Adult bed bugs are about 3/16” long and reddish-brown, with oval-shaped, flattened bodies. They are sometimes mistaken for ticks, cockroaches, carpet beetles or other household insects. The immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs do not fly, and they don’t jump like fleas do ― but they can crawl rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Adult females lay their eggs in secluded places, depositing 1, 2 or more eggs per day, potentially hundreds during their lifetime. The eggs are tiny (about the size of a dust spec), whitish and hard to see without magnification, especially on light-colored surfaces. When first laid, the eggs are sticky, causing them to adhere to surfaces. At room temperatures, bed bug eggs hatch in about a week. Newly emerged nymphs are straw-colored and no bigger than a pinhead.
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.
Español: tratar las picaduras de chinches, Deutsch: Bettwanzenbisse behandeln, Português: Tratar Picadas de Percevejos, Italiano: Trattare le Punture delle Cimici da Letto, Français: traiter des piqures de punaises de lit, Русский: лечить укусы клопов, 中文: 应对床虱叮咬, Nederlands: Bedwantsbeten behandelen, Čeština: Jak léčit štípance od štěnic, Bahasa Indonesia: Mengobati Gigitan Kutu Ranjang, Tiếng Việt: Trị Vết cắn Bọ rệp, 日本語: トコジラミの刺し跡を治療する, العربية: معالجة لدغات البقّ المنزلي, 한국어: 빈대에 물린 상처를 치료하는 법, ไทย: รักษารอยตัวเรือดกัด
Bedbugs live in any articles of furniture, clothing, or bedding, so they or their eggs may be present in used furniture or clothing. They spread by crawling and may contaminate multiple rooms in a home or even multiple dwellings in apartment buildings. They may also hide in boxes, suitcases, or other items that are moved from residence to residence or from a hotel to home. Bedbugs can live on clothing from home infestations and may be spread by a person unknowingly wearing infested clothing.
Dusts have been used to ward off insects from grain storage for centuries, including plant ash, lime, dolomite, certain types of soil, and diatomaceous earth or Kieselguhr. Of these, diatomaceous earth in particular has seen a revival as a nontoxic (when in amorphous form) residual pesticide for bed bug abatement. While diatomaceous earth performed poorly, silica gel may be effective.
Bedbug bites may go unnoticed or be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other types of rash or skin conditions, since the signs of bedbug bites are difficult to distinguish from other bites or skin conditions. Bedbugs also have glands whose secretions may leave musty odors, and they also may leave dark fecal spots on bed sheets and around places where they hide (in crevices or protected areas around the bed or anywhere in the room).
If you arrive home and discover that you have brought some unwanted guests home with you, immediately notify the hotel of your discovery. Having a possible infestation in hotels and motels can be a public relations nightmare for the owners. Politely ask them to pay for any and all costs incurred to rid your clothing and home of a possible new infestation.
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.
While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.