Health Tips - Bedbugs


The good news is that bedbugs are not known to transmit any disease. They come out at night to bite humans, as they feed on their blood. People do not feel the bites for at least one hour, as the bedbug has anesthetic saliva. The bad news is that they can cause skin irritation in the form of itchy welts and the bugs are difficult to get rid of. The National Pest Management Association has reported a 70% increase in bedbugs since 2001. Experts suspect this is due to travel during which bedbugs hitch rides on the luggage of travelers and increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides.

To see if this situation is affecting the area you live in or are about to travel to, search for reported incidences

Locating Bedbugs

Bedbug eggs resemble a flake of dust. Newly hatched bedbugs are almost colorless and are closer in size to ticks. Adult bedbugs have flattened, oval-shaped, reddish-brown bodies up to1/4 inch long. Look for tiny rust-colored or black spots, which can be bedbug blood and feces. On surfaces such as walls, this can be mistaken for mold. Despite the name “bed”bug, they can hide in any furniture, baseboard, behind wallpaper, or any fabric surface near humans. Their highest concentration is likely to be within 8 feet of where people sleep.

When you inspect your mattress, also check the top and bottom of the bed’s foundation or box spring, standing it up on one end, checking any wood surfaces underneath. If you find a bedbug, smash it between your fingers with a tissue or vacuum them up. Try not to smear the bed bug on any fabric as there is a sickeningly sweet odor to it.

While bedbug bites produce no reaction in about 30% of humans, the other 70% can get itchy welts, mistaken for mosquito bites. Bedbug bite marks occur in clusters or rows.

Bedbug Prevention

The best way to prevent bedbugs is to not allow them into your home. The least toxic enemy to the bedbug is extreme heat, such as temperatures over 113 degrees.

  1. Upon entering a room you plan on sleeping in, inspect for signs of bedbugs. Be more thorough if you traveled to a city where they are common, such as NYC.
  2. Bedbugs have a hard time climbing metal, enamel, and plastic. In hotels, put your luggage and totes on metal-legged suitcase stands or on enamel surfaces, such as the bathtub. Keep your luggage and purses off of hotel beds and floors.
  3. As soon as you get home from travel, put all your clothes into a hot water wash and dryer. Give your luggage and totes an inspection for bedbugs, when you arrive home. If you arrive home from an area where bedbugs are common, vacuum your suitcase, and keep it in a big plastic bag. Don’t put these on your bed.
  4. When you bring home any newly-acquired clothing, sheets, or towels, put them in your clothes dryer for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Do not bring home second-hand furniture, such as beds or couches, without a thorough inspection and vacuuming.
  6. Use mattress and box spring encasements that entirely cover each mattress and box spring to keep bugs from spreading. The Protect-A-Bed AllerZip encasement has been proven to be escape proof. This would be especially helpful for students to use on their new dorm bed surfaces each year.
  7. On non-carpeted, hard floors, there are plastic coasters that can be used under the legs of your bed called ClimbUp Insect Interceptor. Bedbugs get caught in the coaster.

Increased knowledge can increase peaceful sleep!

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Dr. Pepi


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