Take heed when you hear the age-old phrase: “Don’t let the bed bugs bite!”
Because bed bugs are real and they do bite. And while they are not known to transmit disease, the bites from bed bugs can be problematic and their presence can be destructive and a nuisance.
Bed bugs have plagued humans for thousands of years and are an emerging pest throughout the U.S. Increased international travel, increased multiple tenant housing with high tenant turnover and changes in pesticides and insecticides are some of the reasons we are seeing more of these annoying little bugs. To address the problem, the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force was formed in 2008. The Task Force’s website, www.centralohiobedbugs.org is one of most highly regarded sites for information on bed bugs.
staff if you need help identifying bed bugs or need recommendations on getting rid of them. The greatest obstacle to managing bed bugs is overcoming the myths that are associated with them.
For more information, including guidance sheets for professionals and choosing an exterminator, visit Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force.
Some Bed Bug Myths
- “Only “dirty people” get bed bugs.”
- “Bed bugs are only found in places like military barracks where people are crowded together”
- “Bed bugs are only a problem for low – income people.”
The Bottom Line
Bed bugs are blood feeders. Regardless of one’s hygiene, financial status or place of residence, bed bugs can infest your home.
Some Quick Bed Bug Facts
- Bed bugs are blood feeders. They can live for a year after taking a blood meal
- Bed bug bites normally occur at night, and the bite is generally painless.
- Most people develop itchy welts after they've been bitten.
- Scratching the welts may lead to the development of dermatitis and secondary infections.
- Bed bugs are not killed by cold. “Freezing them out” doesn't work.
Getting to Know Bed Bugs
- Adult bed bugs are visible to the naked eye
- They are brown and about ¼ – 3/8” long when full - grown. In the nymph stages, bed bugs are whitish and smaller, but they are still often visible.
- They don't fly, but they are adept crawlers, and they move FAST! –They scatter quickly if they’re disturbed.
- Nocturnal blood feeders
- Inject a sharp beak, in the sleeping host. Bites are painless
- Nymphs feed 3 minutes/ adults10-15 minutes.
- They then hide to digest blood
- Prefer, fabric, wood and paper to hide
Bed bugs love to hide in nooks and crannies.
Furniture joints, receptacles, baseboards, cracks in the wall, and suitcases are ideal hiding places
Bed Bug Hiding Places
- Mattresses, box springs,bed Frames
- Cracks & crevices
- Carpet tack strips
- Window frames
- Electric outlets and switch plates
- Wall Hangings
- Drapery pleats
- Peeling wallpaper
- Ceilings moldings
- Bed bug eggs are glued to the surface they've been laid on, so they're hard to dislodge.
Bed Bug Control
- Bed bugs are hard to kill.
- No “over the counter” pesticide is effective.
- “Bug bombs” designed to kill flying insects only scatter bed bugs.
- Treatment requires a licensed pest control operator
- Eradication of an infestation requires:
- Multiple treatments;
- The use of several different pesticides;
- Compliance by the occupants;
- Disposal of infested furniture (sometimes.)
People with bed bugs need to:
- Reduce clutter
- Encase their mattress and box springs
- Store their belongings in tightly closed plastic bags or containers
- Vacuum the affected area daily.
What Not To Do
- Do not apply insecticides to human skin, clothing, bed linens or bedding
- Grocery store insect sprays won’t eliminate a bed bug infestation.
- Boric acid products don’t work
- Don’t use “bug bombs.”
- Don’t use Sevin dust.
For more information, including guidance sheets for professionals and choosing an exterminator,