Exposing Bed Bug Misconceptions: What You Should Know

Exposing Bed Bug Misconceptions: What You Should Know

Bed bugs represent a growing portion of the pest control industry. Bed bugs have existed for a long time, but many people still don’t understand how bed bugs continue to wreak havoc on the lives of many.

In this article, we’ll be separating fact from fiction, dispelling some common myths, and answering some frequently asked questions about bed bugs.

 

Fact or fiction?

Myth: If you come home from vacation and discover that bed bugs have followed you home, have to throw all your furniture out.

False: This depends upon the extent of the infestation and the condition of the furniture. Unless the furniture is already old or severely infested, there’s no need to throw it out. You can have your furniture professionally treated without losing your furniture.

 

Myth: Bed bugs will jump on you, crawl in your hair, and cling to your skin.

False: Bed bugs cannot jump or fly. There’s a slim chance of bed bugs being in your hair because they have two cat-like claws on the end of their legs and flat, disc-like bodies which make it hard to navigate through hair. They may cling onto you, but you’re most likely to find them clinging onto your clothes (though you probably won’t spot them!).

 

Myth: Bed bugs only come out at night.

False: This isn’t strictly true or false, but it makes sense that people would believe that. Most people unwittingly make themselves available for bed bugs during the nighttime, but they come out to feed whenever their victim is sleeping. In other words, it’s simply the warmth and scent of humans they’re drawn to, rather than the night. Sleeping during the day won’t make you immune to bed bugs.

 

Myth: Applying essential oils, Raid, or Hotshot to my body will prevent bed bugs from biting me.

Unproven: This hasn’t been proven and most pest products are poisonous to the skin. Even certain essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil to avoid skin reactions.

 

Myth: Sticky traps and monitors will detect whether or not a home is infested with bed bugs.

False: Sadly, this is also fiction. No products can detect bed bugs yet- instead, people are the best monitors! Instead of relying on a monitor, regularly inspect your bed, sofa, and other resting places. Change sheets every week, flip your mattress,  vacuum box springs, steam bed frames, check the piping and seams, and examine blind spots often.

 

Myth: Store-bought chemical sprays are a good way to get rid of bed bugs.

False: If you can see the bed bug, you can kill it. Whether you do it with a store-bought chemical spray or your thumb, is up to you. What you can’t kill with those sprays are all the hidden bed bugs and the eggs hiding inside your mattress and in the other nooks and crannies around your home.

 

Myth: You have to go somewhere unclean to pick them up.

False: Bed bugs don’t care about cleanliness, they only care about whether or not there’s blood to eat! If you’re in a public space where people are sitting for long periods, bed bugs may be present.

 

It may seem like bed bugs are impenetrable, but with regular checks and proper education, we can minimize our chances of infestation. The International Bed Bug Resource Authority (IBBRA) has been a trusted resource for almost a decade and can direct you to powerful solutions and trusted professionals. To find out about effective DIY solutions click here, or click here to find one of our trusted professionals.

8 Weird & Wonderful Facts About Bed Bugs   

8 Weird & Wonderful Facts About Bed Bugs   

Unless you’ve experienced a bed bug infestation in your home or workplace, you likely don’t know much about these strange little critters. These small, brown, oval-shaped insects are drawn to warm areas of the home and feed on human blood.

They’re tiny (almost too small to see) but they can wreak havoc on any unsuspecting household or business. They’re a nightmare to have around, but there’s more to bed bugs than you’d think. Read on to learn some of our favorite bizarre facts about bed bugs.

Did you know… about bed bugs?

  1. Bed bugs may be tiny, but they sure know how to reproduce! Their eggs are only a millimeter long and female bed bugs lay eggs every day. A female bed bug can lay a whopping 500 eggs in her lifetime.
  2. We don’t feel a bed bug bite when it happens because their saliva contains mild anesthetic. When we wake up, the anesthetic has worn off – only then do we realize we’ve been bitten.
  3. We call them bed bugs, but they don’t exclusively live in mattresses or duvet covers. Bed bugs are attracted to anything warm and dark, including furniture, luggage bags, and clothing. For this reason, it’s a good idea to wash your clothes and material bags immediately after returning from traveling. Similarly, if you buy any second-hand clothing, bags, or furniture, give them a thorough wash on a high heat before using them.
  4. Bed bugs drink a lot of blood, to the tune of seven times their body weight. That’s about equivalent to an average man having 120 gallons of water in his stomach.
  5. They’re most active at night and are canny when it comes to getting caught trying to suck a victim’s blood. Their sharp instincts mean they can resist the smell of food (humans) during the daytime when they could be spotted and killed. Bed bugs will only come out of their hiding place when the scent of exhaled carbon dioxide becomes too strong for them to ignore. This usually happens at night when the victim is asleep.
  6. Bed bugs may be able to ingest a lot of blood at once, but they’re picky about what they eat. They’ll only feed off a live host, avoiding blood outside of the body or spilled blood.
  7. They can survive almost anywhere. It’s often cockroaches that get the reputation as the ultimate hardy bug, but bed bugs are just as resilient. They can live in apartments, single-family homes, college dorm rooms, schools, hospitals, offices, on public transport, movie theaters, shopping malls, and retail stores. In other words, anywhere humans can be found, so can bed bugs.
  8. They have developed a resistance to pesticides, so pest control companies now have to kill them using heat instead. It’s worth noting that the heat used must be intense to kill these resilient creatures, as they can withstand temperatures from 0 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

If you’re concerned about an infestation in your home or business, we’re here to help. IBBRA provides all the information you need to treat a bed bug infestation, either via a DIY solution or by finding a trusted professional through our site. Click here to learn more.

 

I Am Renting and Have Bed Bugs: What Should I Do?

I Am Renting and Have Bed Bugs: What Should I Do?

One morning you wake up with itchy red spots on your ankles – you think nothing of it, or maybe you wonder if your pet has fleas. The next morning, the same happens again, and you check your pet for fleas – nothing. Then you see it… a bed bug. Yikes! Only, you’re not sure what to do because you rent your home – is it your responsibility to get the home treated, or not? Read on to find out.

 

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small insects that come out at night and feed on your blood. They have been around for thousands of years, and cheap, easy travel has been largely responsible for their prevalence in the United States today.

They live in cracks and creases, particularly in and around beds so that their food source (you!) is not far away. Generally, their bite is not dangerous and they are not known to transmit any disease to their human host. The bottom line is don’t panic.

 

What do you do if you find bed bugs in your apartment?

  • You should notify the building manager or your landlord immediately. If you have them it is likely you are not the only one affected and a strategy to eradicate the pest and prevent its recurrence has to be planned.
  • Choose a pest control company that is trustworthy and uses up-to-date methods. Although DIY solutions are available they are not practical for an entire apartment block. Heat treatments are the most effective choice.

It is easy to compare pest companies on the internet, but take your time to pick one that is reliable and experienced and uses the latest equipment. Bed bugs multiply quickly but not significantly in the time it takes to be thorough. Click here to find a professional near you.

  • Get cleaning. Hygiene won’t eliminate bed bugs but it will help to reduce numbers and keep the situation stable until the experts arrive. Your best friend is your dryer – 30 minutes in a hot dryer will kill bed bugs and their eggs. When the treatment has been done, do a deep clean so you feel happy in your home once more.

 

Is your landlord responsible for bed bug control?

What is and is not a landlord’s responsibility when it comes to pest control varies from state to state. Generally speaking, because a bed bug infestation makes an apartment or home uninhabitable it is up to the landlord to deal with it and cover the costs involved.

But you need to check your lease and the local laws pertaining to the area where you live. Usually, the responsibility lies with the landlord but not in every case. Also, look at your renter’s insurance policy. It may have provision to pay for alternative accommodation until the situation is sorted out.

If you live in a single-family home, you may find that you are responsible for the costs.

 

No one welcomes a bed bug infestation, but it is not the end of the world and won’t cost a huge amount to put right. Bed bugs are endemic in the US and there should be no stigma attached to becoming the victim of an infestation. It is not your fault and has nothing to do with the way you live – in fact, it just shows that you get out and about in the world and/or have a social life!

Fortunately, a calm approach to the problem and a good pest control company can rectify the problem and eradicate the parasite quickly, leaving your apartment or house habitable and pest-free. To find a DIY kit or to find a professional near you, click here.

 

How to Deal with Bed Bugs in a School Setting   

How to Deal with Bed Bugs in a School Setting   

We all know where we most commonly find bed bugs – in beds! But of course, that doesn’t mean they can’t get around, too. Bed bugs can find their way onto airplanes, buses, cars, ambulances, and just about anywhere humans like to be – so naturally, that includes schools.

Most schools have a headlice policy, but few know how to move forward when bed bugs have taken hold. If you suspect bed bugs have found their way into your school, here’s what you need to know to move forward.

 

Identify: Are you dealing with bed bugs?

Bed bug infestations in schools are fairly uncommon, but of course, if a student has bed bugs at home, they can hitchhike to school with them. Bed bugs are shy creatures that will usually only be visible when we’re still and it’s dark, such as at night. They’re usually very small and can’t jump (like fleas). If you think you may be dealing with bed bugs, it’s important to get professionals in to examine and treat them as soon as possible.

 

Dealing with the Social Stigma

Despite common belief, bed bugs do not come from dirty homes – bed bugs only like one thing, and that’s human blood. They aren’t interested in how clean or unclean something is, and no amount of cleanliness will make them go away. However, while we know this and you now know this, it’s important not to point the finger at any student or teacher who may have brought bed bugs to school with them. They likely caught them while on vacation or from another family member who travels often. It will also be extremely difficult to know for sure if they brought the bed bugs with them or simply caught them while they were at school.

Here are some guidelines for what you should do if you suspect a teacher or student of having bed bugs:

  • Don’t single out any one student or teacher. Instead, send educational materials home with all children/teachers affected with advice on how to identify bed bugs and next steps to take to avoid transferring bed bugs to and from school.
  • If you find a particular person has bed bugs on their possessions, deal with it as discreetly as possible. Ideally, talk to the parent or guardian to let them know that bed bugs have been found on their possessions and what next steps to take to ensure that an infestation is not transferred to or from school – make sure you do not point the finger. Make sure they have the same educational materials as everyone else.

 

How to Avoid Spreading Bed Bugs in a Classroom

To avoid spreading bed bugs in a classroom:

  • Regularly wash down hard surfaces with hot soapy water
  • Don’t pile clothes and shoes together
  • Have designated plastic totes or similar for each child’s belongings
  • Keep the classroom uncluttered and avoid large piles of communal cushions, bean bags, and soft toys

These tips are ideal if you suspect bed bugs, but are also good practice for avoiding spreading any parasite, bacteria, or virus.

 

If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your school, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified bed bug professional as soon as possible. They will be able to accurately detect infestations and treat the area quickly, and the classroom will be inhabitable again within hours of a heat treatment. Chemical treatments are not recommended for schools and aren’t 100% effective. To find someone to help you or for more information on identifying and treating bed bugs, click here.

 

How Do You Prevent Bed Bugs from Getting in Your Car?   

How Do You Prevent Bed Bugs from Getting in Your Car?   

Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped, wingless insects. They can be found around the world anywhere humans are, usually within a few feet of a bed or sofa.

Bed bugs feed on blood and can cause itchy, red sores when they bite into human skin. These small creatures hide in sheets, piles of laundry, mattress seams, bed frames, and cracks in walls during the day, coming out at night to feed. While it’s somewhat uncommon, some bed bugs may even find their way into your car, latching onto your clothing every time you sit down to drive.

The discovery of bed bugs in your home or even in your car is always a distressing one, so it’s good to know what to look out for.

What do I need to know about bed bugs?

One bed bug can lay up to 250 eggs in her lifetime. Under normal circumstances, bed bugs usually have a lifespan of around 10 months.

Aside from how they breed, it’s helpful to know the temperatures in which they thrive. These little critters can only live in temperatures of 46 degrees Fahrenheit and above, so they probably wouldn’t survive in your car during the winter if you’re living somewhere cold.

The same goes for higher temperatures; most bed bugs can’t survive in temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

How can I tell if there’s a bed bug infestation in my car?

You’ll be able to determine if you have a bed bug infestation in your car pretty easily. Look for things like:

  • Reddish or brown stains (these bed bugs that have been sat on and crushed, or their waste)
  • Tiny yellow eggshells or eggs
  • Skins that the bed bugs have shed during growth
  • Bed bugs themselves

The most likely way you’ll discover bed bugs is you start noticing bed bug bites. These are little, red marks that may appear and cause itching, so check your home and car for bed bugs if you start finding little red bite marks, especially on areas of skin that aren’t covered by your pajamas while you sleep or clothes while you drive (such as ankles).

How can I stop bed bugs from getting into my car?

Here are some effective ways to prevent bed bugs from getting into your car:

  • Wear fresh clothes when traveling before getting into your car, especially if you’ve been on a plane or sitting in a hotel restaurant.
  • Have your car’s interior professionally steam cleaned after traveling.
  • If you use a shared laundry facility, carry them to and from the laundromat in plastic bags.
  • Check any second-hand furniture you buy before putting it into your car.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum to avoid giving the bed bugs anywhere to hide.
  • Keep your luggage in your suitcase while traveling, don’t leave it on beds, armchairs, or in provided storage.

If you’ve already discovered an infestation, you’ll need to speak to a professional. Don’t risk trying to fumigate or use chemical pesticides by yourself – they’re toxic and they rarely fully treat the infestation, leaving some alive to repopulate your home.

At the International Bed Bug Resource Authority, we can put you in touch with trusted, trained professionals to remedy your bed bug problem with effective heat treatments as soon as possible. Click here to find a service provider near you.

Homeowners & Renters: How to Detect Bed Bugs Before You Move In    

Homeowners & Renters: How to Detect Bed Bugs Before You Move In    

Moving home is both stressful and exciting; it’s a new start, after all! But one thing that’s guaranteed to make it more stressful and less exciting is discovering your new space has bed bugs – yuck!

But this can and does happen quite often. Over the last 20 years, the bed bug problem has multiplied and the number of cases of infestation isn’t dropping. Your new apartment or house probably doesn’t have bed bugs, but you do need to try and make sure – your first night there is not the time to find out!

So what steps should you take to find out if these unwelcome visitors are already inhabiting your new home?

 

How to Detect Bed Bugs Before You Move In

  • Renting: find out your legal position. It is nearly always illegal to rent out a home with a known infestation and many local laws also require a landlord to give full details of previous occurrences of bed bugs, sometimes whether the prospective tenant has asked or not. But this is not universal. Some states have no requirement for a landlord to disclose past bed bugs, so feel free to ask and if there has been an occurrence of bed bugs in the home or apartment building, ask them to treat the home before you move in.
  • When you view the property do your own inspection. Bed bugs love nooks and crannies so that’s where to search. You’re not just looking for adults – think the size and color of an apple seed – but eggs (white specks) and feces too. Remember these bugs aren’t put off by cleanliness or attracted by dirt; whatever the apartment or house looks like, however well presented and maintained, that’s no guarantee there are no bed bugs.
  • Consider having a pest professional inspect the home before purchase. If you’re buying, consider having a pest professional come to inspect the home when you have other home inspections. You are within your right to ask for treatment before you get the keys. If you can’t do this, the best thing to do is have a cautionary treatment before you start moving your things in – heat treatments typically only take a few hours so you won’t have to wait long!
  • Consider a canine inspection before you move in. By far the best way to find out if there are bed bugs in your new property is to get a canine inspection carried out by a trustworthy pest control company. Dogs have humans beat hands down (or should that be paws down?) when it comes to detecting the presence of bed bugs.

 

Not so long ago most of us were only worried about termites in our homes but times change. Bed bugs may not be as damaging to your home or wallet, but they certainly aren’t something you want to live with!

It is sensible to make every effort to ensure your new house or apartment is pest-free before you move in. It is not just the bites either. Psychologically, knowing you have bed bugs can be devastating. While cures are available, prevention is better every time. To find a suitable pest professional or canine unit near you, click here.