Bed bugs occur around the world. Before the 1950s about 30% of houses in the United States had bedbugs. Rates of infestations in developed countries, while decreasing from the 1930s to the 1980s, have increased dramatically since the 1980s. Before the 1980s they were common in the developing world but rare in the developed world. The increase in the developed world may have been caused by increased international travel, resistance to insecticides, and the use of new pest-control methods that do not affect bed bugs.
On Tuesday my arm became worse after spending the night at my friend’s place. At home, when I got out of the shower a bug near my jeans and killed it. I called my doctor to treat my arm and mentioned the bug. He saw me that day and put me on prednisone. Last night I took the antihistamine he prescribed, and it knocked me right out. I fell asleep on my friend’s shaggy carpet for about an hour and a half. As I awoke, I saw another bug run across my shorts.
Bedbug bites, like all insect bites, can become infected through excessive scratching, as underneath the fingernails lies a host of bacterial pathogens. If your bites become infected, they will appear red and swollen, feel tender and may drain pus. Typically there will not be a fever unless a substantial area of the skin is involved. If you experience any of these symptoms, you must seek medical attention as it points to a secondary infection. Your physician may prescribe antibiotic therapy or, if the infection is mild, an antiseptic medication that you can buy without a prescription.
Amazingly, these sneaky little bloodsuckers dine on you without waking you. You don't feel their stealthy bite because they inject a numbing agent into your body, along with an anticoagulant to keep your blood flowing as they suck. The first sign of bedbugs may be itchy, red bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites.
A variety of low-odor sprays, dusts, and aerosol insecticides help with bed bug control. People must apply these pesticides to all areas where the bugs are observed as well as hiding places or spaces where they may crawl. The pest control company can help you determine if an infested mattress can be disinfected or must be discarded. Since beds cannot readily be treated with insecticides, it's often necessary to discard infested mattresses and beds.
Infestations with bedbugs date back to ancient Egypt.1 The incidence of bedbugs in developed countries decreased in the 1940s because of the availability of more effective pesticides (especially DDT) and improved economic and social conditions.2 In the past decade, however, a significant resurgence of bedbug populations has occurred. This is attributed to a combination of factors, including increased pesticide resistance, more frequent travel, lack of public awareness, and inadequate pest control programs.3 In a 2010 survey, 95 percent of more than 500 U.S. pest management companies reported encountering a bedbug infestation during the preceding year, compared with only 25 percent of companies during 2000.4 Bedbugs spread actively by migrating from one infested room to another, often through ventilation ducts. They also spread passively, carried in the seams of travelers’ luggage, bedding, or furniture.5 Bedbugs do not travel directly on human hosts.6
Bed bugs can exist singly, but tend to congregate once established. Although strictly parasitic, they spend only a tiny fraction of their lifecycles physically attached to hosts. Once a bed bug finishes feeding, it relocates to a place close to a known host, commonly in or near beds or couches in clusters of adults, juveniles, and eggs—which entomologists call harborage areas or simply harborages to which the insect returns after future feedings by following chemical trails. These places can vary greatly in format, including luggage, inside of vehicles, within furniture, among bedside clutter—even inside electrical sockets and nearby laptop computers. Bed bugs may also nest near animals that have nested within a dwelling, such as bats, birds, or rodents. They are also capable of surviving on domestic cats and dogs, though humans are the preferred host of C. lectularius.
Bed bugs hide in seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed during the day. Bed bugs are transmitted from place to place as people travel. They can be in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, or anywhere else they find a place to hide.
The only way to stop getting bedbug bites is to eradicate them, but it will be difficult and time-consuming. You can try to address the problem yourself, but It is best to enlist a professional pest control service that can use nonchemical and chemical measures. If you are renting, notify your landlord as other units should be inspected and the landlord may be required to assist in the eradication.
As if you needed something else to worry about, bedbugs, those pests from the old bedtime rhyme are making a comeback. More of a nuisance than a health hazard, they’re showing up to suck blood from people in hotels, college dorms, and hospitals. Take an informative look at bedbugs: what they are, where they lurk, and how to spot them before they get you.