Found all over the world, bed bugs gather in locations where people sleep in order to feed on their blood, including hotels, apartments, dorms, and cruise ships. Find these small, flat, red-brown insects hiding during the day in places such as crevices, mattresses or underneath anything you may have around your bed. You have a greater risk of being bitten by bed bugs if you travel often and sleep where others have slept. Knowing what to do when bed bugs bite you will help you prevent it from reoccurring.
Treat Bite Areas
Try to stop scratching the areas where you were bitten by bed bugs and apply an antiseptic lotion or cream to the bites. Take an antihistamine if you are experiencing allergy symptoms. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), bed bug bites do not spread disease nor are they considered dangerous. The CDC states bed bug bites have different affects on people, ranging from having no bite marks and no reaction to having allergic symptoms of large, swollen bite marks and occasionally anaphylaxis, an extreme sensitivity to a protein found in the bite.
Prevent being bitten by bed bugs by looking for their hiding places in your home. Your bedding, which includes your sheets, pillowcases and pillows, blankets, and mattress may contain live bed bugs as well as shed skins from their larvae. Bed bugs usually cluster together. Look for blood stains on your bedding from bed bug feedings or dark brown or red smears, which represent bed bug excretions. Packing materials from purchases you made may also contain bed bugs.
When traveling and staying in hotels, check the bed mattress and box springs before laying on the bed. Put your luggage on luggage racks rather than placing them on the beds or furniture. When you are not using your laptop, brief case, or suitcase, close them to prevent bed bugs from entering. Check these items for bed bugs before you leave your hotel room, and then check again before bringing these items into your home. Vacuum out your suitcases and wash your clothing when you return home from a trip.
If you have an infestation of bed bugs in your home, eliminate all clutter in the rooms and throw out infested bedding. Contact a professional pest control representative who has the insecticides to treat the infected areas.
If you find bed bugs in your hotel room, report it to the hotel management as soon as possible, so they can take steps to keep an infestation from spreading. As of March 2011, 95 percent of pest control experts have treated bed bugs over the past year in the U.S., compared to 25 percent in 2000, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
- Purdue University: Bed Bugs
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Bed Bugs FAQs; November 2010
- University of Minnesota Extension; Prevention and Control of Bed Bugs in Residences; Dr Stephen A. Kells, et al.; 2006
- National Pest Management Association; NPMA Applauds Rep. Schmidt for Introducing the Bed Bug Management, Prevention and Research Act; March 2011