Just recently had my first experience w/ bedbug bites in Nicaragua. Hundred plus bites in one night and over a period of three days they became so inflamed, there were tiny blisters on each bite. These suckers snacked on me like I was an all you can eat buffet. I itched 4 days straight and finally went to a pharmacy there, which prescribed me acne creme. Worked, I guess, at least psychologically. But the bites kept festering more and more.
Bedbugs are small, flat, wingless insects with six legs that, like mosquitoes, feed on blood from animals or people. They range in color from almost white to brown, but they turn rusty red after feeding. The common bedbug doesn't grow much longer than 0.2 inches (0.5 centimeters) and can be seen by the naked eye to the astute observer. Bedbugs get their name because they like to hide in bedding and mattresses.
Bedbug bites typically are stealthy and not felt by the host. This is because they inject a numbing substance into the skin along with an anticoagulant agent to prevent blood from clotting at the feeding site. Itchy, red bites on the skin may be the first sign you've been bitten. Bites are most common on the arms and shoulders, and the bites often occur in straight rows, as pictured here.
Bed bug infestations are primarily the result of two species of insects from genus Cimex: Cimex lectularius (the common bed bug) and Cimex hemipterus. These insects feed exclusively on blood and may survive a year without eating. Adult Cimex are light brown to reddish-brown, flat, oval, and have no hind wings. The front wings are vestigial and reduced to pad-like structures. Adults grow to 4–5 mm (0.16–0.20 in) long and 1.5–3 mm (0.059–0.118 in) wide.
Symptoms may not appear until some days after the bites have occurred. Reactions often become more brisk after multiple bites due to possible sensitization to the salivary proteins of the bed bug. The skin reaction usually occurs in the area of the bite which is most commonly the arms, shoulders and legs as they are more frequently exposed at night. Numerous bites may lead to an erythematous rash or urticaria.
Don’t forget that in some cases a person does not react to bed bug bites at all. It’s really not that easy to easily identify bed bug bites. Often a diagnosis of spider bite is given when the person really doesn’t know what is causing the lesion(s). Spider bites are often an over diagnosed condition. Also, a hot or warm dryer is much more useful than washing clothes in hot water. Certain studies have shown that some bed bugs will withstand the wash, but not the dryer.
Many chemical pesticides are available, with more than 300 registered by the EPA. Pesticides should be applied to walls, floors, cracks in furniture, and seams and buttons of mattresses.21 The EPA’s Bed Bug Products search tool (Web site: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/bedbug/) allows users to search by product name, company, EPA registration number, location of intended use, and pesticide type. The National Pesticide Information Center (Web site: http://npic.orst.edu/; telephone: 800-858-7378) is another useful resource. Silica gel dusts are a safer alternative to traditional pesticides, because they are less concentrated and less toxic.21 Plastic mattress and pillow encasements can help trap bedbugs and restrict spread.42 Regardless of the integrated pest management strategy used, a follow-up inspection 10 to 21 days after extermination is advised to detect and manage a persistent infestation.42
You should look for traces of the insects in the folds of your mattresses, box springs and other places where they are likely to hide. You might be able to find their papery skins, which get cast off after molting and look like popcorn kernels but are smaller and thinner, Harlan said. They also leave small, dark-colored spots from the blood-filled droppings they deposit on mattresses and furniture. If you can touch the spot with a water-soaked towel and it runs a rusty, reddish color, you're probably looking at a fresh drop of bedbug feces, Harlan said.
In the lab we handle all the bed bugs in a specific room that we steam clean once a week, and we have double-stick tape barriers that they can't walk through (as long as the adhesive remains dust-free). And the bed bugs themselves are enclosed in containers that they can't get out of. We actually feed them inside those containers—we lay a blood reservoir against the cloth "lid" and the bed bugs have to push their mouthparts through the cloth into the reservoir to eat.
We recently moved to Chicago into an apartment building. AFTER signing the lease the landlord told us that he sprayed for bed bugs every 3 months…I guess I thought this was precautionary? It wasn’t. I am apparently allergic to these bites, my husband & son, thank god, are not affected. So far nothing helps me with the itch for more than a minute but I just found this sight so hopefully something will work. We have bug bombed and bug sprayed with no luck. Washing everything helps for maybe a day? Tonight we sprayed bleach ALL OVER our mattress and attacked it with a blow-drier. Also, I’ve slathered myself in baby oil per a post here.
The bed bug is a universal problem yet it can be dealt with on a regular basis. used items and new items carry bed bugs. always wash and dry for 20 min. ( its the heat that kills the bug). bed pillows need to be washed and dried on a regular basis and the beds head board are full of body skin cells that attract the bugs. a good old cleaning with vaccum and wipe down is needed. keep your vac cleaned and bag empty after each use, the bugs are in the vac.
Bedbugs are small wingless insects with a flat body. Like all insects, they have six legs. Their color can range from whitish to brown, but after feeding (on blood from animals or people), they appear rusty red. Bedbugs grow to about 0.5 cm in length and can be seen by the naked eye. Their name comes from the fact that they often hide in bedding or mattresses.
For those concerned about bedbug infestations in hotels, an important tip is that you can inspect any hotel room for the presence of the telltale signs of bedbugs. It is important to check the mattress and headboard, and luggage racks. In hotels, keeping your suitcase away from the bed and on a luggage rack can help prevent bedbugs from infesting your luggage. When you return home, inspect your luggage and put clothes immediately into the washer. While washing clothes in hot water does not kill bedbugs, drying clothes at a high temperature can eliminate them.
I was at a friend’s house in the afternoon for 3.5 hrs and woke up at 3 am with severe itching, and pain, on my back. My entire back was covered in bites/rashes, clear lines and clusters. I had no idea what it was and went to the doc. Someone suggested shingles. Doc said definitely bug bites. I talked to my friend and they admitted to having seen bed bugs on the couch “recently.” Freaking out I flipped over my entire bedroom, found nothing. Washed the clothes I wore in hot water and high heat drier. I am hoping that the feeding occured during those few hours and no buggs travelled with me. All I had was me, no stuff. Can they “migrate” on people?
Around the time I started getting bites, I noticed more and more neighbors throwing out mattresses, furniture… I got suspicious. We live in apartments. I react differently to different kinds of bites so I can always tell the difference between mosquitoes and ants and such. I didn’t know what those bites were until I caught one of the little hellions crawling across the sheets.
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.