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 are very resilient. Nymphs and adults can persist months without feeding which is unusual for most insects. The ability to survive without a blood meal is longer at cooler temperatures ― potentially up to a year or longer at 55°F or less. In temperature-controlled buildings, a more typical duration is about 2 to 6 months. Consequently, it is usually impractical to leave buildings unoccupied in hopes of ‘starving out’ an infestation. When infested dwellings such as apartments are vacated, bed bugs often disperse to nearby units, or reduce their activity until the unit is reoccupied.
The significant resurgence of bedbugs in the past decade has been attributed to pesticide resistance, more frequent travel, lack of public awareness, and inadequate pest control programs. Bedbugs are obligate blood parasites (insect family Cimicidae). They can withstand a large range of temperatures but are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide. They typically feed just before dawn. Cutaneous reactions to bedbug bites can include macules, papules, wheals, vesicles, bullae, and nodules. Bites may be confused with other skin conditions. Bedbug bite reactions are typically self-limited and resolve within one to two weeks without treatment. Bedbug infestation may cause significant psychological distress. The diagnosis of a bedbug infestation is based on history, appearance of bites, and inspection of sleeping quarters. Although there is no evidence that bedbugs transmit disease, systemic reactions may include asthma, angioedema, generalized urticaria, iron deficiency anemia, and, rarely, anaphylaxis. An integrated pest management strategy should be employed to eliminate infestation. Tactics include vacuuming, heat or cold treatment, trapping devices, and pesticides.
It is also recommended to put infested items, such as a mattress, in a sauna that reaches temperatures of upwards of 170° Fahrenheit. Similarly, they also perish in extremely cold temperatures so mattresses and other items can be cleansed of these bugs with the use of plastic wrap and dry ice. Cover the items with large plastic tarps and carefully insert dry ice, and then secure. The extreme temperature will naturally fumigate the pests.
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?
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.
Bed bugs typically feed at night when we are sleeping. Even though these pests commonly feed for 5 minutes, the bite itself is painless and usually goes undetected at the time. In fact, bed bugs inject an anticoagulant (a blood thinner) as they feed, which makes feeding easier for the bed bug and also less detectable to you. Although you may not see the bed bugs, or feel their bites, they know when you are around. Bed bugs are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide. So, if you are alive, warm, and breathing - then you are broadcasting loudly and clearly to all nearby bed bugs that "dinner is served!"
We have bedbugs. They are all over the house. In all of the rooms. My daughter feels that it would be safer to sleep outside than in this house. My son has really sensitive skin and the bedbugs love to attack him. One night he just kept twisting and turning because he must have been itching. We have had to get rid of all of our beds and have had to sleep on the floor. The floor is safer than the beds but not by much. The bedbugs seem to be everywhere. On the walls, on the floor, with you, or in your beds. We have tried many things so if anyone has any advice, it would be very much appreciated.
Individuals who experience repeated bites over time may have more pronounced symptoms. Some people may also develop scarring or a skin infection from intense scratching of the skin. Rarely, a more severe systemic allergic reaction to a bedbug bite may develop. Some individuals may develop insomnia and anxiety from serious or repeated bedbug infestations.
Should I worry about a tick bite? Ticks are parasites that feed on blood, and although their bites are harmless they can still transmit diseases, such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Learn what ticks are and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a bite. This MNT Knowledge Center article also explains how to prevent tick bites. Read now
I found something that works. Diatomaceous earth or perma guard. Buy a big bag. About a good 5 pounds and put it around the whole house yard in your bed in every crack the carpet. I mean all over and give it a couple days. They will be gone. I live in an apt I ha e a cat n dog. It isn’t harmful to pets or humans its 100% safe to use around kids and best of all no bed bugs no ants no roaches. I paid about $10 on ebay. Good luck and I’m telling u this worked for me.
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Hi, I am from the United states and have recently travelled to Poland. Decided to stay in an AirBnb in Warsaw. Everything was okay until a couple of days into the stay when I noticed what seemed like a very small cluster of small bites in the crook of my neck. Stranger still, on the opposite side of my neck, in the same location, there was another very small cluster of small bites. Ofcourse, I panicked. Washed everything three times, etc. The next few days, it seemed a couple of more would appear in the same area. In the crook region of my neck. But, NOT on my legs, feet, stomach, hands. Keep in mind, I sleep with very little clothes and thought it was weird that this “skin reaction” was not any where else. I did start wearing a new product in my hair and exactly where my hair falls usually, is pretty much where these little “bumps” appeared. I did try to do little experiments to test out the theory that I may just be having a skin reaction to a hair product. One night, after donning almost little to nothing sleepwear, I rubbed lemon juice all over my neck. The next morning, I did feel slightly better but I believe maybe one or two very small bites after I washed it. Lately, I’ve been securely wrapping my neck and covering it when I go to sleep and have recently stopped using said new product in my hair. The bumps seem to be darkening and going away and as usual, found nowhere else on my body. Occassionally, after running the crook of my neck area, it feels like one or two very small bumps will appear. I dont know. Is this a new level of highly sophisticated bed bugs that I’m dealing with? Or is it just a skin reaction and my mind is playing invisible bug warfare on me? Please note. I do not have lice and these very small bumps I mentioned before are way further down from my scalp. Crook of neck area. Just a little higher than where my collar bone is. Please advise. Have you heard of anything like this?
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.
Visit your doctor. You can also see a doctor for diagnosis if you do not find signs of bedbugs in your bed and cannot identify the source of the bites or rash. However, there is a very good chance that your physician will not be able to firmly diagnose that you have been bitten by a bedbug because the symptoms look so similar to those that result from other insect bites and skin conditions. Nevertheless, you may feel comforted by going to see your doctor, who can confirm for you that bedbugs pose little physical threat to humans.
Jump up ^ John Southall. "That soon after the Fire of London, in some of the new-built Houses they were observ'd to appear, and were never noted to have been seen in the old, tho' they were then so few, as to be little taken notice of; yet as they were only seen in Firr-Timber, 'twas conjectured they were then first brought to England in them; of which most of the new Houses were partly built, instead of the good Oak destroy'd in the old". A Treatise of Buggs [sic], pp. 16–17. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
Firstly, its important to remember that, despite their daily diet of blood, bed bugs will not transfer blood based diseases (such as AIDS, etc.). However, in very rare cases, these bites have been known to cause Anaphylaxis, which is an adverse allergic reaction that covers the entire body in a rash. After being bitten by a bed bug, be alert for any of these potential complications:
Well I had my house tented for bed bugs. It cost me $2600. My home is about 2000 sq ft. They said it wasn’t necessary to wash anything unlike some of the other treatments. It is more than worth it to me as long as it works. I haven’t stayed in my house for over a week now. I’m still itching, but no new bites. Is that common, to still itch for so long afterwards? I just don’t feel comfy/cozy at home any more. I don’t want to be here. I’m seriously thinking of selling or renting my home and moving out. I’ll keep you posted as to whether it worked or not as soon as I can start staying home again.
Although most furnishings need not be discarded, in some cases this may be necessary. This is especially true of heavily infested beds, sofas and recliners where bugs and eggs often reside in hard-to-reach places. Consequently, pest control firms may recommend such items be discarded, especially when in poor condition. When infested items are discarded, bagging or wrapping them prevents dislodgement of bugs en route to the trash.
In comparison to other insect bites, bed bug bite marks are usually in groups of three or more when they appear on the skin. This is sometimes called the “breakfast, lunch and supper bites”. As you can see in the picture below, the bites are rather close to each other. Their bites often look like little red bumps, pimples or even blisters and welts. Some people can also mistake them for flea bites. If one of these insects bite you, you usually won’t even feel it as it uses a form of anesthetic which dulls the pain. Bed bugs also are known to leave bite marks in a straight line, also in close proximity to each other. A single bed bug can bite you a number of times during the night. However, if you have a bed bug infestation, there are usually a large number of these little pests and this can result in a multitude of bite marks. Please also remember that some people may not have a negative reaction to these bites. In fact, sometimes they are mistaken for spider bites, even by medical professionals so make sure you let your doctor know if you feel it could be a bite from bedbugs. Lastly, you will be happy to learn that bed bugs do not fly so you won’t be attacked from the air.
I have done all of this to my home, bed bug dusted and bed bug pesticide sprayed, My cat had been attacked by them I have given her 2 bathes since with Dawn soap. she’s been rubbed down with coconut oil when I had not known of the neighbors upstairs infestation and after the first Dawn bath was periodically rubbed with baking soda. I have bought her a flea color but not for this just cause I am truly a depressed person and full of anxiety both.The place has been vacuumed most thoroughly and floors washed , clothing laundered/dried . I am just asking for further instruction and the best advice to continue any treatment needed to my cat and home. Lastly , I am just overwhelmed by pretty much everything that i am breaking down to tears and unable to sleep properly.. Please HELP