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Bedbugs

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.

Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.

Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.

Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.

Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.

Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.

When Bedbugs Bite

Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.

Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.

People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.

Continued

Signs of Infestation

If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:

  • Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
  • Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
  • Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
  • An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands

If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.

Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.

If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.

Bedbug Treatments

Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:

  • Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
  • Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
  • Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
  • Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
  • Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
  • Get rid of clutter around the bed.

If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.

Continued

Bedbug Extermination

While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.

Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.

Sources

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."

Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."

The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."

University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

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Bed bugs were once a common public health pest worldwide, but declined in incidence through the mid 20th century. However, bed bugs have undergone a dramatic, worldwide resurgence since they have now evolved resistance to common insecticides. [1] X Research source Bed bugs are one of the great travelers of the world and are readily transported via luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture. To get rid of bed bugs, act at the first signs of infestation and use an integrated pest management approach involving prevention, sanitation, and chemical treatment. Bed bugs can be persistent, so you’ll need to demonstrate a greater level of persistence if you want to eliminate them.

Bedbugs

What should you know about bedbugs?

Bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, oval insects that feed by sucking blood from humans or other warm-blooded animals. The effect of bedbugs on human health and reports of bedbug infestations of certain hotels has received media attention in recent years.

How big are bedbugs?

Bedbugs do not fly. Adult bedbugs are 5-7 mm in length.

Where do bedbugs live?

Bedbugs are pests that can live anywhere in the home. They can live in cracks in furniture or in any type of textile, including upholstered furniture. Bedbug infestations are most common in beds, including the mattress, box springs, and bed frames. Bedbugs are most active at night. These pests may bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. Common locations for bedbug bites are the face, neck, hands, and arms.

Are bedbug bites painful?

A bedbug bite is painless and is generally not noticed. The bites may be mistaken for a rash of another cause. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and itching.

How do you know if you have bedbugs?

Fecal stains or rust-colored dark spots, egg cases, and shed skins (exuviae) of bedbugs in crevices and cracks on or near beds are suggestive of infestations, but only observing the bugs themselves can confirm an active infestation. A professional pest-control company may be required to help identify and remove bedbugs from the home.

What home remedies and medications treat and get rid of bedbugs?

Home remedies for bedbug bites include measures to control itching, such as oatmeal baths or cool compresses. Typically, no treatment is required for bedbug bites. If itching is severe, steroid creams or oral antihistamines may be used for symptom relief.

Picture of Bedbug Bites

The first sign of bedbugs may be red, itchy bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites, unlike some other insects that leave bites here and there.

Bedbugs do not seem to spread disease to people. But itching from the bites can be so bad that some people will scratch enough to cause breaks in the skin that get infected easily.

What are bedbugs? What do bedbugs look like?

Bedbugs are small oval-shaped non-flying insects that belong to the insect familyCimicidae, which includes three species that bite people. Adult bedbugs reach 5 mm-7 mm in length, while nymphs (juveniles) are as small as 1.5 mm. Bedbugs have flat bodies and may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Bedbugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals.Cimex lectulariusis the scientific name for bedbugs.

Adult bedbugs are reddish brown in color, appearing engorged and more reddish after feeding on a blood meal. Nymphs are light-colored and appear bright red after feeding. The wings of bedbugs are vestigial, so they cannot fly. However, they are able to crawl rapidly.

Temperatures between 70 F-80 F are most favorable for bedbugs, allowing them to develop into adults most rapidly and produce up to three generations per year.

Where are bedbugs found?

Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses or mattress covers, box springs, and bed frames. They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

Since bedbugs can live for months or even longer under favorable conditions without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.

SLIDESHOW

Are bedbugs found in hotels?

Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. Bedbugs tend to be most common in areas where people;

  • sleep,
  • they usually concentrate in beds, including;
  • mattresses or mattress covers,
  • box springs and bed frames,
  • matttress seams and cracks,
  • curtains,
  • edges of carpet,
  • corners inside dressers and other furniture,
  • cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed),
  • recently used suitcases, bags, and other things that you have taken outside of your home, and
  • inside the spaces of wicker furniture.
  • They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items

    Many news reports in recent years have focused on the discovery of bedbugs and their health effects (even in upscale five-star hotels), and a number of lawsuits have been filed by guests of fashionable hotels who awoke to find hundreds of bedbug bites covering their skin. Searching on travel-review web sites regularly reveals information and even photos confirming the presence of bedbugs in numerous hotels.

    Since bedbugs can arrive on the clothing or in the suitcases of guests from infested homes or other hotels harboring the pests, hotels can be an easy target for bedbug infestations.

    In addition to hotels, bedbug infestations have been found in;

    edbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

    Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses or mattress covers, box springs, and bed frames. They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

    Since bedbugs can live for months or even longer under favorable conditions without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.

    How do bedbugs spread?

    Bedbugs live in any articles of furniture, clothing, or bedding, so they or their eggs may be present in used furniture or clothing. They spread by crawling and may contaminate multiple rooms in a home or even multiple dwellings in apartment buildings. They may also hide in boxes, suitcases, or other items that are moved from residence to residence or from a hotel to home. Bedbugs can live on clothing from home infestations and may be spread by a person unknowingly wearing infested clothing.

    Bed bug bites: What you need to know

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    Most people who are bitten by bed bugs experience symptoms that include irritation, sores, or itchiness. But how should bed bug bites be treated and can they be prevented?

    There are several ways of reducing the chances of getting bites, while the treatment options include good hygiene and antihistamines.

    This article explores bed bug bite treatment and prevention methods in detail.

    Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood.

    While they are a public health concern, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease through their bites.

    Bed bugs use a small tube-like structure called a proboscis to pierce the skin and drink a person’s blood. The pests are most active when humans are asleep, during the night and early morning.

    An estimated one in five Americans have personally dealt with a bed bug infestation or knows someone who has encountered the pests.

    Bed bugs can bite anywhere on the body where there is skin. Typically, bites tend to occur on areas exposed during sleeping, such as:

    Many people do not feel the bite itself or develop clear symptoms other than the dots where the bug bit and some minor, surrounding inflammation and irritation. Others are considered hypersensitive to bites and develop more severe symptoms.

    In most cases symptoms occur more or less immediately after the bite, but they can develop or progress over the following days as well. Without further irritation, symptoms typically resolve after a week or so.

    Almost all bed bug bites will produce some degree of discomfort, typically itchiness and inflammation. Other signs and symptoms of bed bug bites include:

    • a burning painful sensation
    • a raised itchy bump with a clear center
    • a red itchy bump with a dark center and lighter swollen surrounding area
    • small red bumps or welts in a zigzag pattern or a line
    • small red bumps surrounded by blisters or hives
    • papular eruptions or areas of skin with raised or flat patches that may be inflamed
    • small spots of blood from bites often dried or stained onto sheets or bed clothing
    • reddish or reddish-brown dried stains on fabrics due to bed bug droppings
    • white or clear skins, shed by the nymphs as they mature

    Individual characteristics of the bug’s bite and the person who is bitten also influence the resulting sore.

    While fairly rare, some people have or develop severe reactions and symptoms from bed bug bites. Serious symptoms that require medical attention include:

    • difficulty breathing
    • blisters
    • fever
    • feeling nauseous or flu-like
    • swollen tongue
    • irregular heartbeat

    Living with bed bugs can cause additional health complications:

    • Increased likelihood of infection: Due to the skin’s surface being compromised.
    • Sleep deprivation: The idea of being fed on can be extremely stressful. Given that the bugs only feed at night, some people will avoid sleep or will only get fitful or restless sleep.
    • Decreased wellbeing: A continual lack of sleep has been linked to feelings of depression, anxiety, general fatigue, and lowered immune function. The misconceptions surrounding bed bugs, especially the mistaken association with lack of cleanliness, can add to feelings of depression and low self-esteem.

    There are relatively few treatments options when it comes to uncomplicated bed bug bites.

    The first recommended line of treatment involves cleaning the wound, ideally with soap and water.

    For itchy bites, the following may relieve minor symptoms:

    • over-the-counter hydrocortisone, which can be purchased online.
    • anti-itch creams
    • antihistamines

    Most wounds heal on their own within a week, sometimes two.

    If severe swelling, inflammation, or itchiness occurs or persists, a person should seek medical attention.

    A dramatic immune response may be a sign of an allergic reaction. If this is the case, one of the following may need to be administered:

    • an injectable corticosteroid
    • antihistamine
    • epinephrine medication

    If infection occurs, antibiotics may be prescribed.

    Severe itchiness may result in further complications, such as infection or scarring. If severe itching is experienced, people may be prescribed corticosteroid creams and antihistamine pills or liquid.

    One way to help prevent exposure and potential infestations by bed bugs is to be able to recognize bed bugs and distinguish them from other pests.

    In a 2017 study, some 35 percent of polled American business travellers and 28 percent of leisure travellers were unable to tell a bed bug apart from other household pests.

    Common characteristics of nymphs (young bed bugs) include:

    • being less than than 5 mm in length
    • whitish-yellow and or clear-colored
    • invisible without a microscope or magnifying glass

    The nymphs are easier to see if they have just feed when the blood fills their abdomen, giving it a reddish brown color.

    Adult bed bugs are typically far easier to spot than nymphs. Identifiable characteristics of most adult bed bugs include:

    • an oval-shaped body
    • apple seed in size
    • a body that is fairly flat unless recently fed and inflated
    • reddish-brown to light-brown or tan color of shell, depending on how recently it fed
    • a length of 5-7 millimeters (mm)
    • three segments, an antenna with four parts, short yellow hairs, and unusable wings
    • a musty or stale-sweet scent released by glands on the underbelly

    Controlling bed bugs needs the identification and complete removal or destruction of the pest’s eggs.

    On average, one female can produce at least 345 eggs over her lifetime. Egg-laying females often increase the volume and frequency of feeding to support their brood.

    Common characteristics and signs of bed bug eggs include:

    • they are often laid in the same places where the female choses to rest
    • they resemble tiny barrel-shaped, pearl-colored specks, no bigger than the head of a pin
    • they develop a noticeable eye spot after a few days

    The key to preventing bed bug bites is to stop the insects entering, feeding, and breeding in human environments.

    In the daytime, bed bugs often seek refuge in the cracks and crevices of furniture, flooring, walls, and mattresses.

    The seams and folds of upholstered furniture can also offer an ideal hiding place. Bed bugs have been known to persist in vacuum canisters or units.

    The insects tend to pick hiding spots near human sleeping quarters, including bedrooms. Bed bugs found in other rooms are usually a sign of a severe infestation.

    Areas where bed bug infestations commonly occur include:

    • apartment or condominium buildings
    • large office spaces
    • hotels
    • vacation rentals
    • cruise ships
    • daycares
    • nursing homes
    • hospitals
    • college dormitories or housing units
    • public transportation, including airplanes
    • shopping malls
    • furniture or second hand stores
    • urban areas
    • rented homes

    Items commonly responsible for spreading bed bugs include:

    • used or secondhand furniture
    • new furniture or textiles exposed to bed bugs during transit
    • items of luggage
    • chairs or loungers where people fall asleep
    • bedding or bed clothes
    • moving or storage boxes
    • shipped items, especially if held at several locations or warehouses

    Bed bugs do not have a preference between sanitary, messy, or unsanitary conditions.

    They can, however, be found at higher rates in places, such as hotels, if infestations are not properly cleared.

    Everything you need to know about bedbugs

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    Bedbugs are small, wingless insects that feed exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals. Humans are the preferred hosts for the two main species.

    There are two species of bedbugs that are known to feed on human blood. They are known scientifically asCimex lectulariusandCimex hemipterus. They have been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptians from 3,500 years ago.

    Over millions of years, bedbugs have evolved as nest parasites, inhabiting the nests of birds and the roosts of bats. Some of them have learned to adapt to the human environment.

    Newborn bedbugs, called hatchlings or nymphs, are tiny but visible and about the size of a poppy seed. Adults grow to about 0.25 inches long with an oval and flattened shape when they are not feeding. After feeding, they can double in size. Nymphs, eggs, and adults are visible to the naked eye.

    They are called bedbugs because of their preferred habitat in human homes: Sofas, bed mattresses, clothing, and other soft furnishings. They also prefer the dark.

    Bedbugs are seen as a growing problem within all types of dwellings, including private homes, dormitories, cruise ships, army barracks, and shelters.

    When seen close up, their color may range from a white, light tan to a deep brown or burnt orange color. When they have fed, a dark red or black blob may be observed within their body. They seek shelter in dark cracks and crevices when disturbed.

    Fast facts on bedbugs

    • Bedbugs are small wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals.
    • Most bedbugs feed on their hosts while they are asleep.
    • The peak time for feeding is between midnight and 5 am.
    • Bites can be seen quickly but may take up to 14 days to become visible.
    • Bed bugs need to feed regularly to reproduce, lay eggs and survive.

    Share on Pinterest A bedbug may cause a coriander-like smell.

    The most obvious sign of bedbugs in the home is that people complain of bites that occurred while they were asleep. If this happens, examine the bedrooms for bedbugs and signs of bedbug activity.

    Look carefully in bed linen and the seams and tufts of mattresses and box springs for bugs or eggs. The eggs will look like tiny, pale poppy seeds.

    Signs of bedbug activity may occur beneath loose areas of wallpaper near beds, in the corner of desks and dressers, in the laundry, and in drawers.

    Keep an eye out for dark brown or rust-colored bedbug droppings that stain material and mattresses. Bedbug excrement is a liquid that looks either light brown or black, and it usually either beads up or is absorbed by the material around it.

    A large population of bedbugs may produce a coriander-like odor.

    Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and includes:

    • topical creams, such as cortisone, to relieve itching
    • an oral antibiotic, if infection occurs because of skin irritation around the bite
    • corticosteroids, if a person has a severe allergic reaction
    • antihistamines, to help relieve allergic reactions

    Most bites heal within 1 and 2 weeks of occurrence.

    Some of these treatments are available for purchase online, including cortisone and antihistamines.

    Since bedbugs can hide in a wide range of places in the home, they are not easy to remove. It is advisable to bring in a pest control professional.

    Removing excess clutter from the house, giving the bedbugs fewer places to hide, makes inspection and removal less difficult.

    Some pest control companies request that furniture is pulled away from walls and mattresses and box springs stood on edge before they enter the home. Other companies prefer everything to be left where it is so that they can perform a check before moving the furniture themselves.

    Scientists at Ohio State University have determined that combining the chemical signals of bedbugs with a common insect-control agent can make it an effective treatment for killing the bugs.

    Most bedbugs feed on their hosts while they sleep. They draw blood in a painless way.

    While feeding, they inject a small amount of saliva into the host’s skin. If they feed on one particular person for several weeks, the individual may become more sensitive to their saliva and the chemicals that it contains. The host might eventually develop an allergic response.

    Bedbugs, like fleas, tend to bite in rows. There are likely to be two or three bites in each row. This is probably because the bedbug is interrupted while feeding, and then comes back about half an inch further down for its next bite.

    Bites can take up to 14 days to become visible but often appear within several days. Bedbug bites are larger than fleabites and do not usually have a red dot at the center. The bites tend to be raised and red.

    They can be scattered or occur in clusters of three over the paths of blood vessels, known as the “breakfast, lunch, and dinner sign.”

    Most people who are bitten show no symptoms at all and often do not know it happened. This makes it more difficult to prevent or identify potential infestations. Some individuals, however, may become ill and nauseous. It is possible to get scars and skin infections from scratching the bites.

    Very rarely, people might have an anaphylactic reaction to bedbug bites. It is possible but rare to have an asthmatic reaction to bedbugs.

    Bedbugs are adaptable, and there are many ways in which a bedbug infestation can occur.

    They may get into a new home as stowaways when luggage, furniture, and bedding is moved in. People should be careful when purchasing second-hand furniture and should never purchase used mattresses. A careful visual inspection should allow a person to detect bedbugs or their droppings.

    Even vacant and seemingly clean homes may have bedbugs in them. They can survive for over two months without any food. It is also believed they can move from apartment to apartment through hollows and holes in the walls and the tubes through which wires and pipes run.

    Bedbug infestations can be difficult to prevent.

    It is possible to encase both the mattress and box spring in a protective cover, as some people do for allergy relief. Some pest control firms sell them, as well as a number of retail outlets. Click here for a range of products that can help to protect a bed against infestation.

    Once encased, any bedbug trapped inside and prevented from feeding will eventually die. Some people keep their new beds encased, as it prevents the bugs from getting into the crevices in the mattress and makes it easier to keep the surface clean and bug-free.

    When traveling, avoid putting luggage on the bed to reduce the risk of bringing bedbugs home in a suitcase. It is also worth vacuuming any luggage after you return home and making sure you get rid of the contents of the vacuum in a tightly sealed bag. Dispose of this bag in a trashcan outside.

    Separate travel clothes from laundry and immediately wash them in hot water.

    If you spot bedbugs in the home, call a professional and do not attempt to resolve the infestation. Bedbugs can spread from room to room in clothing, and trying to remove them yourself can often make the matter worse.

    Although they are not known to carry diseases, bedbugs can affect an individual’s quality of life, causing distress, discomfort, embarrassment, and broken sleep.

    Here are the important facts to have in mind when trying to remove or identify a bedbug infestation:

    • The peak time for feeding is between midnight and 5 AM. Hungry bedbugs will try to feed at any time, but they do not like sunlight and prefer the dark. One feed will take between 5 and 10 minutes. The bug will then return to its hiding place.
    • Bedbugs will feed every 5 to 10 days. They can, however, last for about 70 days without feeding. A well-fed bedbug has a lifespan of several months.
    • They find their host by seeking out human body heat and sensing the presence of the carbon dioxide on the breath.
    • A bedbug will pierce the skin of its host with its mouth part. It first injects saliva that is a mixture of an anesthetic, so that the host feels nothing, and an anticoagulant so that the blood flows out freely. It then sucks out blood until it is full. The bites are not noticeable until after the skin reaction has occurred. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it can take up to 14 days for bites to appear.
    • Bedbugs can only reproduce when they have reached maturity. A female bedbug lays approximately seven eggs in a day and hundreds during her lifetime.

    A review of bedbug research conducted in 2016 found that while they are highly resistant to removal methods, bedbugs seem to be more of a nuisance than a serious health problem. Research has failed to show any link between the bedbugs associated with humans and human disease.

    The biggest risk for humans comes from secondary bacterial infection. With bedbugs, this would occur as a result of scratching the skin. Scratching, if it breaks the skin, allows normal bacteria from the surface of the skin to penetrate deeper.

    The source of any bacterial infection is, therefore, the human host and not the bedbug.

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