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What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

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The horrible bed bug has made a comeback. Common in other parts of the world, the bed bug was thought to be a memory in many developed countries. In the United States, perhaps two generations have passed since bed bugs were a problem. This leaves many folks asking the question what do bed bugs look like?

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Bed bugs have reappeared in the great numbers in the most unlikely of places. Businesses that provide some level of public accommodation have had to cope with infestations of bed bugs not seen before. From luxury hotels to private homes, the bed bug is back with a vengeance. If there is any good news to be found in this bedbug resurgence is this bed bugs are not known to carry infectious diseases. Still, this fact is cold comfort to anyone who has to cope with a bedbug infestation.

Bed Bug Bite

The discovery of bites or other evidence of bed bugs can be just the tip of the iceberg. Seeing one bedbug is usually indicates the presence of hundreds and the job of evicting these pests can take time and money. Bedding items like mattresses and box springs are not easily cleaned and can be expensive to replace.

The only sure fire way to deal with an infestation is to dispose of the mattress, foundation and all the bedding. By following the recommendations of public health professionals, it is possible to save bedding, articles of clothing and upholstered furniture. Start by thoroughly washing the affected bedding and machine drying at a high temperature. Do not place the clean bedding back in the affected room until other eradication efforts have been completed.

Normally, it is advisable to dispose of the mattress and foundation though some industry advocates claim that the affected items can be steam cleaned. Still other experts claim that placing the mattress and foundation in a freezer will kill the bed bugs. If known of these services are readily available then permanently disposing of the mattress and box spring is the only option. The problem is not confined to killing adult bed bugs but extends to the hundreds or thousands of eggs and hatchling that are not readily seen.

The control and eradication of bedbugs once involved the use of powerful insecticides like DDT. DDT use was banned in the United States and, like many species of insects bed bugs have become resistant to other chemicals. When insecticides are not available, the only way to deal with an infestation was to dispose of mattresses, bedding, carpet and even upholstered furniture. Even today, public health officials advocate that bedding be securely bagged up and taken directly to a landfill. The rule of thumb is when in doubt, throw it out.

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Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are members of the cimicidae family of insects. Like fleas, mosquitoes, ticks and lice, bed bugs feed on the blood of warm blooded animals including humans. Unlike these other insect pests, bed bugs are not known to carry or transfer any type of infectious diseases though it is possible that in certain parts of the world, disease transmission does occur. The bites from these little pests are not considered dangerous but can be the source of skin irritation, infection or adverse immune reactions. Bed bug bites often cause itching, similar to the bite of a mosquito. It has been observed that some people will have no perceptible reaction to a bed bug bite.

Relatively small and nocturnal in nature, bedbugs will appear to be brown or reddish brown in color. Growing to about one quarter inch in length, adult bed bugs are oval in shape and their bodies are segmented. Despite the absence of wings and being slow in movement, bed bugs still management to migrate like few other insects. The latest resurgence in bed bug infestations has spawned several theories. Understanding how and why bed bugs migrate is critical to reducing or preventing the number infestations.

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Night Bug Bites In Bed

When it comes to migration, one such migration theory places the blame on the rise in international travel. Small and averse to light, bed bugs are thought to stow away in luggage and freight moving internationally. International traveler number 1 stays at a foreign hotel. Without knowing about or looking for bed bugs, traveler 1 returns home and unpacks the luggage. Any bed bugs that have stowed away in the luggage of traveler one will begin to take up residence. Traveling from one hotel to another can also spread bed bugs. The transfer can occur geometrically with one infested room exposing dozens of people who then expose dozens more and so on.

In the United States, bed bugs were thought to have been eradicated decades ago. In the early part of the Twentieth Century, there was an unprecedented migration of people from Europe to America. Among the immigrants were bed bugs that spread prolifically among immigrant neighborhoods. This led to the mistaken belief that immigrants were unhygienic. Now it is true that household living conditions can make eradicating bed bugs more difficult. But a dirty house or dirty clothing does not cause a bed bug infestation.

What draws bed bugs to a bed is not dirt but body heat and carbon dioxide. Whenever humans exhale a breath, carbon dioxide is expelled. Being nocturnal feeders, bed bugs are naturally drawn to sleeping humans. Once established in bedding and mattresses, and with a steady food source, bed bugs are thought to live as long eighteen months. The flat body shape of the bed bug makes it easy for them to congregate in the seams and puckers of a mattress.

Like fleas, bedbugs leave a fairly distinguishable bite pattern. The bites will typically show up in a linear pattern. Other indications of bed bug infestation can include finding small spots of blood on sheets and other articles of bedding. Indications that bed bugs have moved should bring with it the assumption that the bedbugs have been reproducing. Depending on the level of infestation, a deposit of bedbug eggs can be very difficult to find.

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