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.
According to textile experts (Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, Laurel, MD), most garments designated as ‘dry-clean only’ (e.g., cotton, wool, silk, linen, rayon, nylon) will not be harmed provided they are dry before being placed in a clothes dryer at a moderate temperature setting. Dry cleaning procedures also kill bed bugs, but there is a risk of infesting the establishment when buggy items are tagged and sorted.
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.
Bed bugs have flat oval bodies, six legs, are reddish-brown in color and are similar in size to a dog tick - many have described the adults as resembling a flat apple seed. Adult bed bugs are approximately 1/4 inch long, while nymphs (juveniles) may be as small 1/16 of an inch. With feeding, they enlarge or engorge with blood. The adults turn from a brownish to reddish color, while the translucent nymphs may become bright red during the feeding process.
I don’t get to see our kids; I can’t protect them from the little monsters; my own body is being eaten alive; the constant itching and scratching is embarrassing, as is the fact that I have bites and scars in visible places, and that my blood no longer clots properly, so if I get a paper cut, I’ll be bleeding a good half hour; we’ve sprayed, washed, dried and the bites keep coming; I’ve used prescription strength cortisode cream, Benadryl (which makes me tired and stupid at work), Zyrtec, Aveeno shower soap and even used my DOGS anti-itch shampoo. And I an still itching till they bleed, scarring, and finding new ones every day. I just…a part of me has totally lost hope that there will EVER be an escape and I’m so depressed I just want to go to sleep and not wake up
Bed bugs tend to congregate, but it’s also common to find a single bug or some eggs here and there. A thorough inspection and treatment may take up to several hours. Some companies use specially trained dogs to assist in finding small dispersed infestations, especially in such places as hotels, schools, libraries and office buildings. When properly trained, bed bug detection dogs can be quite effective. Relatively few companies are routinely using them, however, due to the expense of training and maintaining such animals. Reliability of some of the dogs is also being questioned as more enter the market.
First, remove all affected areas such as bed linens, clothing, sheets and pillowcases and wash them in borax. For non-washable surfaces, as in drawers or cabinets, dust talcum powder on the affected area. Vacuum the area thoroughly and purchase an enzyme cleaner to clean all possible surfaces. If there are open spots or crevices in the wall, dust them with talcum powder and caulk them shut. This cleaning process should be repeated as often as possible to rid your home of the infestation.
Unlike those of other insects, bed bug bites may sometimes appear in tight lines of multiple, small, red marks where multiple bed bugs have fed along an exposed area. Bed bug bites can cause itchiness. Initially, a victim may detect a slight burning sensation. The burning area then develops red bumps, known as papules or wheals (rash). In extreme cases, bites may swell dramatically or turn into blister-like skin inflammations.