What Are Bed Bugs?
There is absolutely nothing more frustrating or irritating than to have an infestation of any type of pest in your home. This feeling is much more intense when you are faced with the problem of dealing with bloodsucking night bugs. Everyone has heard the old saying “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” This is more than just an old childhood saying, it’s also very good advice.
These bugs are something of an enigma, but fairly recently these little pests have become much more prevalent and gained more public attention in recent times, although both they and the issues they can cause have always been acknowledged through the times.
Also known as Cimicidae, these parasitic insects that tend to feed from the blood of warm-blooded animals, especially humans. These pests can cause a variety of health issues such as skin rashes, allergy symptoms and even some psychological issues.
Although treatment is often offered on a symptomatic level, this is because the presence of the bugs must also be found in order to truly treat these bites properly.
A Problem on the Rise
The problem was thought to have been eliminated in the 1940s; however, since 1995 this problem has once more been on the rise. With the increase in population the occurrence of infestation has also been reported, although there is no clear answer as to what the reason for this resurgence is.
One theory that seems to have become highly popular is that of more foreign inhabitants in the country. The fact is that, very often, these often go unnoticed by their hosts as they are active when the hosts are asleep.
Another contributing factor to this infestation is because of the trend of purchasing second hand furnishings, this means that a single piece can travel from home to home, carrying the bugs and spreading them on the way.
How Do Infestations Happen?
One question that many people may have is how they can become infested. There are several ways this can actually occur:
- They can be brought in on pets, luggage and clothing.
- Furniture can be infested and brought into the house.
- If a nearby dwelling is infested and connected, such as by duct work, they can easily spread.
- Even wild animals can carry these bugs and bring them into contact with your dwelling.
- If someone comes into your home that has been in an infested area the bugs can come in on their clothing.
Recognizing the Signs?
The most common way an infestation occurs is because the bugs travel from place to place in luggage, on clothing, on pets and even on humans.
It’s important to recognize the signs of possible infestations and to know how to help protect your own home against the infestation.
Protection will of course obviously begin in the home, but it’s also very important to learn how to recognize the signs of possible infestation, especially during travel. This can help you to avoid the issue.
Here are a few ways to recognize a possible infestation.
Although they are difficult to spot, the debris that they leave behind isn’t. Look for signs such as dark spots on the mattresses which are a definite indication as well as the presence of eggs, bugs and even shed skins. Search your mattresses thoroughly as well as the linens and the box springs for any type of evidence.
Should the appearance of tiny red bites begin showing, especially after you have slept, then it would be a good idea to take a good look and see if these bugs might be the culprits.
Check the common hiding places: beds are not the only places these pests like to hide. Checking your curtains, furniture and small folds of your bedding for the signs of these bugs can help you get an idea if this is your problem. Finding a live one is rare, but if you should they look like tiny cockroaches.
Using carpet tape can help get live evidence: Using double-sided tape around your bed can help you catch them in the act by trapping them to the sticky surface.
How Can You Prevent Them?
The idea of bugs is one that, to put it simply, makes you feel icky. Nobody likes the idea of small parasitic bugs crawling over the area where they have to sleep, let alone biting and feeding from them.
If there is any way possible to prevent the problem of infestation, especially with a few simple steps, then it’s important to know what the steps are and how to deal with them.
Below are a few helpful tips that can help in the area of preventing bugs as much as possible, although this may not completely stop an infestation, it will most definitely help the issue.
Moving the Bed
They are unable to fly, so the only way that they can get to your bed is by one of three ways: climbing the wall to fall onto it from the wall, transferring by clothing dropped on the bed or climbing up the legs to get to the mattress.
Prevent the Them From Reaching Your Mattress
Once you have cleaned the mattress and moved it away from the wall, invest in some climb up interceptors for the legs of your bed. These devices will stop any new bugs from infesting your freshly clean mattress.
The final way that you can prevent the issue of bugs is to use protective pillow cases and mattress covers. These covers will trap and kill any bugs that may have survived the steam cleaning. Most importantly they will keep the bugs from getting to you while you sleep.
It’s important to keep in mind that for the best possible outcome to the dilemma, all of these steps need to be accomplished in one day, if at all possible. Taking steps such as these can help significantly when it comes to the prevention of an infestation.
Of course, if you should find yourself suffering from the problem, steps such as these can also help in eliminating these troublesome pests.
How Can You Avoid Them While Traveling?
Although these methods are great for your home, obviously these cannot be employed should you travel. When traveling, that is when the utmost care must be taken in order to avoid infestations, especially since they can easily infest your clothing and can be brought back to your home.
There are a few simple ways to help avoid these types of problems when you travel.
Check Hotel Reviews Online
Get as many travel reviews about where you will be staying as possible. Online travel sites are a great way to acquire this type of information as it relies on the reviews of former and current guests. If there have been any infestations associated with the establishment they will be listed.
Contact the Hotel Personally
Don’t be afraid to call the establishment and ask if they use mattress covers to prevent the issue.
Pack Your Luggage With Care
Use airtight plastic bags to pack your things; this will prevent these parasitic bugs from hitching a ride back. It would also be a good idea to take a large bag to store your luggage in to prevent the bugs from hiding in your luggage pieces. You will also want to keep your dirty clothes in a separate plastic bag and separate from your other clothing as much as possible.
Inspect Your Lodging
When you get to your room, inspect it thoroughly before unpacking or settling in, should you find evidence of bugs and don’t be afraid to bring it to the attention of the management and to demand another room.
Although these steps may not completely eliminate the issue, they will help most definitely help you to avoid the potential of a problem as much as possible.
More important, they will also help eliminate bringing an infestation back to your home once you return from your travels. Just keep in mind that it’s important for you to be vigilant when you travel as much as you are at home.
How Can They Be Eliminated?
Believe it or not, the problem of these bugs has frustrated humans for thousands of years. There have been various methods attempted in order to either control or eliminate these pests.
Things such as black cohosh plants and eucalyptus saligna oil were reported to have been used; however, there seem to be no records of their true effectiveness. The 18th century saw the use of turpentine along with henna flowers and alcohol as a form of insecticide and a way of eliminating the eggs of these nasty and persistent bugs.
As the 19th century came in, the methods used to help fight the infestation issues were numerous as everyone’s main goal was to rid themselves of these irritating pests. One of the most recognized was that of using the smoke from peat fires to drive bugs away.
There have been several methods, too numerous to count in fact, used in the attempt to eliminate the problem. But thanks to more scientific and modern advancements there have been several highly effective ways of eliminating and even preventing infestation.
There are several methods that are used to get rid of the problem, including cleaning with heat, extermination, and now a new method known as freezing.
Using Heat to Kill Them
When the term heat is used in reference to killing bugs, what that refers to is the use of steam heat. Steam heat works very well when it comes to killing them and is often employed on the home level, especially given how easy it is for homeowners to acquire a steamer and to use it in eliminating the pests.
Although heat does work wonderfully, the problem is that it may not get all of the pests, and if even two of these critters get away then you can easily find yourself with another infestation.
How Does Extermination Work?
Sometimes there are times when ridding your home of bugs should be done by a professional exterminator; this is especially true if your home has a major infestation. Should the services of an exterminator be needed, you can expect to have a “to do” list from the exterminator that you hire, prior to his coming to perform the exterminating job on your home.
Generally the two main jobs the exterminator will request of you will be that of piling up the furniture and removing light switch plates and possibly outlet covers, as these bugs can hide in these areas. Of course you will want to be certain to strip your beds of the clothing so that the bare mattress is exposed.
When the exterminator arrives he may use a combination of both chemicals and steam. Usually the method is to use dry steam on the areas that you touch, then chemicals in order to kill the bugs in other areas as well as flush the remainder of the bed bugs out to be finished off by more steam. Once this is done, follow the prevention steps to avoid incurring any other infestations.
What Sort of Cost Is Involved In Extermination?
Hiring a professional exterminator for any type of pest issue can prove to be expensive, but with these bugs there are other issues to be considered.
First, these nasty bugs are a pest that can easily be carried from one location to the next, so the first step is to find an exterminator who is both knowledgeable and proficient in dealing with these pests.
Generally, estimates of costs can begin as low as $50 and go as high as $250 for residential. These costs, of course, are based on the amount of work and the level of infestation that is in the home.
When you think of the costs it’s also important to remember that you will want to think of the costs involved in regards to the preventative measures such as the mattress covers as well.
What is the Best Freezing Method to Use?
The freezing method of exterminating these bugs is just what it says, freezing. Just as they can be killed relatively easily with extreme heat, such as steam, so too can extreme cold perform the same function.
The method of freezing was first used in Europe and Australia, actually to kill a wide variety of pests.. The substance that is used is called Cryonite and it produces an extremely cold and dry ice snow from the CO2 found in the chemical. The best part of this method is that because its non-chemical there is no risk of chemical intoxication.
Thanks to the fine snow that is produced the spray easily penetrates fibers and material and is easily injected into mattresses and box springs. The result is that the bugs are unable to hide from the spray and are instantly killed.
This eliminates the worry of chemical residues as well as the issues of whether or not the bugs may or may not be able to resist the treatment, given that there are not chemicals found in the spray.
How Does the Freezing Work?
The way that the freezing works is that when the snow comes in contact with the pests the fluids in their systems are automatically frozen; as a result they die instantly.
Another benefit to this treatment is that this snow is able to penetrate areas where other chemicals may not be able to reach, making this treatment much more effective. The best part is that the freezing method is able to be used in all sectors: residential, business and even hospital settings.
Although there are other methods when it comes to finding a way to eliminate worry over chemicals, freezing is one of the best options to utilize. Just be certain that you follow with the necessary methods to prevent any further infestation issues.