Sleeping With The Enemy – Bed Bugs

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A bed bug nymph feeding on host (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Good night! Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” Everyone has heard this line at least once in their lifetime; however, most of us have never truly been in contact with the little buggers and therefore just brush off the comment as an obligatory gesture if nothing more. However, that may not be the case, as studies show that the bed bugs, which were previously almost eradicated during the 1940s, are making a large comeback.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on human blood. They are very small and mostly nocturnal and are capable of feeding on their host without being noticed. They feed by piercing the skin with their elongated mouthparts that normally fold under their body when at rest but fully extend during feeding. The name “bed bug” came from the insect’s preferred habitat of houses and especially areas where people sleep. A number of adverse health effects may occur due to bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms.  However it can be difficult to tell if it was actually a bed bug that bit you and this is important to know if you actually have bed bugs, before jumping to conclusions


Being able to identify bed bug bites from other parasitic creatures can be an extremely hard task. Because of the red bumps and the itchy sensation people often mistake these bites for mosquitoes bites instead. The only way you really can confirm bed bugs are the cause is to find the bugs in your bedroom. Bed bugs can be detected by their characteristic smell of raspberries.

A new form of detection is through the use of bed bug detection dogs. These dogs are trained to pinpoint infestations, with a high accuracy rating based upon controlled experiments. Sadly, however, the success rates in these tests may not reflect real world success rate of a pest companies’ dog, because of the multiple variables in the field. Dog detection can often occur in minutes where a pest control practitioner might take an hour. In the United States, about 100 dogs are used to find bed bugs by 2009.


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Bed Bug (Photo credit: stephenccwu)

Getting rid of bed bugs is an arduous task. You must not only remove the bed bugs but treat the infected area as well as continuously monitoring the area to ensure bed bugs do not return. The eradication of bed bugs frequently requires a combination of pesticide and non-pesticide approaches such as vacuuming, washing bedding at a high temperature, using steam or heat treatment, and sealing up hiding places along with increased sanitation and habitat modification. Some people think that insecticides are not recommended for dealing with these pests, for two reasons: one is that few active ingredients are federally registered for bed bugs for over-the-counter use and the other is resistance among bed bug populations is becoming common. The truth, however, is that professional bed bug control products can be purchased online.

Another proven method of dealing with these bed invaders, if you are willing to deal with it, is through the use of natural predators. There are many other types of bugs that feed on bedbugs, however allowing them into your home may lead to another problem and therefore is not very practical for eliminating bed bugs from human dwellings.


Sarah Brookes is a home improvement blogger from Chicago that frequently writes about pest control problems, like bed bug infestations. She also writes about other areas of home improvement from finding the best alarm clocks, to the most reliable home security systems.

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