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Bed bugs can ingest seven times their own weight in blood, which would be the equivalent of an average-sized male's drinking 120 gallons of liquid.
Bed Bugs Bite
Bed bugs.The word alone strikes fear in the heart of frequent travelers. And for good reason: these little bloodsuckers cause painful skin conditions and can be found in hotel rooms throughout the world. They are also commonly found in apartments, condominiums, and single-family homes.
About Bed Bugs
Adult bed bugs are brown or reddish brown and are very small: approximately 0.20 inches long and 0.10 inches wide. They can survive in a range of temperature and conditions, but their name comes from their preference for infesting sleeping areas in warm rooms. They do not have nests like many insects, but do live in groups.
The feed on blood, primarily human, but there are various species of bed bugs that feed on other animals as well. They can carry a wide range of pathogens, but currently there is no evidence they pass these pathogens along to humans.
But their bites are very unpleasant. Bed bugs are most active at night and in many cases people do not even realize the have been bitten until the bites swell up into itchy welts. Some people can also have allergic reactions to the bite, which cause additional unpleasant complications.
Bed bugs get into homes and hotel rooms — typically undetected — on luggage, backpacks, briefcases, mattresses and other furniture. This is why hotels are particularly susceptible to bed bug infestations. Bed bug infestations are not a reflection of the cleanliness of a home or room, as they can be found in high-end hotels as frequently as less-desirable lodgings.
How To Detect an Infestation
If you find yourself waking up with itchy welts, you might have a bed bug infestation. Other signs of the insects include:
- Brown or rusty spots from bed bug excrement on sheets and mattress
- Egg shells or shed skins in crevices and small spaces where the bugs live
- Blood spots on sheets and mattress
- A musty odor
Eliminating Bed Bugs
For starters, you should carefully clean all areas of the bed and bedroom.
- Wash linens, curtains, and any other fabrics in hot water.
- Vacuum the room and furniture thoroughly, including the mattress, and dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag out of doors as soon as you are finished.
- Remove any unnecessary objects from the room, especially near the bed.
- If possible, purchase a new mattress and box springs. A less expensive option would be to purchase zippered covers for both your mattress and box springs.
- Eliminate crevices — cracks in walls, spaces around baseboards — where the bugs live.
In most cases, getting rid of bed bugs requires chemical treatment. Because of the sensitivity of the area needing treatment, an experienced pest control professional is the safest option for eliminating bed bugs.