Bed bugs have been a known human pest for thousands of years. They are small, wingless insects with a flat body. Adults grow to about 0.25 inches long that is ideal for hiding at family homes, apartments, hotels, shelters, college dormitories, and nursing homes in cracks and crevices in headboards, mattresses, and box springs. They feed exclusively on the blood of humans or warm-blooded animals. Their bites can elicit various cutaneous and systemic reactions in humans and are generally treated symptomatically. Bed bugs can be very difficult to eradicate since they have developed resistance to many chemical treatments. Not only can bed bugs create an emotional effect, but they have a significant impact on public health.
Bed bugs have rapidly become a widespread societal pest, and the risk of exposure through normal daily life appears to be increasing. Bedbugs are adaptable, and there are many ways in which a bedbug infestation can occur.
They may get into a new home as stowaways when luggage, furniture, and bedding is moved in. People should be careful when purchasing second-hand furniture and should never purchase used mattresses. A careful visual inspection should allow a person to detect bedbugs or their droppings.
Even vacant and seemingly clean homes may have bedbugs in them. They can survive for over two months without any food. It is also believed they can move from apartment to apartment through hollows and holes in the walls and the tubes through which wires and pipes run.
Due to the challenges of eradicating bed bugs, prevention of infestations is critical. Tips for the prevention of bed bugs include eliminating clutter, sealing cracks and crevices in rooms, and inspecting mattresses, headboards, and linens routinely. Used furniture, clothing, and other items should be inspected thoroughly before bringing them into the house (avoid purchasing used mattresses). When spending the night at a new location, examine the room for signs of bed bugs such as fecal and blood spots on the bed or a sweet, musty smell.
- Spray around and under the bed and along the baseboards near the bed. After removing the drawers from the furniture, the inside of the cabinetry should be sprayed as well as the bottom and sides of the drawers. Do not treat the inside of the drawers. If needed the clothes in the drawers should be removed and laundered.
- Spray around the inside of closets, door frames and doors.
- Spray molding at the top and bottom of the room. Spray around windows.
- Spray seams of drawers, both top and bottom. Spray dressers from below. Spray where dressers touch the floor.
- Spray where the bed touches the floor, spray chairs and underneath chairs.
- Spray all baseboards, loose plaster, behind bed frames and headboards, beneath beds and furniture, and bedsprings and bed frames. Do not apply to furniture surfaces or mattresses where people will be laying or sitting unless using a product labeled for that type of treatment. Infested bedding should not be treated, but should be removed, placed in sealed plastic bags, and taken for laundering and drying at high temperature.