Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bed Bugs 101

Bed bugs are parasitic creatures that feed on blood and humans are their favorite target. They operate using two mouth parts - one that injects anesthetic to cause numbing; and the second is a straw-like mouth part that is inserted into a host to suck blood. So bed bugs don't bite, they suck!
The most sobering fact: they can live more than a year between feedings. In other words, once they feed, they can travel by hitchhiking onto luggage, clothing, furniture, etc., they can travel between walls in multi-unit buildings apartments and hotels), and they can hide inside an electrical outlet in a vacant home for more than a year and still be alive and kicking waiting on the next victim.
Some people have allergic reactions to the anesthetic that show up typically 10 days to 2 weeks after bed bug interaction, therefore, the evidence is often misdiagnosed. Some people have no reaction whatsoever. There are people who have much more severe reactions and can show signs almost immediately.
These are nocturnal creatures with incredible skills at hiding. They often hide along the seams of mattresses, headboards, and artwork above the beds, but do not be fooled into thinking they are confined to the bedroom. They can hide anywhere on anything - anywhere there is a hiding place from light.
Diligence is one of the best tools of prevention. Look for them - they are round, flat, and reddish-brown - almost the size of an apple seed. Signs are streaks or dots of blood that will look like rust. Inspect where you go, sit, ride, and sleep.
This is NOT a socio-economic problem - they are equal opportunity feeders. They are also found everywhere humans live and gather which is basically everywhere. All forms of public transportation, theaters, retail stores, businesses, schools, and even hospitals have these nightmarish creatures.
The reason for this resurgence is pesticide resistance. Pesticide resistance occurs when a population of pests is exposed to a pesticide - a certain percentage will live and then pass that immunity on to their offspring. Soon, the entire population is immune to that pesticide. DDT was widely used to treat bed bugs before we knew it was so evil and now pesticides on the market today have less and less ability for control.
Your best bet is to prevent getting them in the first place. While many products claim repellent qualities, Greenbug for People, a natural cedar based product, has emerged the clear winner. The pest control industry often shuns natural products but toxic chemicals certainly aren't doing the job and besides that, well, they are toxic.
Bed bugs are here and are only going to get worse. Pesticides are not the answer so education is paramount to prevention. Be aware, inspect, repel, and share the knowledge of bed bugs so that you can protect yourself from these things that will not go away.
Louise Hodges, along with her husband Dan, are the owners of Greenbug All Natural Pest Control Products. A lifelong devotee to the health of the environment, she is grateful to be able to offer a safe alternative to toxic pesticides.

No comments:

Post a Comment