Chances are, you or someone you know has had a run-in with bed bugs. It might have happened in a scrupulously clean bedroom. Or maybe it was a hotel room, office or college dorm. In the February issue of Scientific American entomologist Kenneth Haynes of the University of Kentucky explains how, after a lengthy absence, bed bugs are staging a comeback. The good news is scientists are intensively studying these insects, and their insights suggest novel ways of detecting the bugs and eradicating infestations. Some of those potential solutions are a long way off, however. In the meantime the best bet is to avoid bringing bed bugs home in the first place. I called Haynes to ask him how to do that and what to do if one suspects an infestation (eek!), among a bunch of other practical-minded questions.
Bed bugs occur in all regions of the globe. Rates of infestations are relatively common, following an increase since the 1990s. The exact causes of this increase is unclear; with proposals including greater travel, more frequent exchange of second-hand furnishings, a greater focus on control of other pests, and increasing resistance to pesticides. Bed bugs have been known human parasites for thousands of years.
I know when you get infested with these, the bedding and mattresses all have to go. We are just barely scraping by as it is, and we have a bed for each kid no matter how often they come to see us – including ours, that’s SEVEN mattresses and bedding sets. Our landlord is not returning our calls, and although I know that he is responsible for not treating the problem which (per neighbor reports) the previous tenants had, too. But the lawyer wants $500 to even send a LETTER, let alone go to court. And I keep thinking that even if we go to court and win, the courts will make him treat the apartment…not replace the furniture that’s effected because of it. So…we sleep on floors, with newspapers?
The treatment of bedbug bites depends on the symptoms and their severity. The bites should heal and disappear in one to two weeks whether you treat them or not. The goal is to prevent scratching the itchy rash, which can lead to a skin infection. You can use over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch creams such as calamine lotion or those containing diphenhydramine or cortisone. Be sure to read the product label and don't use these creams around the eyes, anus, or genitals.
Bed bug bites typically appear in groups of three, called the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" pattern. Each victim's reaction to bed bug bites is unique. Some may have a slight reddening of the skin. Others may have a more severe reaction, causing a raised, itchy rash. A raised rash may obscure the individual bites, making it challenging to identify. Sometimes, bites and lesions can throb and become very painful for days after the bugs bit you.
Our place is pretty cluttered so I was freaking out. Luckily we have hardwood floors and not carpet. We tried different things. It gets really hot here, so I loaded up any nearby sheets, pillows, comforters, clothes, etc into trash bags and tied them off so nothing could get out. I put those in the car so the sun could beat heat into them all day. Never thought I’d be so thankful for Texas summers… Still got bites. We bought a mattress cover. Still got bites. We thought, okay, maybe they’re coming from the wall socket from a neighbors or something. We couldn’t close it so we kept the bed away from furniture and walls and put sticky traps on the legs. Caught NO bed bugs but STILL GOT BITES. I was losing my mind.
Once you have a suspicion or a confirmed infestation, do not spread things outside of the bedroom. Don't take linens off the bed and go to sleep somewhere else—that will just move the infestation to other rooms. Ultimately pest control operators will tell you to put everything you can through the washer and dryer, since bed bugs cannot withstand high temperatures. I don't think bed bugs would be able to survive solvent-based dry cleaning, but I don't have any first-hand knowledge that that's true. Unfortunately, dry cleaners and Laundromats can be places where people pick up bed bugs. I think it's a low probability, but it only takes one adult female bed bug that has been mated to get an infestation going.
I personally did not know about bedbugs or how to treat bites. I and my family have suffered the trauma of dealing with this problem. I have little knowledge of bedbugs. It has been a very bad experience to my family. I have had to throw away many items that was precious to me. Giving up all the mattress in my home. Sleeping on the floor with jackets, socks, long pants, and long shirts. My son is has asthma. I have a major concern with his health. My family is my major concern.
I sleeped over my boyfreinds house just for a night my 4month old daughter and I slept on the bed and we got bit bad but my poor baby seems to have pus on her bites..she got bit even on her face her fingers etc..but funny thing my boyfreind didnt get bit, I got home and i washed everything we took in hot water dried in hot washed my beeding all her blankets the car seat was left out in the heat for 2 days..then i washed it in hot water i vacumed the whole room sprayed alcohol on the carpet on my matress..question is what more can i do? is there any chance that they could still be in my room?
These things are the real vampires!!!! Just got bit over my eye, which now is all swollen and hurting, and 3 bites on my upper arm, caught the 2 little bugs on the wall next to my bed. Make sure that your bed is away from the walls. I use tea tree oil it helps to calm the itching down, I have a bad reaction to them. Not sure where the keep coming from and always in twos. Ahhhhhh!!!!!!! Can’t sleep
Medical treatment is usually not needed for bedbug bites. If required, medical treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms (like itching) caused by bedbug bites. In the rare cases of a systemic allergic reaction or a secondary skin infection, evaluation by a health care professional may be necessary. Individuals may also want to seek medical care if they are unsure of what is causing their skin lesions.
Each of the following pictures of bed bug bites shows typical skin reactions to the insect's saliva. Most people are not hypersensitive to the bites and will show no reaction at all with the exception of two small dots where the bedbug punctured the skin. Other people can develop red papular eruptions (raised inflamed areas) or in severe cases, blisters.
These nocturnal creatures can hide in beds, floors, furniture, wood, and paper trash during the day. We humans usually become their dinner during the night, with peak biting activity just before dawn.They can obtain their meal in as little as three minutes, after which they are engorged and drop off the host, then crawl into a hiding place to digest their meal. Bedbugs can live for 10 months, and can go weeks without feeding.