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.
Probably chiggers -- they are very small, red mites that usually cannot be seen with the naked eye. They are about as small as the period at the end of this sentence. To stop the itching, use OraJel (usually sold for teething babies), which contains benzocaine (an anesthetic). Also, rub in hydrocortisone cream. To prevent chigger bites, wear long pants and stuff the cuffs into your socks.
Another clue to infestation is odor. Like many species of bugs, bed bugs release odors called alarm pheromones. When a group of bed bugs gets disturbed, you may get a whiff of that odor, which is similar to the odor stink bugs give off. At higher concentrations the odor is unpleasant. Some people say at low concentrations it's a pleasant smell—like coriander. In fact, older literature refers to the bed bug as the coriander bug. I've tried to smell the coriander scent in bed bug alarm pheromones and have not been able to make the connection, however.

been fighting them the past month. got rid of my bed today…cleaned the entire area very well and fortunately i have a seemingly clean twin bed in my spare room to sleep on till i get a new bed in for myself (twin is too small) and when that comes this bed is going out too. I threw away ALL of my pillows and bedding. I’ve inspected the boxspring and beat the mattress to stir anything to see if they are there as well but as the spare room is just that. The twin bed and the spare room have barely been used in years.


Just wondering if it is unusual for bed bugs to bite where you are clothed? I have 3 bites, in a diagonal line on one side and in a triangle shape on the other side of my pelvic area both which are covered by underwear at night. Then I have a random spot here and there on my legs. We have a plastic mattress cover on our bed but use dark sheets. As best I can tell there is no evidence of bed bugs. What do you think? Thanks!
No money whatsoever to do anything about it. I’m out of work and can’t even pay my rent. If we mention the infestation to the landlord he’ll toss us out because he’s in the process of selling the building. I’m going to try and go to an urgent care place to see if I can at least get something to stop the itching. This is driving me crazy with all the itching.
Many news reports in recent years have focused on the discovery of bedbugs and their health effects (even in upscale five-star hotels), and a number of lawsuits have been filed by guests of fashionable hotels who awoke to find hundreds of bedbug bites covering their skin. Searching on travel-review web sites regularly reveals information and even photos confirming the presence of bedbugs in numerous hotels.
How to treat and prevent chigger bites A chigger is a form of mite that feeds on human skin cells. Although they are so small that the naked eye cannot see them, chiggers can inflict extremely itchy bites that can last up to a week without treatment. Here we look at how to avoid getting bitten as well as how to recognize and treat any existing bites. Read now
The first question I would ask that person is, what makes you think you have bed bugs? A skin reaction alone does not necessarily indicate the presence of bed bugs. Other bugs, allergies and irritants in the environment can produce similar skin reactions. And it's hard to confidently identify a bed bug bite because reactions vary from person to person. My next question would be, have you seen an insect in an area where you sleep and, if so, was it the correct size and shape to be a bed bug? Carpet beetles in an immature stage are commonly mistaken for bed bugs. The carpet beetle actually doesn't look anything like a bed bug, but it is the right size. And it's another common insect to have indoors around the bed. If you find an insect that you think is a bed bug, save it in a pill bottle or another container so its key characteristics won't get crushed and a professional can identify it.
Bed bugs are a traveler's nightmare. They can be picked up in hotel rooms, leaving red itchy bumps and possibly rashes to ruin your vacation. Or even worse: If you accidentally bring them back with you, they could infect your whole house. To prevent a plague of bed bugs, here are some tips of what to check while you're on the road and how to determine the symptoms of bed bug bites.
While encountering bed bugs in hotels is possible, typically only a small number of rooms have problems. If bed bugs are discovered, guests can request another room, preferably in another area of the building, since problems often extend to nearby units. Should you experience itchy welts suggestive of bed bug bites during your stay, it would be prudent upon returning home to place all clothing directly into the washer and/or dryer. Inspecting or vacuuming luggage upon arrival home is less useful since it’s hard to spot bed bugs inside a suitcase. The suitcase itself can either be treated or discarded. 

Hey Ruth! If there are absolutely no signs of bed bugs (upon close inspection), its unlikely that they are the cause for the bite marks. I recommend taking another look for dark brown marks (dried blood) and other signs of their presence. Regardless, if you want to kill any bug on that mattress, just get a handheld steamer and blast it. The heat will kill everything and its completely natural. Hope that helps!
My husband for 5 yrs had been getting bites on one knee and on his stomach about every other month or so. They are maybe 3 or 4 on stomach area and maybe 6 or 7 on the knee – always same knee and same area on stomach. We wondered about bed bugs so we put DE out, corked all openings and cracks, and sprayed – we have never seen signs of the bed bugs, we put the mattress and box springs in the bed bug proof cover. If it were bed bugs would they not bite some where else and would you not get more of them after all this time? The only bug we have seen are the ones that look like lady bugs sometimes but I understand they do not bite!

The safest and most effective approach to getting rid of bed bugs is heat treatment, in which a trained professional heats the home's rooms one by one to a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius and sustains the heat for four hours. Heat does not penetrate well into wall voids, though, so desiccant dusts are often applied to those areas. No single technique can eliminate bed bugs—combinations of approaches are essential to getting the job done.

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.
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