There has been a lot of publicity lately regarding bed bugs. If you remember a news story on 11/04/2010 where Christine and David Drabicki from Plymouth, MI filed suit against New York’s Waldorf-Astoria, saying she and her husband became infected with bedbugs during a stay at the well-known hotel. New York has been hard hit by bedbugs. The United Nations, the Harlem office of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, several retail stores and a movie theater have suffered outbreaks of the infestation. But it is not just New York City; the U.S. is facing a national infestation. A matter of fact bed bug infestation has risen 500% in the last few years and as you can see it is not just hotels; offices, retail stores, movie theaters and flea markets have been invaded too by these tiny, blood sucking pests. How to get rid of bed bugs and sleep easy?
These critters need blood to survive. They are nocturnal and wait until its dark before they strike. Only the size of a pinhead when born, they can grow as big as the size of a penny when they have matured, especially after a hefty nightly meal. Since they have to ingest all they can in a short time span they can bite their victim many times during the night. In fact, someone with a serious infestation could be bitten as many 500 times per night! Not only can you wake up with a very itchy red rash, the saliva from the bed bugs can cause an allergic reaction just like what happened to one of Drabicki’s daughters. While some people will have no reaction others can develop asthma as with some instances of dust mites or in rare situations life threatening anaphylactic shock.
Bed bugs hide in places where they can’t be seen and if you look for them you may see other tale telling signs than live bugs. Molted skin, eggs, black specks and blood stains are good indicators that you have a bed bug infestation. Wood bed frames, mattress seams, under dressers, behind wall hangings are some places you can inspect in your home. At the movie theater do not keep any belongings on the floor. At a retail store remember you are not the first person to try on a piece of clothing. You may even be trying on something another person had returned. Check all seams before trying it on.
If you find evidence of bed bugs it is best to call a professional bed bug exterminator. Don’t move your mattress as this will just spread the infestation to other areas of the house. Bug bombs don’t work and it will cause the bugs to hide in places that will be harder to kill, like baseboards, under light switch plates and inside walls. To prepare for the exterminator you can vacuum the carpets and the furniture. If you have a Kirby Vacuum System you can even use it on your mattress as this will suck up not only bed bugs but dust mites too. Remember to change the bag and filter outside as they can get out through stitch holes.
Wash or dry clean clothing, bedspreads and throw rugs in the hottest water possible, only a temperature over 113 degrees will kill bed bugs. The exterminator may also ask you to remove light switch plates and chalk any cracks in your walls. Unfortunately you may have to pitch your mattress if it is heavily infested. If so, invest in a memory foam mattress as bed bugs cannot nestle in this mattress and make a home. If you can save your mattress you may want to get a memory foam mattress pad or a mattress encasement as this will work just as good to keep bed bugs out of your bed. The exterminator will use chemicals to flush out bed bugs in hard to reach areas and use hot, dry steam to kill them.
To avoid an infestation or a recurring one, bed bug interceptors are small plastic dishes that go under bed legs. The bed bugs can climb up, but then they slide down and become trapped and easy to spot. When you come home from a high risk area like a flea market, movie theater or mall, you can take off your clothes and put them in the dryer right away on high heat for 30 minutes. Remember your shoes, you can put them into a pillowcase and throw them into the dryer as well. If you have ever been infested with bed bugs you know how hard it is to get rid of them. It is never a good idea to rent furniture or buy used furniture from a flea market, auction house or yard/garage sale. In fact, the less clutter there will be fewer places the little critters will have to hide. Less is definitely more when it comes to bed bugs.
If you have been to a high risk area or a hotel and think you may have brought home bed bugs, dump out all your belongings on a tile floor or garage. Check all seams, unzip all compartments, vacuum out and dispose of the vacuum’s bag and filter in a plastic bag before pitching. Wash all clothing in hot water and dry on high heat. You can also treat luggage with an insecticide or a portable heating unit designed to destroy bed bugs and their eggs.
When travelling you can inspect your hotel room before bringing in your luggage and bear in mind to keep your luggage on racks off the floor and far from the furniture. Remember when you are selecting a hotel you can check bedbugregistry.com to see if it has or had a bed bug infestation.
The content provided in How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs and Sleep Easy is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.