The bedbug is a parasitic insect that lives off of animal and human blood. Bedbugs often attack at night, and use a mixture of anticoagulant and numbing agents to keep your blood flowing as they feed and to numb the bite area so you don't realize they are feeding on you. Although bed bugs don't usually carry diseases, they can still be a nuisance. If you currently have an infestation of bedbugs, it could have come from a number of sources.
Animals are a common way that bed bugs can migrate indoors. This is especially true if you have animals that live both inside and outside, and if you let them sit or sleep on your bed or other pieces of furniture. Since bed bugs can live off of animal blood as well, these creatures often hitch a ride on their meal and may get left in your home to later feed on you.
Many cases of bed bugs occur during travels to foreign countries, especially in non-industrialized areas or areas with little access to hygienic supplies. Bed bugs can stow away in luggage or in dirty clothing and have the ability to survive the trip back long enough to settle in your home.
One major reason why there has been an increase in infestations of bed bugs is the change in pesticide procedures. Historically, the use of the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) almost wiped bed bugs out of existence in the Western world. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, the ban of the use of the pesticide DDT has allowed the bed bug to come back. The resurgence of the bug depends largely on birds and bats, as well as animals such as cows and dogs to carry the parasitic insects throughout the United States.
If you have a case of bed bugs, you have a few options to help rid yourself of the infestation. It is important to strip any bedding or other cloth objects (such as stuffed animals or pajamas) from the infested area. At this point you have two options. First, you can bag any infected items and place them in the freezer for at least 24 hours. Second you can launder them, as long as you are sure that the washer is set to a temperature of at least 97 degrees F. There are also commercial bed bug sprays available to help clear the remaining surfaces that cannot be washed or frozen to get rid of the insects.
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