WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BED BUGS,
Prevent, Identify, Act
Many people have misconceptions about bed bugs. Anyone can get them, regardless of his/her personal hygiene habits or socio-economic status. The keys to managing bed bugs are education, awareness and prevention.
Myth: Bed bugs are only found in shelters; only poor people or dirty people get them.
Fact: Bed bugs can be found in hotels, motels, dormitories, apartments, condos, private homes, and even in some public places, such as businesses and offices. Anyone can get bed bugs.
Currently, controlling bed bugs in most situations is not a simple or easy thing to do. It takes time, technical knowledge, and open communication between residents, property managers and experienced Pest Management Professionals to effectively eliminate established bed bug infestations.
No. Detailed studies by both entomologists and medical doctors have shown that bed bugs are not known to carry or spread disease to humans or lab animals.
Many people don’t react to being bitten by bed bugs. How an individual reacts to a bed bug bite depends on their individual immune system and can vary from one individual to another.
When bed bugs bite, they inject their saliva into the biting area, causing the skin to become irritated and inflamed. Bed bug bites most commonly occur on exposed areas of the body, including face, neck, hands, arms, lower legs or all over the body. The most common rash is made up of localized red and itchy flat lesions. The classical bed bug bites could be presented in a linear fashion in a group of three, which is called “breakfast, lunch, and dinner”.
Most bed bug bites go away by themselves and don’t need treatment, keep the skin clean and try not to scratch. If the bites are very itchy, your doctor may prescribe cream or antihistamines to relieve the itchiness or oral antibiotics for any secondary skin infection from excessive scratching. Small raised red swelling lesions are also common, although they often go unnoticed, or be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other skin conditions. In rare cases, people may develop large raised, often itchy, red welts. In people with high sensitivity to bed bug saliva, people may develop a lump filled with blood or fluid.
There are two ways to get bed bugs – migration and hitch hiking.
Migration is when bed bugs walk to an adjacent unit through hallways, plumbing, electrical lines, or other means.
Hitch hiking is when bed bugs climb into or on bags, clothing, or other belongings and are relocated by a person. Human to human contact is very unlikely.
- If you think you have a bed bug problem, check for live bed bugs or shells in the following areas:
- Seams, creases, tufts and folds of mattresses and box springs
- Cracks in the bed frame, head board and in plaster on walls
- Under chairs, couches, beds, dust covers and between cushions
- Under area rugs and the edges of carpets
- In dresser drawers and between the folds of curtains
- Behind baseboards, and around window and door casings
- Behind electrical plates and under loose wallpaper, paintings and posters
- In telephones, radios, and clocks
The following practices will help you prevent picking up bed bug hitch hikers:
- Learn how to identify bed bugs
- When visiting, bring in only what you need and avoid placing bags close to walls and furniture (if this is unavoidable place belongings in a closed white plastic kitchen bag and examine it for any bed bugs before leaving)
- If possible, stand rather than sit, or avoid sitting on furniture with fabric – wood or metal chairs are better
- Inspect shoes, clothing, and belongings after leaving
- If you find any bed bugs kill them and report it immediately
- Put work clothes in the dryer for at least 45 minutes on high heat when you get home
- Use disposable protective clothing such as shoe covers and coveralls
Even the cleanest homes, offices and hotels can have bed bugs, regular house cleaning and inspection can help to prevent an infestation.
- Vacuum your mattress often
- Clean up clutter to help reduce the number of places bed bugs can hide.
- Seal cracks and crevices with caulking
- Be careful when buying used furniture or clothes. Make sure to inspect the used item, and feel free to ask the retailer if the items were checked for bed bugs.
- Never bring home discarded furniture or clothes from the curb side. These items may be infested with bed bugs.
- Inspect your luggage and its contents when you return home from a trip.
The best method to deal with bed bugs is Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which combines a variety of techniques and products that pose the least risk to human health and the environment.
- Report it immediately to your local health department or a professional Pest Control operator i.e ResQ Canada at 289 489 0678. Once you have confirmed that you have bed bugs, they will discuss options that pose the least risk to humans and the environment.
- Pesticide application alone will not kill bed bugs at all stages. Successful treatment depends on an Integrated Pest Management approach to bed bug control which involves, vacuuming, and steaming, laundering belongings, sealing areas and gaps where bed bugs can hide. Do not use over the counter pest control products or home remedies such as kerosene.
- If you choose to treat the infestation with an insecticide, call ResQ Canada – Professional Pest Control Services provider for more information. Use the least toxic product available and follow all manufacturers’ instructions.
- Inspect your mattress and bed frame, particularly the folds, crevices and the underside, and other locations where bed bugs like to hide.
- Use a nozzle attachment on the vacuum to capture the bed bugs and their eggs. Vacuum all crevices on your mattress, bed frame, baseboards and any objects close to the bed. It is essential to vacuum daily and empty the vacuum immediately.
- Wash all your linens in the hottest water possible and place them in a hot dryer for 20 minutes. Consider covering your pillows and mattress with a plastic cover.
- Remove all unnecessary clutter off the floor and storage.
- Seal cracks and crevices between baseboards, on wood bed frames, floors and walls with caulking. Repair or remove peeling wallpaper, tighten loose light switch covers, and seal any openings where pipes, wires or other utilities come into your home (pay special attention to walls that are shared between apartments).
- Monitor daily by setting out glue boards or sticky tape (carpet tape works well) to catch the bed bugs. Closely examine any items that you are bringing into your home.
Whether you choose IPM or insecticides, you may continue to see some living bed bugs for up to ten days. This is normal. If you continue to see a large number of bed bugs after two weeks, contact a professional pest control service.
ResQ Canada Pest Control and Environmental Solutions Inc.
Phone: 289 489 0678