What You Should Know About Bed Bugs
Bed Bug Tips from Viking Pest Control
“The return of bed bugs, formerly a rare pest problem,” says Leonard Douglen, Executive Director of the New Jersey Pest Management Association, “has people asking all kinds of questions these days.”
“The problem had pest control professionals asking the same questions,” says Douglen, “because many of the younger technicians had never even seen a bed bug and, to make matters worse, they are very difficult to spot and require a lot of effort to eliminate.”
Industry experts such as Paul J. Bello set to work to answer those questions and among the advice he is dispensing these days are the following tips that homeowners, apartment dwellers, business and vacation travelers, and others should know in order to avoid or deal with a bed bug infestation.
- Bedbugs are hitchhikers. Their reappearance in the U.S. is likely due to tourists from other nations, military personnel returning from the Middle East, and business travelers from less developed nations.
- Nature has endowed bed bugs with the ability to live a long time, up to a year, between meals. Moreover, they are indifferent to cold weather, so they can easily over-winter just about anywhere. They are very tiny and their eggs are tinier, barely one millimeter long or 1/32nd of an inch.
- Once discovered, it takes a lot of time to get rid of bed bugs. A bed bug problem does not lend itself to a one-stop, quick application of a pesticide, and total elimination. Moreover, pest management technicians are trained where to look and, even then, will use a flashlight and magnifying glass. There are now bed bug-sniffing dogs that have proven effective.
- There are no proven bed bug repellent products currently available. And, yes, you can be bitten and not know it.
- Bed bugs spend most of their time hiding and prefer undisturbed areas. The favorite place is the mattress, box spring, and bed frame; hence the name.
- If you travel, pest management professionals recommend you bring large, white, draw-string plastic trash bags with you to prevent bed bugs from getting into your luggage. If you spot the tiny creatures, you can keep them in the bag to be destroyed and to avoid bringing them into your home. Staying in a five-star hotel is not a guarantee against bed bugs.
- Bed bugs are “a people problem”, not a “building” problem so almost anyone returning home, such as a college student, can unwittingly cause an infestation. Experienced pest management professionals will tell you that people who unknowingly bring bed bugs home may not discover they have a problem for anywhere from weeks to months.
- After professional treatment, it may take up to eight weeks before you can be absolutely sure no bed bugs are seen.
- Following a treatment, the purchase of high quality mattress encasements to seal in unseen bed bugs or their eggs is an excellent investment.
- A bed bug bite generally appears as a raised reddened bump on the skin and is often itchy. Bed bugs, however, are not known to transmit diseases.