Bed bugs are back and they are becoming a major problem in homes, apartments and places of business.
They have become so common place that recently a large movie theater in New York City had to shut down for a week to have the entire theater fumigated due to a massive infestation of bed bugs. Besides the obvious discomfort for the unlucky movie goers, chances are that some of them took home bed bugs in their clothing and they have now infested their homes with bed bugs.
Before you totally panic over bed bugs, be aware that they are primarily a nuisance and they do not pose any major health threats.
Despite the fact that they have been found to carry more than 28 human pathogens, bed bugs have not yet been linked to any known diseases. They do cause itching, rashes and blisters. They also have a powerful psychological effect on people and the fear of bed bugs can be quite disruptive to many of us. Just the thought of having these tiny, creepy crawlers in our bedding can get the most well adjusted person itching like mad in no time.
The first step to dealing with the possibility of a bed bug infestation is to know the symptoms of the presence of bed bugs
These tiny parasites are not as hard to detect as one might think. With a bit of useful information, one can make a fairly accurate initial diagnosis. It is important to remember that just because you have an itch or a bug bite, this does not necessarily indicate the symptoms of a bed bug infestation. If you have an itch or a bite, make note of the time and where you are. If you are at work or on the beach and have a sudden itch, chances are its not bed bugs. If you wake up every morning in bed, itching and showing the signs of bug bites, then there may be a good chance that you have bed bugs.
If you decide that the symptoms may indicate that bed bugs are present in your home, the next step is to do an inspection of your bedding and surrounding area. Here is a short list of the various steps you can take to inspect for signs of bed bugs:
1. Inspect under your bottom sheet and along the seams of the mattress for traces of blood, bed bugs, bed bug droppings or molt shells.
2. Move the mattress out of the way and inspect the box spring for any similar symptoms.
3. If you have a bed skirt on your box spring, be sure to inspect it. Don’t forget to look under the bed skirt for blood, bed bugs, bed bug droppings or molt shells.
4. If you have a headboard, especially one covered with fabric, inspect it for the same signs.
5. Inspect any nightstands directly adjacent to your bed for blood, bed bugs, bed bug droppings or molt shells. Don’t forget to look inside any drawers.
6. Inspect any artwork hanging directly above or next to your bed as well.
7. Inspect any draperies or upholstered furniture near your bed for the signs listed above.
It is important to remember a few tips while conducting your inspection. First of all, blood dries brown not red. You will be looking for small, dark brown spots of blood. Another important point to remember is that although bed bugs are tiny, they are not invisible. An adult bed bug that is fully fed on blood will be the size of an apple seed.
The best procedure is to conduct your inspection with a flashlight and to take your time. A flashlight is particularly useful since bed bugs shun the light. They prefer to hide in drawers, under the mattress, in seams, in cracks and in dark corners. If you want to, you can even take pictures of any findings to compare later with information you can locate in books or on the internet.
These are the basic steps to help you detect a bed bug infestation. It is probably a very good idea to make this inspection today, even if you have no symptoms of bed bugs or suspicions that they might be in your home. It only takes a few minutes and being pro-active is much better than waiting until its to late. If you don’t detect any signs of bed bugs, you can sleep easy. If unfortunately, you see the signs of their presence, you can call your local exterminator for a consultation and a professional diagnosis. An ounce of prevention goes a long way towards giving you peace of mind.