Until fairly recently, most people (and even pest control professionals) had never seen a bed bug. Bed bug infestations actually used to be very common in the United States before World War II. But with improvements in hygiene, and especially the widespread use of DDT during the 1940s and ‘50s, the bed bugs all but vanished. The pests persisted, however, in some areas of the world including parts of Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Over roughly the past decade, bed bugs have made a dramatic comeback in the U.S.― they’re appearing increasingly in homes, apartments, hotels, health care facilities, dormitories, shelters, schools and public transportation. Other places where bed bugs sometimes occur include movie theaters, laundries, rental furniture, and office buildings. Immigration and international travel have contributed to the resurgence of bed bugs in the U.S. Changes in modern pest control practice, less effective insecticides ― and a decrease in societal vigilance ― are other factors suspected for the recurrence.
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.
With practice and a flashlight, nonprofessionals can become proficient in finding and destroying bed bugs. The process is made easier by reducing clutter, especially in bedrooms and sleeping areas. Bugs that are spotted can be removed with a vacuum (see previous discussion), or killed with over-the-counter insecticides labeled for such use. Most bed bug sprays intended for householders have little remaining effect after the spray has dried. Therefore it’s important to initially contact as many of the insects as possible with the spray droplets. Insecticide labels should be read carefully as some bed bug products should not be used on mattresses and seating areas. Some insecticides applied as powders or dusts (e.g., diatomaceous earth) will kill bed bugs although boric acid powder will not. However powders can be messy and difficult to apply, especially by nonprofessionals. Total release foggers (otherwise known as ‘bug bombs’) are ineffective against bed bugs and potentially dangerous when used incorrectly (see University of Kentucky entomology fact sheet Limitations of Home Insect Foggers).
The prognosis for bedbug bites is excellent. The vast majority of people who experience bedbug bites will recover without any long-term problems, and many individuals who are bitten may not exhibit any physical signs at all. However, the recent resurgence in bedbug infestations will require increasing public education and awareness, instituting effective preventive and control measures, and continuing research into the development of more effective, safe insecticides.
Some preparation is still required (e.g. removal of heat-sensitive items such as aerosol cans, indoor plants and medications), but it is seldom necessary to bag, launder and/or hot dry bedding and clothing since these items will be heated along with other furnishings. Another advantage of heat treatment is that infestations can often be eliminated in one day, rather than over multiple days or weeks. Conversely, heat treatment alone has no lasting (residual) effect should bed bugs be reintroduced into the dwelling. Consequently, some companies recommend concurrently applying residual insecticides. To further minimize reintroduction, occupants are advised to take as few belongings as possible with them while the heat treatment is in progress.
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.
I recently flew on Airtran Airways, First trip I went well. flying back I had a 30 minute layover in ATL (not enough time to sit down). By the time I got home I was covered in bites from the back of my thighs to my neck. I counted over 100 bites! We have got a serious problem here. these bugs are on planes. I knew nothing about these bugs. Thank you for your stories and remedies. I won’t think twice next time they ask me if I want to upgrade to first class.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Center for Environmental Health; Environmental Protection Agency. Joint Statement on Bed Bug Control in the United States from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Atlanta, Ga.: National Center for Environmental Health; 2010.
We’ve randomly gotten bites here and there but it’s summer so we were unsure. We had a cleaning lady come in recently and use her vaccuum so we suspect that could’ve brought in bed bugs! Last night was worst ever but I was outside yesterday but didn’t notice these bites til I just woke up. No signs of spots left behind on mattress, maybe one dot on bedding but could be anything. What do you think?? I have about 6-8 on my middle back and they are about an inch or so apart in one line across bra line area
It’s been over a week since the first attack. I did not know where or when I got bit. Then a few days later in the night, I connected the dots. At 3 am I was up comparing bite pics on the internet and sure enough my fear was confirmed. I slept on the couch which is only 10 feet away in my studio with no problem. I did not see the actual bugs. I went and bought Steri-Fab spray–a gallon of it. I cleaned, vacuumed, sprayed the crap out of everything. I washed all my bedding in hot water. I threw out a throw rug. Sprayed baseboards again and around that side of the apartment.
Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bed bug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the insecticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger pesticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.
Some firms want beds stripped and furniture moved before they arrive, while other firms prefer to inspect first and perform these tasks themselves. Clutter and belongings on floors (especially beneath beds) must be removed since they impede treatment and afford additional places for bugs to hide. Bedding and garments normally will need to be laundered and/or hot dried (120°F minimum) since they cannot be treated with insecticides. An effective and efficient alternative to laundering is to simply place bedding, clothing, toys, shoes, backpacks, etc., in a clothes dryer set at medium-to-high heat for 10 to 20 minutes. This can be done in lieu of washing and will kill all bed bug life stages.
I can’t wear any of my rings because my fingers have gotten swollen and they hurt. My wrists have become somewhat painful as well. I get blood blisters that hurt like anything. Those are the worst. I’m living on benadryl and calamine lotion. The calamine seems to be helping to dry them out at least. My right hand is a disaster. Especially on the skin between thumb and forefinger. I look like I’m a leper or something.
Bed bugs do not transmit MRSA. Although there have been reports of persons developing methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, such as boils or abscesses associated with bed bug bites, it turns out the bed bugs really weren't directly at fault. Rather, the cases of MRSA infections associated with bed bug bites are actually an example of scratching leading to minor skin trauma and subsequent secondary bacterial infections. In these cases, people who are carriers of MRSA scratch at the itchy bite sites and provide a port of entry for the MRSA (which was already present on their skin) to get in and under the skin and cause the secondary infection. While it can be blamed for some other bed bug symptoms like itching and red welts, the bed bug cannot be blamed for the infection.
One bed bug will usually take more than one bite. Once a bed bug inserts its mouthparts and finds a suitable blood vessel, it will begin feeding. However, finding the right blood vessel may take more than one injection into the skin. In addition, bed bugs are very sensitive to movement by the host they are feeding on. Therefore, if a sleeping person moves, a feeding bed bug will probably withdraw its mouthparts and begin its search for a blood meal on another part of the body. It’s important to remember that the number of bites a person receives is not indicative of the number of bed bugs that feed on that person.