For many younger generations, ‘bed bugs’ were simply a myth. They were yet another childhood tale to scare children and delight parents. Unfortunately, bed bugs are real – and they’re making a huge comeback. Counts of bed bug infestations are going up and many areas are reporting the highest numbers of infestations in nearly 60 years.
What are Bed Bugs and Where Do They Come From?
Bed Bugs, (also referred to simply as ‘bedbug’,) are part of the Cimicidae family of insects. In order for bed bugs to survive, they need to feed on a warm-blooded host; such as a human or a family pet. Bed bugs have been known to live in mattresses, sofas and various other furniture and generally are noted to be most active during night hours.
The pesky bed bug is easily recognized: the body is flat and has a red-brown tint. They are approximately the size of a small, single grain of rice. Bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye. They are also easily spread in areas such as apartment buildings, college dorms and even hotels.
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How Can I Get Rid of a Bed Bug Infestation?
The old fashioned way of killing off bed bugs is fairly simple. On a bed (or other piece of furniture,) each leg is placed into a bowl or tin can. The legs are then coated with petroleum jelly (which is not harmful to woods, stains, paints, metals and various other materials.) The petroleum jelly prevents the bed bugs from escaping the bed. By cutting off the food source (ie: you,) the bed bugs simply die off after a period of time.
Most pesticides no longer work for eliminating a bed bug infestation. The species has become immune to pesticides due to over-use of many for other various bug infestations. Steam cleaners have also been shown to help reduce or eliminate bed bug infestations if used on a regular basis. However, if not done frequently, it does not prove to be a long term solution.
Unfortunately, bed bugs live up to their pesky name because they have been known to live up to – or past – a year without feeding. If you have a bed bug infestation, it may be best to seek out professional help through an experienced exterminator.
You can prevent a bed bug infestation in your own home through awareness. By being more aware of your surroundings (especially when traveling,) you can reduce your chances of carrying bed bugs into your own home. Check for droppings, eggs, blood stains or even the bed bugs before sitting or laying down in an area you are unfamiliar with.
Sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite.