Bedbugs are small reddish brown nocturnal insects that usually go unseen in most people’s houses. The use of DDT once brought the bedbug population to near extinction but the use of the pesticide is being phased out due to the effects on humans. Since bedbugs are no longer being controlled and travel has expanded their numbers have grown exponentially. Many people remain unaware of their growing pest problem until their unique bites occur, however it is always treatable and never fatal.
Many people may assume they would feel bugs biting them in their sleep, but the bedbug anesthetizes the area and there are not signs of itchiness until at least an hour later. The reaction time of the bite and the bedbug rash depends upon each person. After a time period one bite will turn into a rash, similar to hives, which may be in a cluster formation. It is important to watch the rash for a few days; the rash takes longer than other bug bites to heal and is extremely itchy, but can be relieved with a topical cream.
The tell tale sign of a severe bed bug infestation is a pungent, musty sweet smelling odor which has been compared to ripe raspberries. This scent is an odor secreted through the bedbug’s sweat glands. Though one may not smell this in their house it is usually noticeable in a hotel with a larger bedbug infestation.
If one does suspect they have a bed bug infestation one thing they can search for is the shed skin or the reddish brown stains left from the bug’s excrement. These stains may be anywhere around and on the mattress, on or behind the headboard, behind wallpaper or if there are any pieces of wooden furniture nearby it should also be checked. If any remains are found it is likely that the house is infested with bed bugs and the rest of the house will also need to be checked.
The best way to treat this problem is to prevent it, a female bedbug is only inseminated once and after that she can lay up to 300 bedbugs her life. One should be vigilant while travelling, always inspect the room you will be staying in for signs of bed bugs that could hitch a ride back with you in your suitcase. When buying any kind of second hand items they should be thoroughly inspected before they are brought home. Maintain the cleanliness of your room by washing sheets weekly, and vacuuming around the bed. To prevent any hiding spots for the bed bugs, caulk any holes in walls.
Once there is a severe infestation of bedbugs it will require a professional inspection with a subsequent extermination since conventional bug repellents are not an effective treatment. One must also wash all bedding and bedclothes in water that is at least 97 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the bedbugs. Under severe conditions it is sometimes necessary to remove infested furniture from the residence.