What are Bed Bugs?
Bed Bugs are tiny insects that can grow up to 5mm in length and unlike dust mites, can be seen with the naked eye.
They are fast moving, nocturnal insects that hide in cervices, mattresses and in box springs during the day and become active about 1 hour before dawn. They are drawn to exhaled carbon dioxide and body heat and feed on mammal blood.
How do Bed Bugs Feed?
Bed Bugs pierce the skin with two hollow tubes. One tube injects saliva which contains an anesthetic ensuring numbness, while the other contains an anticoagulant ensuring uninterrupted blood flow during feeding.
Bed Bugs feed every 5-10 days with each feeding lasting approximately 3-5 minutes, after which they go back into hiding. Bed Bugs can go without food for nearly 1 year.
Bed Bugs and Diseases
Normally, a bed bug does not transmit any disease. Some people may suffer slight irritation or itching from a bite, in other cases persons may suffer from capillary dilation or the formation of pus filled blisters.
4 Signs of Bed Bug Infestation
Is your mattress infested with Bed Bugs?
Look out for:
- A sweet odour emanating from your mattress, caused by oil discharged from bed bugs.
- Blood stains on your mattress.
- Bite marks and sores on your body.
- Discarded skins of shedding bed bugs.
Treatment of Bed Bug Bites
How to treat bed bug bites
- Apply a topical ointment or cream on bites to sooth skin, reduce itching and protect from further infection
- Taking antihistamines might prove useful if you have any allergic reactions to the bug bite.
How to prevent Bed Bugs
- Wash bed linens and pillows in hot soapy water with bleach every 10 days.
- Vacuum or steam clean bed frames, top and undersides.
- Dispose of old mattresses.
- Buy a mattress which is bed bug deterrent.
- Inspect antiques and second-hand furniture thoroughly before bringing them into your home.
- After travel, make sure to inspect your luggage and clothing for any insects or bed bug.
Bed Bugs became a rarity during the latter part of the 20th century. Since 2000, there has been a reported400% increase in bed bugs, predominantly in North America, South America and Australia.
Due to the growing number of apartment buildings and hotels, it is becoming increasingly difficult to control the number of bed bugs found in non-residential beds and linens.
In an interesting bed bugs related lawsuit, a woman in Chicago sued a hotel for $20 million after waking up with over 500 bug bites.