The Truth About the Bedbug Invasion
Forty years ago, America thought it was done with bedbugs. Aggressive control programs had nearly wiped them out. But bedbugs are hardy international travelers. They’ve returned to the US on ships and planes… and they’re back with a vengeance.
Twenty-nine states now report bedbug infestations, with major cities leading the way. New York City tops the list, with Philadelphia, Detroit, Cincinnati and Chicago right behind. But bedbugs aren’t just a big city problem. Dayton, OH, Louisville, KY and even smaller communities are reporting infestations.
Bedbugs disgust people more than almost any other pest. And myths about these tiny parasites abound. Today, you’ll discover the truth about bedbugs… how to lower your risk of an infestation… and what it takes to get rid of them.
First, the name “bedbug” isn’t quite accurate. Most people are bitten while in bed, but bedbugs will take refuge in chairs, couches, curtains… almost any place that offers a dark crevice to rest in.
Bedbugs also aren’t a sign of a dirty home. They’re not at all discouraged by cleanliness. But they love clutter, because cluttered homes provide plenty of hiding places. So getting rid of clutter is a great first step in making your home less bedbug-friendly.
Bedbugs don’t just invade homes and hotels, either. Recent infestations in New York City have included upscale retail stores.
Another mistaken belief about bedbugs is that they carry disease. Their bites cause itching, but – unlike many other blood-sucking insects – bedbugs don’t carry diseases.
Besides itching, you can identify a bedbug bite as a small red spot, usually surrounded by a ring. Bedbugs often bite the head or neck, but any exposed flesh will do. Bites most often occur along the line where your body meets the pillow or mattress.
Another sign of bedbugs is blood spotting on the sheets. (Bedbug bites tend to bleed slightly.) You may also see tiny dark dots on the bedding. That’s bedbug excrement, which is very dark and runs or smears slightly like ink from a marker.
Of course, most homes don’t have bedbugs… and you probably want to keep yours that way. Here are a few simple tips to keep the bedbugs out:
- If you travel, wash all your clothing immediately on returning home. Take it right from the suitcase into the washer. Use hot water and the “high” setting on your dryer. This should kill any bugs and their eggs.
- Don’t put your luggage on the floor in hotels. Use the luggage rack instead. This limits opportunities for hitchhiking bedbugs.
- Think twice about second-hand furniture – especially if it’s been placed on the curb for pick-up. Upholstered couches and chairs are especially inviting homes for bedbugs.
- Use mattress and pillow “enclosures.” These wraps cut off bedbugs from their favorite mattress hiding places – seams and buttons. And they make spotting the signs of bedbugs easier.
- Wash your linens in hot water frequently and dry them at high heat.
- Clear out any household clutter, so that bedbugs have fewer places to hide.
These simple steps can go a long way towards protecting your home. But what if bedbugs do show up?
If you do notice bedbugs, don’t root around to find the extent of the infestation. This will only encourage the bedbugs to find new hiding places. Most bedbug infestations require professional help.
Many professionals use steam – at 176° or hotter – to kill bedbugs and their eggs. They usually follow with an application of pesticides, since steam doesn’t prevent re-infestation.
They may bag infested items such as clothing. This contains the bugs until the items can be treated. Again, clothing, linens and curtains can be washed and dried at high temperature to kill the bedbugs.
And don’t be surprised if the professionals tell you that some furniture will have to be disassembled. Bedbugs can hide in crevasses as thin as a credit card.
In other words, getting rid of bedbugs is a bother and a lot of work. Preventing an infestation is easier – and a lot cheaper. If you follow the simple steps I’ve outlined for you here, chances are you won’t have to worry about these little pests.
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team