Friday, June 29, 2012

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small insects in the family Cimicidae. Mature bed bugs are no more than 5 to 7mm long and oval in shape. Their flat appearance often confuses people into thinking they are either small cockroaches or ticks. They prefer to feed on human blood, which makes them impossible to ignore. Bed bug treatment is not easy and often has to be performed by a bed bug exterminator.

As nymphs, they are clear and become bright red directly after feeding. The adults are brownish in color, but appear reddish after eating. Bite marks can range from small bumps to large hives, depending on the size of bed bug that bites and allergy level of the human it feeds from. They average in looks that compare with mosquito bites and are typically itchy.

Why Are They on the Comeback?

Recent news reports have detailed the infestations of major hotels and businesses. Even though the use of a bed bug exterminator was incorporated, hotels have been subject to lawsuits arising from bed bug bites suffered by guests. The reasons that bed bug reports are on the rise are twofold: lack of DDT and International travel.

The DDT Connection
DDT was used heavily as a pesticide in the 1950s and 60s as a method of preventing bed bugs. Little thought was given to side effects until horrible birth defects began showing up and a study concluded that it was too harmful to use as a pesticide. The ban of its use has been a boon for our health and the environment, but we lost an effective form of bed bug treatment.

International Travel

Bed bugs were never completely eradicated in all parts of the world. Hotels across the nation are conveniently located close to an international airport, making it easy for these pests to hitch rides in a traveler’s personal belongings.

What to Look For?

There are signs to look for when checking into lodging that accommodates international travelers. Hotel and motel sheets, pillowcases, and mattresses may have traces of bed bug feces. These are tiny dots that are dark brown or black in color. You may also want to look closely at the headboard, corners of the mattress, and the nightstand for signs. They also love to hide behind loose wallpaper and pictures hanging on the walls. Waking up to painful, itchy welts is another sign of an infestation. It’s important to note that bed bugs can go unseen. For this reason, it’s best to hire a beg bug exterminator to treat the problem.

Preventing Bed Bugs

Preventing bed bugs is certainly easier than fighting an active infestation. Look closely for the signs of bed bugs, such as feces on the sheets or mattresses. Try and keep your luggage to a minimum and store it off the floor, preferably on hangers away from the walls. Consult a bed bug exterminator if you feel you may have brought the problem home and need a bed bug treatment. A pest professional will be better equipped to eliminate the infestation. 

Author Bio: Rose McMillan is an experienced pest control professional who has worked at at several pest control companies, including Terminix and now does freelance writing with the purpose of giving back to the community by educating homeowners.