How Bed Bugs Are Transmitted
Bed Bugs FAQs
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.
Where are bed bugs found?
Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.
Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.
Do bed bugs spread disease?
Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.
What health risks do bed bugs pose?
A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.
What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?
One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:
- the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
- bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
- rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
- a sweet musty odor.
How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?
It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.
Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
How did I get bed bugs?
Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.
Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?
Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.
How are bed bugs treated and prevented?
Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.
This information is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the parasites described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.
How bed bugs are transmitted
A look at how do you get bed bugs, how they spread in your home, where do the bugs live and hide as well as how to check for the symptoms of bed bugs.
Most people heard this little ditty growing up:
"Good night, sleep tight;
don’t let the bed bugs bite!"
As kids, most of us found that amusing. Bed bugs are no laughing matter, however; they are repulsive blood-sucking parasites. Their scientific name is Cimex lectularius. Like mosquitoes and ticks, bed bugs are insects that feed on blood. They are small (an adult is about a quarter-inch long), flat and oval-shaped.
Where Do Bed Bugs Live And Hide?
Bed bugs are particularly well-adapted to live parasitically on humans. So where do bed bugs live and hide? No bigger than apple seeds, they typically hide in tiny cracks in headboards, on bed frames, deep in mattresses, inside electrical outlets, as well as in furnitures. Bedding and mattresses provide the ideal breeding ground for these pests; the warmth and moisture – plus the warm bodies of hapless sleepers to feed on nightly – make the bed a perfect hiding place and home for them.
How Are Bed Bugs Spread And How Did They Get In My Home?
Bed bugs spread when an individual comes into contact with them in an infested room or apartment. Contrary to common belief, bed bugs are not attracted to dirt or filth and do not discriminate when it comes to infesting homes of both the rich and poor.
They have been reported to be found from the dingiest budget motels to the swankiest five-star resort – and these tiny pests spread by hitching a ride back to the victim’s home through the luggage or clothing.
Bed bugs can also sometimes spread through secondhand clothing bought at yard sales, from used furniture picked up off the curb or from refurbished items sold in stores.
Once the bugs are in your home, they will crawl their way into bedding or furniture upholstery where they stay dormant during the day but come out at night to feed on their victims.
How To Check For Bed Bugs: Signs And Symptoms
Like mosquitoes, ticks and vampire bats, bed bugs have evolved the remarkable ability to generate a natural anesthetic; as a result, people rarely actually feel the bites when bed bugs are feeding. Once bitten, however, the result is fairly noticeable. Like a mosquito bite, the bitten spot tends produce a reddish welt that itches a great deal.
One of the specific markers for bed bug bites is the presence of welts in rows; three or four welts that often appear on the skin very close together. This is because the insect responds to small movements as people sleep. It pulls out of the skin and continues with another bite right next to the first. In addition, several of the critters may be feeding side-by-side.
Another way of detecting the presence of bed bugs is to inspect your mattress and bedding. Are there any unusual small, reddish-brown stains on the bed sheets? These could be indicative of bed bugs which fed and were subsequently crushed, spilling their blood meal on the mattress or mattress cover.
To sum up, if you suspect you have been bitten by a bed bug, look for the following:
- Rows of red, itchy welts on the skin that appear in a linear or clustered pattern
- Consistent new bite marks or bumps that appear on your body every day
- Reddish or brownish (dried blood) stains on mattresses or bedding
Tips To Prevent And Keep Bed Bugs Out Of Your Home And Bed
With rising reports of bed bugs infestation across various cities in the United States and around the world, the following are some simple prevention steps one can take to protect oneself:
- Do not pick up second-hand furniture off the street even if it look great. If you bought or rent a used furniture, have it inspected before bringing it back home.
When returning home from your travels, immediately have your luggage inspected in the bathroom tub and dump all the clothing to be washed in hot water (minimum 120В°F) for at least 20 minutes.
Reducing clutter around the house and regular vacuuming to limit areas where bugs can hide.
Invest in a bed bug proof mattress encasement to protect against an infestation inside the mattress as well as guard against bed bug bites.
You May Also Be Interested In:
Bed Bugs Travel Prevention Tips- How to avoid and prevent bed bug infestation while you travel.
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Do Bed Bugs Travel on People?
Believe it or not, bed bugs can travel via human hosts. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images )
They’re creepy, they’re crawly and they’re often quite difficult to spot. Bed bugs – blood-sucking, tiny parasites that dine on human and animal hosts – have become a concern worldwide due to their stealthy ways of getting around. Unfortunately, the little critters are more mobile than we would like to think.
Bed Bug Bites and Basics
Bed bugs – named for one of their favorite hangouts – tend to be found in linens, between cracks in mattresses and even in cracks and crevices in the floor. They leech off their human or animal hosts, with bed bug bites leaving scabby trails of rashes and marks across the skin. Because they are mostly active at night, it can take awhile for a person to notice that his home or hotel room has bed bugs.
How Bed Bugs Spread
Not everyone is aware that bed bugs can be spread via humans: if a person goes to a hotel room that has bed bugs, and the bed bugs hide out on the person or on the person’s luggage, the bed bugs can be spread to a new location. Because of this, no house is safe from a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs can spread from house to house, living in even the cleanest conditions; bed bugs are not a sign that a person’s home is dirty or unkempt.
Looking for Bed Bug Evidence
If you suspect that your home has been hit by bed bugs, look for the following telltale signs: small scabs or rashes in a line-like pattern on your skin, small fecal droppings or small blood smears on your sheets. The bed-bug bites will most likely be across your face, arms, or legs – the areas that are not covered by your pajamas as you sleep. Remember, though, that not all people will develop a rash if being bitten. You’ll also want to check for bugs in your mattress and in your luggage by closely inspecting them.
Eradicating Bed Bugs for Good
Though a variety of sprays and ointments are out there marketed as beg-bug killers, the truth is that many of these products do not work. You can attempt to rid yourself of these pests by vacuuming every inch of your apartment and by putting your linens in a dryer set on the highest setting. While it’s rare to find bed bugs on the clothes you’re wearing – they tend to fall off once you start moving – you should still wash any potentially contaminated clothing as well. A severe infestation will require the attention of a licensed exterminator; it can often take more than one visit from the exterminator to ensure that the bed bugs are really gone.
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How Fast Can Bed Bugs Spread?
Bed bugs have been in the news in recent years.After decades in which they seemed to have been almost eradicated, these pests are making a comeback. This is bad news for humans. According to the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky, bed bugs require a “blood meal” to survive, and they prefer the taste of human blood to that of other warm-blooded animals. These miniature vampires typically strike at night while people are sleeping, making a painless bite and sucking several drops of blood. Not known to carry infectious diseases, bed bugs nonetheless can cause allergic reactions to their saliva, and their bites leave itchy blotches similar to mosquito or flea bites. Hiding in inaccessible places, spreading out to all areas of a building and able to go months without feeding if necessary, they are difficult to find and control.
Once an infestation is underway, the property owner faces a tough eradication process that will require the services of a professional exterminator.This must be done sooner rather than later because they are hardy and they spread very quickly.
In the outdoors, bed bugs infest nests of birds, bats and other animals.These flightless insects, which measure 1/4 inch at maturity, enter a house, motel or apartment building by hiding in luggage, clothing or fabric. Once in place, the bugs set about reproducing, which they can do with impressive speed. Female bed bugs lay between one and five tiny eggs per day. Hatchlings are no bigger than a poppy seed.Once hatched, according to the School of Public Health at Harvard University, a baby bed bug or “nymph” requires only a single blood feast to molt and move into its next stage of development, which occurs five times before adulthood.
The nymphs reach maturity in a month or more, depending on conditions such as temperature (bed bugs like it warm) and the availability of blood. Assuming an average daily production of three viable eggs, simple math would indicate that at the end of one week, a single female would lay more than twenty eggs. Some weeks later, given a steady blood supply, these 20 bedbugs are adults. If half of them are females and each one lays twenty eggs in a week, this means a second generation of nymphs numbering approximately 200, all of which come from just one female bed bug. The production of three generations of bed bugs in a year is not uncommon.
Bed bugs can spread from one room or apartment to another through door frames, windows, or holes or cracks in the walls, ceilings and floors. They can contaminate wood furniture by laying eggs in cracks and recesses, and when that furniture is moved, these eggs (which can stay viable for years) may hatch in a new location. Weeks or months without blood do not harm these tough insects.As a result, if bed bugs are found, one should consult an exterminator immediately.
Bed bugs have been in the news in recent years. After decades in which they seemed to have been almost eradicated, these pests are making a comeback. Not known to carry infectious diseases, bed bugs nonetheless can cause allergic reactions to their saliva, and their bites leave itchy blotches similar to mosquito or flea bites. These flightless insects, which measure 1/4 inch at maturity, enter a house, motel or apartment building by hiding in luggage, clothing or fabric. Some weeks later, given a steady blood supply, these 20 bedbugs are adults.
What causes bed bugs?
When you have a bed bug infestation, after trying to find some remedies for it you just ask this question to yourself:What causes bed bugs?How did they come into your house? Was it my fault to bring them in?
Bed bugs at home
You can simply have a bed bug infestation in 3 places: Your home, your car or your workplace. These are places where you spend more time than others and easily feel the consequences of sharing your habitat with bed bugs.
So, let’s look at the reasons those bring bed bugs into our places.
What causes bed bugs to come in your house?
When there are bed bugs in your house, there are two options around: They were already there, or they just came into your house from anywhere else.
Bed bugs can live for a long time, even for more then a year in some cases, and because of this, they can keep living in an empty house for months or years: bedbugdetected.com/how-long-can-bed-bugs-live-without-feeding
This means that if there were bed bugs in that house before you move there, you already got them without doing anything but moving into that house.
What you must do is to check any house that you will buy or rent before you move there and make sure there are no bed bugs around.
Second way to see bed bugs in your house is to bring them inside by any way. Here are some reasons those bring bed bugs into your house:
- Buying secondhand stuff such as furniture, clothes or other used things
- Buying used books
- Having some bed bugs after a travel and carrying them with you without realizing
- To accommodate a guest who already has bed bugs with him or her
- Having bed bugs in your workplace and carrying them in to your house without realizing
Why do bed bugs come into your home?
You can be curious about why bed bugs prefer to come into your house and what causes them to choose yours.
But you must forget about thinking this! Bed bugs are not picky creatures which have specific criteria about hosting. They just need blood to fed on and every place with human or other food sources are ideal for them.
It’s not important for bed bugs that how clean is your house or how dirty are your clothes. They usually do not move from one place to another, but they are transmitted by human in most cases.
Where do bed bugs come from?
As I told you above, they can come by a friend of you or an old stuff you bought or you can bring bed bugs on you from your office to home.
There is no certain answer to this question. What you must do is to focus on how to get rid of bed bugs instead of where they came from!
What causes bed bugs to come back?
This is another useless question. It’s useless because, the answer is the same as how they came at first time.
If you believe that you got rid of bed bugs permanently and you just saw one after a few months from treatment, there are 2 options:
- You never got rid of them permanently and they just kept hiding around in your house
- You got bed bugs again by any way such as carrying them form your travel or buying used stuff or other reasons
What causes bed bugs to come into your house?There may be several reasons for this. First, you can have one from any public areas or buildings like those below:
- Federal buildings or police stations
- Libraries or theaters
- Travel options like buses, trains, taxi cabs or planes
Secondly you can have bed bugs from anyone in your social environment. You can carry one on you to your house after you visit e friend of you who already has bed bugs in his or her home. Or a friend of you can bring bed bugs together with him to you house when he or she visits you.
One common reason to cause bed bugs is to buy used stuff and bring them inside your house without checking them well for bed bugs.
Especially used furniture, cabinets, carpets, pictures, clothes and books may carry bed bugs with it and you must be careful before placing them into your house.
Remember that there is no certain reason that cause bed bugs. Having bed bugs at home is not about how dirty or messy your house is.
Bed bugs just come to your house with a friend or stuff or a family member and you can’t do anything about this.
Just be careful with used stuff before getting them into your house and check yourself and suitcases after a travel.
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