. When you stay in hotels, bring a bright colored suitcase and clothing with you and keep your possessions away from the furniture so bed bugs are less likely to hitchhike home with you. If you do have an infestation, you could try building a homemade trap. Some people use dry ice because it emits carbon dioxide, which the bugs are attracted to. You can also use a bed bug steamer or chemical spray to destroy the bed bugs and eggs.
Scheduling an appointment with Richie the Bug Man at Boz Pest Control, however, is the best option to ensure the job is done thoroughly. If every single bug and egg are not eliminated, you could be facing another infestation in the near future, so call today!