Virtually eradicated during the last half of the 20th century, the problem of bedbugs is once again on the rise. Bedbugs are small insects that when full grown are about the size and color of an apple seed. They feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans. Their flat body makes it difficult to see them when they hide.
As recently as 3 years ago we didn’t hear much about bedbugs except in a rhyme often said to children as they prepared for bed, “Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” In the past couple of years there have been rising complaints virtually coast to coast. Bedbugs do not distinguish between rich or poor, clean or dirty. They are the ultimate hitchhiker, hiding in your clothing, luggage, purse, or other personal belongings.
In New York City bedbugs were found in an AMC theater in Times Square causing officials to close the theater. The chairs that were infested have been replaced, and the entire theater exterminated. Contrary to their name, bedbugs have been found in offices, restaurants, movie theaters…you can bet one from school, on the bus, at your doctor’s office…bedbugs are everywhere.
Why are they such a pest? Bedbugs are difficult to deal with because they prefer to feed on human blood, but they don’t need to feed very often.
Some exterminators have said that bedbugs can go as long as a year without feeding and still live. They are nocturnal, preferring to eat just before dawn, and they hide in cracks as narrow as a credit card.
I’ve had a number of patients recently complain of bug bites on their upper body, their arms, necks, and faces. A quick evaluation is enough to recommend to them that they need to take some precautionary measures. While bedbug bites aren’t dangerous because they are not known to spread disease, they are a true irritation.
Who wants to have guests come and spend the night when you know you have bugs biting in the night? Certainly not me, and I’m sure you don’t either!
Take a look in the room where the bites are occurring. Bedbugs are not invisible…they are visible in the seams of a mattress or box spring, or on the frame of the bed itself. Bedbugs will also live in pet beds, cushions on your couch, etc.
Think back, have you recently had a college student come home with some “new” furniture? It may have had a few hitchhikers on board. Most bedbug infestations occur when something that was infested was brought into the home. It may even be that hoard of furniture your brother-in-law asked you to store in your basement. Most bedbug infestations occur when something that was infested was brought into the home.
If you suspect a bedbug infestation you’ll need to take strategic steps to eradicate the problem. Trust me, they won’t go away on their own!