For almost sixty years the developed world has lived in peace from bed bugs. In fact, bed bugs were almost non-existent in countries like Canada and the United States after WWII. However, in the last few years bed bug infestations have risen by approximately 500%. These infestations have affected homes, hotels and other public places including movie theaters and clothing stores.
Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. The species that we most commonly refer to, and those that are found in homes, hotels, and other public places, prefer to feed on human blood.
Bed bugs do not spread disease but do leave large, painful welts where they have bit their victim. As well, the saliva of bed bugs has been known to cause allergic reactions in people. In some cases individuals may even develop asthma or (although very rarely) life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
A baby bed bug is the size of a pinhead while a full-grown adult is about the size of an apple seed. These insects are nocturnal and wait for night to come out and feed on bare patches of skin. A person experiencing a severe infestation can get up to 500 bites per night!
Beg bugs like to hide in dark spots, as they do not like light and are less likely to be disturbed here. It may be difficult to find a live bed bug when searching your room so be sure to look for the signs of bed bugs including rust-colored spots (blood stains), eggs, molted skins and black specks.
Despite their name, bed bugs do not just live in mattresses and bedding in fact, the insects can live in anything from couches to luggage to clothing. Beg bugs are most commonly found in the following places:
- Box springs: bed bugs love the wood frame of a box spring so be sure to look underneath, in any cracks or crevices and even inside.
- Furniture: bed bugs may hide in the cracks and crevices of sofas, behind headboards, and the backs and undersides of night stands.
- Wall: bed bugs can be found behind pictures, paintings and wallpaper.
- Theaters: bed bugs can be found on the seats at the movie theatre and may climb onto your clothing or even into your belongings. When looking for bed bugs check the cracks and crevices of the seat and under the armrests.
- Malls: clothing stores are most at risk as many people try on, take home and return the same piece of clothing before it permanently leaves the store. Be sure to check the clothing under the arms, behind the collar, inside cuffs and at the seams, as this is where bed bugs may hide.
There are various methods of getting rid of bedbugs and some are more effective and economical than others.
For more information on bed bugs and how to get rid of them check out: Diatomaceous Earth for Bed Bugs
Image by Medill DC – Courtesy of the National Pest Management Association