Bed bugs are pestering people across the U.S. While you may think bed bugs lurk in unfamiliar hotel beds, they might be unnerved to know bed bugs are infesting more places, such as movie theaters, schools, college campuses, and even commercial spaces, such as offices and waiting rooms. How much do you REALLY know about bed bugs and their habits?
I don’t travel very often, so there’s no way I’ll have to deal with bed bugs. True or False?
False. The adage, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite,” is giving many people the wrong impression, as bed bugs are increasingly expanding their horizons. The Center for Disease Control reports bed bugs can go long periods of time without feeding, making them perfect castaways on cruise ships or stowaways in movie theaters. Bed bugs are non-discriminatory in their lodgings, as long as they can find a nice, dark crevice to snuggle into during the day. They easily can be transported from one location to another, so always keep a lookout when settling into high-traffic areas such as hotels, movie theaters, dorm rooms, libraries, public transportation or apartments.
Bed bugs spread disease. True or False?
False. Today there is no evidence to support the idea that bed bugs transmit any diseases, although they have been found to carry 24 known pathogens. However, bites from bed bugs can be pretty irritating and painful. In susceptible individuals, their bites can cause allergic reactions and the bites often become red and inflamed several days after contact. Here are some helpful tips to help you avoid becoming a bed bug’s midnight snack:
Keep your home uncluttered. Bed bugs love to hide in small cracks and crevices. The more clutter around your home, the more opportunities those bed bugs will have to find a nice place to hide.
Regularly wash and heat dry your bedding, blankets and any clothing that touches the floor. Items on the floor make for great opportunities for bed bugs to make new homes. Make sure all bedding and clothing is washed regularly and heat dried to kill any bugs that may have crawled in. Bed bugs also can make their homes in laundry bins and baskets, so it is important to clean those regularly, as well.
Don’t panic. If you are confronted with a bed bug problem, there is no reason to panic. First, treat bites with an antiseptic cream, take an antihistamine and avoid scratching the area, as too much scratching could cause a secondary infection. Second, contact a pest professional to discuss your options. It is important to realize that infestations are treatable, so there is no need to immediately throw out all of your possessions.
For more tips on how to avoid bed bugs on the road and at home, also check out a previous post, “Don’t Bring Bed Bugs Back as Souvenirs,” by guest blogger and research entomologist, Robin Tabuchi.