Unlike cockroaches and flies that feed on filth, there is often no relationship between bed bugs and cleanliness. |
It often seems that bed bugs arise from nowhere. Since the bugs feed solely on blood, pristine dwellings can be as vulnerable to infestation as are places of squalor. That said, poverty and privation can lead to increased risk of bed bug problems, as can the inability to hire a professional exterminator.
They first get into your home either by unhatched eggs being in some luggage, furniture, bedding or other item brought into your home or in rare cases by live bedbugs crawling into your home from somebody else's home because they detect the breath of somebody asleep in your home from where they were.
Bed bugs are small and agile, escaping detection after crawling into suitcases, backpacks and belongings. Acquiring secondhand beds, couches and furniture is another way that the bugs are transported into buildings. Bed bugs also can be carried in on one's clothing, shoes or wheelchair. Once bed bugs are introduced, they can crawl from room to room or floor to floor. They can also be transported throughout buildings on people and their belongings.
Finding bed bugs in your home has nothing to do with poor hygiene! It takes only one bed bug to hitch a ride on your clothing (furniture, suitcase, etc) and infest your residence.
Bed bugs can live in almost any crevice or protected location. The most common place to find them is the bed or where people sleep. This is especially true during the early stages of a problem. As infestations grow larger, the bugs tend to move beyond beds into other locations making control more difficult. Since bed bugs don't fly, and not able to walk very far on their own, they rely on us to move them from one place to another.
Dealing with a bug infestation of any kind is never fun. You probably can't prevent bed bugs from entering your home. This is a new fact of life, even though it's a repeat from an earlier era. But you can prevent a bed bug infestation using some common sense and a little discipline.
The good news is that newer chemical and non-chemical treatments have been developed to manage bed bugs. There is no silver bullet that will rid you of the problem in one fell swoop, but having bed bugs in your home does not mean that you must resign yourself to living with them forever.
A critical first step is to correctly identify the blood-feeding pest, as this determines which management tactics to adopt that take into account specific bug biology and habits. For example, if the blood-feeder is a bat bug rather than a bed bug, a different management approach is needed.
Steps to follow in dealing with infestation:
* Scan the room for items on the floor. Make a plan for each item, and how it will be quarantined (closed into a plastic bag, for example), inspected, sanitized of bed bugs, and stored until further notice. * Place clothes, shoes, plush toys, pillows, and bedding into large clear plastic bags and seal them tightly to be laundered. Place the bags away from the infestation site. * Alternatively, plastic tote bins that have an airtight seal can be used for items that cannot be laundered, such as hard toys, electronics, books, breakable items, etc. Be prepared to store these items for a period of time until they can be thoroughly inspected or enough time has passed that bed bugs are dead – at least a year.
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