“Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” How many of us have heard this line before? Imagine yourself ready to drop out from sheer exhaustion and looking towards some much-needed shut-eye, only to find yourself hopping out of bed because of insects crawling all over it. Bedbugs are becoming an urban nuisance, and they can ruin your sleep and make you cranky the morning after. In recent years, bedbugs are enjoying a resurgence, as they have invaded a lot of urban areas, most especially homes and hotels.
Infestations are Getting Worse
About the Bug
Cimex lectularius, more commonly known as bed bugs, are parasites that hide within mattresses, headboards, and other bedroom clutter. When hungry, they come out of their hiding places in search of exposed skin to feed on such as the head, neck, arms, and legs. These pests crawl up behind a sleeping person to bite and feed on the blood, and then they go crawling back to their hiding places to reproduce. All kinds of people are vulnerable to bedbug infestations, regardless of whether or not their homes are clean. Aside from people, bedbugs also feed on dogs and cats. They are very small pests, about 5 millimeters in length. Although bedbugs are not known to transmit diseases, the bite they leave on the skin causes rashes which can become itchy and inflamed.
How they were almost eradicated with DDT
The US has dealt with infestations from bedbugs before in the early 20th century, but these were eradicated using the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT). It was so effective that bedbugs became occasional pests that can only be seen on prisons, shelters, and hostels. In the 1970s, the use of DDT was outlawed because it was found to be dangerous to the environment.
How increased travel has cause their spreading
Bedbugs are once again making their presence felt after this brief period of hibernation. One factor being looked into is the increased travel of people from around the globe. People go backpacking to developing countries where bedbugs continue to remain a problem, and they unknowingly bring these pests with them when they go home on their clothes, luggage, and backpacks.
How they are gaining resistance to pesticides
Even DDT—the supposed cure-all for bedbugs—was not immune to pesticide resistance. Pesticide-resistant strains in bedbugs were found in the US, and roughly about 90% of bedbugs today have developed a genetic makeup that makes them immune to pyrethroids, a pesticide that is similar to DDT.
Common Ways to Get Bed Bugs
Aside from traveling to countries where bedbugs remain rampant, you can unknowingly spread these pests by staying and sleeping in motels, hotels, and hostels where bedbugs are widespread. Flea markets and garage sales are also at risk of having bedbugs. When you buy secondhand merchandise from these places and bring them home, you might also be bringing bedbugs with you.
Typical Hiding Places
Bedbugs usually do a “hit-and-run.” They come out to feed and then scurry back to their hiding places until their next meal. Because of this, they usually hide behind places where they are near their food source. Aside from beds and headboards, bedbugs hide behind luggage, suitcases, clothing, beddings, rugs, carpets, box springs, couches, dressers, night stands, and secondhand furniture.
Precautions You Can Take
By taking the necessary precautions, you can prevent bedbugs from entering your house and making a home out of your bed. Here are some tips:
- Check reviews– When traveling, before committing to a hotel or motel, check online reviews. Stay away from places where people had commented there were bedbugs, even if they are offering what seems like a good deal.
- Seal your belongings– Keep a pack of Ziploc bags handy and use them to store your personal items. Keep them shut when not in use to prevent sneaky bedbugs from getting in and contaminating your stuff. Zip your luggage right away after you put or get something out of it.
- Pack items that can be sanitized– Make sure to pack in items that can be washed and cleaned after you get home from traveling. The first thing you need to do after arriving is to wash and clean them with hot water to prevent infestation.
Although bedbugs don’t pose a threat to your life, their presence can be really disturbing. They prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep and will continue to feed off of you until they are exterminated. If you have done everything in your power but you still cannot get them out of your house, it’s best to contact us! We’re experienced in helping home owners get rid bed bugs for good.