As you have probably heard, bed bugs have made a major comeback in the United States and Arizona is no exception. Please help our state prevent the spread of bed bugs. Take a moment and read through this article. It will answer most of your questions as well as offer you practical advice.
LET’S BE HONEST. Nobody wants to think or talk about bed bugs. Growing up, many of us thought it was simply a nursery rhyme. What’s all this media attention about bed bugs making a comeback? “Come on, it can’t happen to me!” Well, there’s been at least a 700% increase over the past couple of years, and predictions of stopping their spread is not encouraging. EVERYONE NEEDS EDUCATION about this old pest that is spreading at epidemic rates. A scourge of mankind since the caveman, bed bugs had been eradicated in most industrial nations for 50 years.. And now,
Bed bugs are NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF!
Bed bugs are NOT a sign of dirtiness. REPEAT! Bed bugs have absolutely nothing to do with sanitation. But clutter IS the bed bugs’ best friend. It allows this pest so many more places to hide and lay their eggs.
Also, ALL types of homes are susceptible to bed bugs. They are found in million dollar homes, luxury apartments, cruise ships, 5 star hotels, dormitories, etc. Bed bugs often enter a home by hitchhiking on clothing, backpacks or luggage.
If you suspect bed bugs, DON’T PANIC!
FIRST, talk with your landlord. It’s better to deal with the situation
BEFORE it gets out of hand, than keep quiet because you’re embarrassed. Your landlord needs to address this before the situation spreads to your neighbor’s home.
SECOND, prepare yourself mentally for the idea that bed bugs are not the easiest pest to eradicate. But, rest assured, your landlord wants to help you solve this problem as quickly as possible.
THIRD, work closely with your landlord & the professional exterminator. Experience shows that cooperation between the landlord, tenant, & professional exterminator will dramatically affect the likelihood of successful treatment in the shortest amount of time.
How Do I Protect Myself & Family From Bed Bugs?
Take steps to try to avoid picking up bed bugs when … you or your family members travel, even overnight. Bed bugs can hitch-hike to your home from just about anywhere (even from sitting on an infested sofa at a friend’s home who doesn’t even yet know he has them!), but generally found places that have a regular change of occupancy like hotels, cruise ships, dormitories, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, multi-family housing, etc. They are also commonly found in moving vans and trucks. Check your luggage closely if you think you’ve encountered bed bugs (traveling or otherwise), and dry all clothing immediately in a dryer set at its hottest temperature.
Be careful of used mattresses and discarded furniture. You shouldn’t buy used furniture, especially bedding items or upholstered items. But if you do, at the very least, do not bring them into your home until you, or a competent expert, has inspected them carefully for any signs of bed bugs which would include live or dead bed bugs, eggs, fecal spots, or molted skins.
We encourage you to consider covering your mattresses and box springs with a plastic cover which you can seal shut (certified bed bug encasement’s) to prevent bed bugs from getting into them (or to permanently trap any already there from getting out).
What are signs of infestation by bed bugs?
Look for the following:
A raised, red, welt-like bite that itches, usually appearing in lines or clusters. They generally appear from one to 24 hours after the bite and last 1-2 days. Don’t forget, other insects or arthropods or medical conditions can produce similar bite reactions, so you must confirm by looking for live bed bugs, eggs, molted skins, and dark brown or rusty spots (feces) on the bedding, mattress and box springs. When inspecting you should begin at the head of the bed and move outward to include all furniture particularly night stands, sofas, carpeting, drapes, picture frames, baseboards, electric outlets, and electronic equipment. Also, don’t forget to look for blood smears on the walls (squished bugs).
What do bed bugs look like?
Adults of the common bed bug are a reddish – brown color. They have an oval shape with flattened bodies (after feeding, the body becomes swollen). They hatch about the size of a pinhead and young nymphs look like walking poppy seeds, eventually growing to about ¼ inch or longer. You may first notice them when they are the size of an apple seed and may be mistaken for a cockroach or tick. They do not fly, but they can climb, and they run very fast. Their eggs are white and small (1mm).You’ll have to look hard to see them glued in seams and cracks.
Where are bed bugs found?
Bed bugs are found anywhere that is frequented by people. Bed bugs are more likely found in locations with a high rate of occupant turnover, such as hotels, cruise ships, dormitories, multi-family housing, nursing homes, movie theaters, etc.. We also find them in moving trucks and vans.
Where do bed bugs hide?
Bed bugs hide in mattresses and box springs, bed frames, night stands, dressers, upholstered furniture, cracks, crevices, behind switch plates, electrical outlets, behind baseboards, window and door casings, the edge of and under carpeting, seams in wallpaper, behind pictures and other wall hangings, in draperies and blinds.
Bed bugs prefer a semi-dark environment and rougher surfaces such as wood, paper, or fabric.
How do bed bugs spread?
The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) climbs easily up any fabric, wood or paper surface. Bed bugs often spread by “hitchhiking” on all types of household items, such as bedding, furniture, luggage, clothing, backpacks, purses, briefcases, animal cages, picture frames and electronic devices. Bed bugs can hide in any crack or crevice as small as the width of a credit card.
When do bed bugs feed?
They predominately feed at night between 2:00—5:00 A.M. (usually closer to 5:00 A.M.). However, they have also been known to feed during the daytime.
What do bed bug bites look like?
Bite reactions vary. Some people show no reaction, while others exhibit a raised itchy red welt at the site of the bite. Some reactions are immediate and sometimes they are delayed. Many times you will find two or more bites in a row. The bites are more likely to occur on an exposed area of the body such as arms, neck, face, shoulders, or back.
How do I treat the bed bug bites?
Always seek professional medical advice. There are anti-itching medications as well as antibiotic salves which may be helpful when applied to the bites.
What personal steps can be taken to avoid being bitten if bed bugs are found?
Continue to sleep in the bed, but turn your bed into a “safe island”. Pull the bed away from the wall at least 6”. Bed bugs do not fly, but will climb up walls, and drop on the bed They also travel along electrical cords etc. that are plugged in the wall socket. Clean the bed frame and encase the mattresses and box springs in a certified bed bug proof cover. Place bed legs in CLIMBUP TM Insect Interceptors. Wash blankets and sheets weekly in hot temperature, followed by 20 minutes or more in the dryer at high temperature. Check mattresses for bed bugs when changing the sheets, etc. Do not allow blankets, sheets, etc. to touch the floor. Do not place luggage, backpacks or other items on the floor or bed.
What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have bedbugs?
Getting rid of bedbugs often requires a multilateral approach involving professional exterminators, cleaning and prepping your apartment.
• Don’t throw out mattresses or furniture. You may have heard this advice, but this may be unnecessary, as bedbugs also live in cracks and crevices of the building structure. Doing this can end up costing you extra money just to replace furniture you didn’t have to.
• Inform your landlord of the problem. If you suspect bed bugs, let your landlord in on the situation. Even if you’re not sure yet (i.e. you haven’t yet seen an actual bed bug), it’s a good idea to talk to them and see if they’ve received reports from other tenants.
• Capture a bedbug. If you haven’t already, as soon as you can, confirm that you have bed bugs by capturing one and sealing it in a glass jar or other escape proof container. One way to do this is to place CLIMBUPTM Insect Interceptors under bed legs or place double-sided tape around the bed. A captured bedbug will confirm the need to engage professional help.
• Encase your mattress in plastic. .Since bed bugs are fond of living in the folds of mattresses , bed bug certified mattress encasements, much like those used by people who are allergic to dust mites, will help reduce the number of bugs…and bites.
• Launder all bedding, etc in hot water (at least 120F) and dry on the hottest setting for at least 20 minutes.
What types of treatment options are available if I do get bed bugs?