Bedbugs were pretty much eradicated in the developed world by the 1940s. But by the mid-nineties, they have made a comeback. Big time. Known scientifically as Cimicidae (Cimex lectularius), bedbugs are small insects that live on the blood of warm-blooded creatures.
They especially like humans. They prefer to hang out in houses and are most commonly found in beds, hence the name. They are active during the day, but are more active at night. They are able to feed on their hosts without their hosts realizing what's going on. With mosquitoes you know when you are being fed on, not so with bedbugs!
If you notice a bedbug infestation, look for the following symptoms: a skin rash or an allergic reaction. You may also suffer some psychological consequences.
Bedbugs can be easily seen with the eye. They are reddish-brown and about a quarter of an inch long and oval in shape.
Infestations are caused in numerous ways:
- bugs and eggs are carried in by clothing and luggage
- other infested items are carried in (furniture, clothes)
- a nearby building has an infestation
- animals, both wild and domestic, bring them in
Bedbugs can often be found one at a time, but, once established, they often like to hang out together. They also like to stay close to their hosts, meaning near beds and couches. Nesting spots can be anywhere, like bedside clutter, furniture, cars, trucks, luggage, etc. Sometimes they nest near animals that have nested withing a building - think bats, birds, and rodents.
Immediately check your home for insects. You need to thoroughly examine crevices in walls, mattresses, and furniture. Sometimes it's best to do your inspection at night when bedbugs are active.
Look for the following:
Dark Specks - Especially look for dark specks along mattress seams. These are bedbug excrement.
Empty Light Brown Exoskeletons - Before becoming adults, bedbugs molt five times.
Blood Spots - Small spots of blood on your sheets could be where you rolled over and crushed an engorged bedbug.
How to prevent carrying bedbugs home from a trip ...
Bedbugs are becoming a scourge throughout the nation. If you get an infestation in your home, you will have to exterminate them in your mattresses and in all of your furniture and inside your walls as well.
Currently there are three products to keep you from packing up bed bugs and carrying them home.
- An encasement so to seal your luggage and keep bedbugs out.
- A liquid you can spray on your suitcase.
- A heater to stick inside your luggage.
Heat is actually one of the best ways to prevent bedbug infestation.
As soon as you get back home, keep your suitcase on the porch or in the garage. Unpack all clothes clean and dirty and immediately put them in the dryer for 30 minutes.
Of course, while you are in the hotel, look at the mattress for any residue. Remember, the dark specks in the seams.