Learn How To Prevent Bed Bugs And Sleep Peacefully
Bed Bugs are everywhere. They are turning up in homes, apartments, hotels, movie theaters, laundromats and grocery stores. Bed bugs have been found on buses, in subways and even on airlines and cruise ships. Bed bugs have earned a reputation as world class hitchhikers and they are quite happy to hitch a ride back to your dwelling, so they can infest your home and ruin your good night’s sleep.
The tiny, insidious insect pest has made a come back that would make a slumping Major League Baseball player proud. In less than 25 years, bed bugs have gone from virtually non-existent in developed nations to being a serious and annoying problem today. Since 2001, bed bug infestations have increased over 500%. Local Pest control companies report that their bed bug related jobs have increased from 2 or 3 a year to 4 or 5 a week in the last year alone.
These totally unwelcome insects are extremely difficult to get rid of once they establish a colony. The question of how to to kill bed bugs without having to resort to spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a professional exterminator is of great concern to families. Now that much of the world is experiencing a major financial meltdown, the last thing any family needs is to drain their savings to get rid of bed bugs.
To prevent bed bugs from becoming an issue in your life, you need to know what bed bugs look like, how they get into a home and how you can prevent bed bugs from ever gaining a foothold in your home. You also need to know if bed bugs are just a nuisance or are they an emerging disease issue that puts you and your family at risk.
How To Prevent Bed Bugs By Identifying The Enemy: Knowledge Is The Key To Protection
The good news is that bed bugs are not a serious health risk. They are not linked to any emerging disease issues. Extensive medical research has shown that bed bugs do not cause any major illnesses other than a very rare allergic reaction to their bites. The main effects of a bed bug infestation are psychological stress and a serious drain on your bank account.
The first step to preventing a bed bug infestation is to be pro-active and learn everything you can about these little nightmares. At the top of the list, you need to know what bed bugs look like. Here is an official description of bed bugs from the USDA and other prominent authorities:
“The adult bed bug is a broadly flattened, ovoid, insect with greatly reduced wings (Schuh and Slater 1995). The reduced fore wings, or hemelytra, are broader than they are long, with a somewhat rectangular appearance. The sides of the pronotum are covered with short, stiff hairs (Furman and Catts 1970). Before feeding, bed bugs are usually brown in color and range from 6 to 9.5 mm in length. After feeding, the body is often swollen and red in color (USDA 1976).” Their larvae are the size, shape and color of a small grain of uncooked, white rice.
Bed Bugs shun the light and they are totally nocturnal creatures. They are most active between 3:00 am and the first light of dawn. Our unwelcome insect visitors are expert at hiding in a wide range of hard to get at places. Although they are most often found between the mattress and the box spring of a bed, they can also be found in tiny cracks and crevices, cabinets and drawers, picture frames, drapes and curtains, sofas and other furniture. More often than not bed bugs are first detected by the evidence they leave behind rather than by spotting the actual insects.
Bed bugs feed on human blood and they are very effective little food processors. Bed bugs are so efficient at digesting their meals that one prominent sign of their presence is their droppings. Lift up your mattress and look underneath. If it looks like someone sprinkled finely ground black pepper all over, then you may have bed bugs.
Another sign of the presence of bed bugs is tiny blood smears on your bedding. As you make contact with your sheets after you are bitten, you may leave traces of blood behind. This can become noticeable over time, as more and more bed bugs use you as their personal blood bank.
The way most bed bug infestations are discovered is as a result of their bites and the wounds that appear on the human body. Bed bugs will feed on any exposed area of skin. The face, neck, arms, hands, feet and lower legs are the most common areas where you will find bed bug bites. The bites will leave distinctive small, flat, raised bumps on the skin that may lead to redness and swelling. Scratching the bites can cause them to become infected. A severe reaction to bed bug bites may even cause rashes and blisters. According to experts in infectious disease, bed bugs have an unusual bite pattern. They tend to leave several bites in a neat, little row. The experts call this, “breakfast, lunch, and dinner bites” and it is a sign of what they label “sequential feeding .”
How To Prevent Bed Bugs From Entering Your Home; Bed Bugs Are World Class Hitchhikers
Now that you have a basic knowledge of bed bugs, their signs and symptoms, you need to know how they travel to your home in the first place. This is of paramount importance as it is much easier to prevent bed bugs from entering your home than to get rid of them once they have arrived.
People will be amazed to find out just how good bed bugs are at using every imaginable method of traveling from one place to another. One unfortunate victim brought home his bed bugs from his favorite restaurant. He checked his coat in the restaurant’s coat room and while he enjoyed his meal, several bed bug bugs climbed from another coat that came from an infested home onto his coat. After dinner, Mr. Unfortunate took home several ready to breed, adult bed bugs and within weeks, his home was fully infested.
Bed bugs travel in suitcases, in bags of groceries, in second hand furniture and may even arrive in your home in your child’s school book bag. While you can’t stop bed bugs from traveling, you can keep them from gaining a foothold in your home.
The goal for every homeowner and apartment dweller is to keep bed bugs out of your home with a minimum of expense and effort. You have many other things to do with your life and while bed bugs are a problem, they should not become an obsession. You want to kill any bed bugs that may actually make their way into your home without totally disrupting your life and turning your home into a war zone. You want to eliminate bed bugs naturally and quickly, without giving them a chance to start a major bed bug infestation.
How To Prevent Bed Bugs The Modern Way: Tricks, Tools and Techniques
Keeping bed bugs out of your home requires a family wide effort. Everyone in the family needs to have a working knowledge about bed bugs. Parents of younger children will need to take care to prevent these impressionable youngsters from becoming overly fearful and this can be done by promoting an attitude of team spirit in the family.
The first step is to find out if bed bugs have become a serious issue in your community. Check the local papers, speak with neighbors, consult local pest control companies and search the Internet. If you find that bed bugs have already infested several homes or businesses in your local area, it is time to take steps to establish a bed bug barrier for your home.
In order to physically protect your home from bed bugs, you need to make the main entrance to your dwelling into a bed bug proof safe room. It is in this area that anything entering your home should be screened and inspected for bed bugs. This is your main line of defense against the bed bug invasion and it must be respected at all times. You can’t decide to abandon your bed bug prevention procedures one evening because you come home from work tired and are in a hurry to sit down and relax. It may be the one time you have a bed bug or two inside the pocket of your rain coat.
The safe area should be free of carpeting and furniture and ideally, there should be a closet that can be used to store all coats and outerwear. One of the cardinal rules of bed bug prevention is that you should never store overcoats and other similar items in the same closet as the rest of your clothing and you should never keep them in a bedroom closet.
Your safe zone should be brightly lit and protected by several bed bug prevention devices. There are many great, all natural bed bug traps on the market and it is highly recommended that your place a few in every room, before bed bugs ever get a chance to enter your home. This is what we mean by being pro-active instead of re-active. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
When you get a delivery to your home, you need to inspect all the packages carefully before allowing the contents into your home. All packing materials should be sealed in bed bug proof plastic bags and disposed of immediately. Companies like Bed Defense have pioneered a wide range of bed bug proof containers that can be used to bag up any suspected infested objects. Bed Defense, for example, even offers a full selection of bed bug proof bags that are designed to enclose and protect your mattresses against bed bugs. These products are affordable, safe, natural and they work.
Every member of your family must be trained to use the safe area entrance at all times. They must be taught how to inspect their belongings for bed bugs whenever they enter the home and what to do if they find one. Guests to your home, delivery people and outside workers must also be screened in your safe area before they enter your home proper.
This all may seem like an imposition but spending two or three thousand dollars to get rid of a bed bug infestation is more of an imposition. Having your entire life turned upside down by a bed bug infestation is more of an imposition. Being forced to throw out and replace all your bedding, draperies, carpeting, upholstered furniture and even clothing is more of an imposition. The last thing anyone wants in their lives is to have their home taken over by bed bugs and when you consider the possibilities, a bit of effort to prevent this from happening is not much of an imposition at all.
Conclusion: Be Pro-active And Protect Your Family From Bed Bugs
So there we have it. Bed bugs are back and they are back with a vengeance. They may not be a risk for emerging disease issues but they are certainly one of the biggest nuisances nature has to offer. They can enter your home, take over your life, ruin your sleep and cost you a fortune.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent bed bugs from establishing a foothold in your home. We have outlined some of these procedures for you here. It is imperative that you expand your knowledge and stay up to date on all the latest developments in bed bug prevention.
The key to bed bug prevention is to be pro-active and aggressively protect your home and family. Once bed bugs have established a colony, most families are simply overwhelmed and opt to turn their bed bug problem over to professionals. More often than not this means a large bill in the thousands of dollars, a stay in a hotel or motel for several weeks, the loss of many of your possessions and a costly, ongoing bed bug treatment program that can last for years.
You decide. Will you make an effort now to protect your home against bed bugs before they enter or will you pay the price when it is too late? The smart choice is to make every effort to keep these awful little insects out of your life. Many families will do this long before bed bugs ever have a chance to destroy their peace of mind and turn their lives into a living nightmare. Which choice will you make?