It seems that these little critters don’t spare anyone and anything as they make a blood-sucking comeback. Just recently, Singaporean airline Scoot and cinema chain Golden Village are in hot waters when a passenger and a moviegoer complained being bitten by bed bugs. Buena Vista Branch Library in Burbank, California also expressed their ongoing battle with the pests, putting another infestation into the spotlight in the US. While these establishments hire pest control experts, how can you detect an impending infiltration, get rid of them and keep your family bite-free?
These bugs thrive in our mattresses, seat cushions and carpets to name a few – especially if there’s a frequent turnover of people using these amenities, like the aforementioned incidents. There are several indications that signal an infestation in your home.
See the Signs
When inspecting the possible habitats, you might not find them that easily. Besides, these creatures are nocturnal. With that, you should know other clues that they have been here somewhere. According to the pest control experts, aside from explicit indications like alive and dead bugs crawling around certain places, you should also watch out for the following:
Skins cast off during the molting process. Like any other insects, bed bugs also molt or shed a layer of their outer covering to be replaced by a new one.
Small spots of reddish-black fecal material. After feeding, these bugs excrete, leaving dark spots on your sheets or any fabric where they may have previously bred. Rust-colored stains on your mattress are also signs, as they indicate bugs might’ve been crushed.
Tiny cream-colored eggs usually found in dark crevices. These can be easily ignored as the eggs are roughly 1mm in size. However, you may check the color should you find some milky white, grain-like objects. Female bugs can lay up to 500 eggs in a lifetime, so you’d most probably find these eggs clustered together within crevices.
Bites, of course. Though these can be poor indications of an infestation, it still pays to be diligent in checking and confirming what insect has left a mark on your skin. As for bed bug bites, they’re generally raised, red welts. There could be rashes across localized area on your body (e.g. at the back, in your arms or at your calf areas). The bites appear to be forming straight lines of multiple bites. A burning and itching sensation can be felt later on.
When they bite…
Their bites are mistaken for mosquito bites at times. Most people don’t react to their bites at all. However, there are people who are highly sensitive to the bites. When a reaction happens, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you wash the bites with soap and water to prevent skin infections and reduce itchiness. If the itch persists, apply a corticosteroid cream to the bites. You can get a weak form of this medicine without a prescription at your local drugstore, but stronger corticosteroids require a prescription.
Look at the Right Place
According to Pestworld, these pests like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found in baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery and in furniture crevices. They’re also known to survive in temporary or alternative habitats, such as backpacks and under the seats in cars, busses and trains. They could be almost anywhere as they also hide in unusual places like behind or inside electrical outlets and switch plates, behind or around picture frames, door and window moldings, and books. The list doesn’t end there, but checking places where there’s close contact with the skin can be a primary guide in identifying potentially breeding and feeding grounds.
Apply First Aid
When you’ve spotted a dwelling place of these intruders, take necessary actions immediately to exterminate them. Vacuum all those creepy crawlies, remove all infected linens and take out your mattress to be disinfected. Remove all the clutter from the infested area, eliminating other hiding places. To have a peace of mind, have your house inspected by experts to determine the severity.
On your end, it’s best to wash and disinfect manageable belongings. Infected things should be dried under the hottest temperature permitted. The US Environmental Protection Agency recommends 45°C or 113°F to kill off the bugs as they survive and remain active at 7°C (46°F). Another alternative would be to encase your mattress with zipped covers to keep the bugs from escaping and from transferring to another breeding place.
To prevent bed bugs from intruding your abode, closely inspect luggage when coming from distant trips. International trips also contribute to the spread worldwide. While these critters are almost undetectable, simple ways can be done to ensure that you’re not carrying any of them to your home. Be wary of second-hand furniture, so thoroughly check the item/s before bringing them in.
The Future is Green
Many contests that long-term exposure to pesticides being sprayed at home is a health hazard. Hence, they’d rather put matters into their own hands and disinfect using natural alternatives. Indeed they’re hazardous to the health, that’s why researchers at Penn State developed a biopesticide to effectively exterminate the bugs. The biopesticide doesn’t have high-level toxicity that harms the body. With this development, eradicating them won’t take a toll on our well-being. The product is set to hit the market later this year. So as we wait, we can only put these critters under control by traditional means.
Prevention may be better than cure as they always say. But by the looks of it, the bugs’ advancement doesn’t look anywhere slowing down. Cleanliness doesn’t guarantee a pest-free home, especially when dealing with bed bugs, as they thrive in a clean area as they do in dirty ones. The process of eliminating these blood-suckers can be strenuous but it pays to be knowledgeable to keep our family bite-free. If you’ve heard of an epidemic in your area, it’s best to keep a close watch on possible infestations and taking immediate action to exterminate them.