Do You Have a Bedbug Problem?

How do you know if you have bedbugs? If you or someone in your household is getting bit during the night, examine the bites.  Bedbug bites are usually red, with a dark spot in the middle.  Most people find that the bites itch and they are often found in a cluster or in a line of bites. Bites are usually on the upper part of the body, the face, neck, hands, and arms. BUT, not everyone responds the same way. Some people get raised bites, but they don’t itch.  If you get strange bite-like bumps, start to investigate.  Bedbugs are NOT invisible.  A bit of detective work in the bedroom will tell you if you have a problem.

Should I worry? Bedbugs do not carry disease, and for this reason they are not considered a dangerous pest.  That being said, though, most people agree that they don’t like bugs biting them, especially in their beds while they are asleep.  The worst part of bedbugs is mostly psychological; we don’t like sleeping with bugs. The actual bite is virtually painless, but repeated bites can sensitize you to more severe itching and swelling reactions. The itching is a result of the saliva the bug injects during the bite. Some people are more sensitive to this saliva than others.  The CDC has indicated that using hydrocortisone cream or oral antihistamines can be helpful in diminishing the symptoms of the bites.

Some people recommend wearing socks and pajamas to bed, which can help to prevent bites on the lower part of your body, but most insects are attracted to the exhalation of carbon dioxide, attracting them toward the upper part of your body.  This explains why most bites are on the head, face, neck, shoulders, and arms.

How can you avoid being bit by bedbugs?  The first thing you can do is to look at your sleeping area for signs of bedbugs. They are large enough to spot, being the same size and color of an apple seed.  You will want to strip your bed and look carefully in all crevices and seams of the mattress and the box springs.  Take the bed off the frame and inspect the frame too.  Expand your search to the rest of the room, looking everywhere. If you have a lot of clutter, you will want to do a little spring cleaning and make your sleeping area as clean and clutter free as possible.

If you are getting bit by bedbugs, or you suspect they are bedbug bites, seek a medical evaluation to rule out other causes for the bite marks.  Then, it is time to turn to looking at getting those pesky insects out of your house or apartment.  If you are a business and you know you have an infestation, it makes excellent business sense to handle the problem promptly and effectively.  You will need to engage the services of a professional exterminator who is well trained in how to use the various chemicals needed for this difficult problem.

Bedbugs are a problem, but not a dangerous one.  Just a really, REALLY pesky one. There are ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones from bedbug bites, but be careful about taking matters into your own hands. Pesticides need to be handled by trained professionals.

Added to Illness Prevention, Illness Management on Mon 09/20/2010