Bed Bug Story In Progress
SAN ANGELO, TX – This is the week leading up to the Christmas holidays, and there's one guest nobody looks forward to having over during this time: bed bugs. Recently, there have been various reports of bed bugs spreading as a result of new clothes, and of course people travel more often during the holidays, so they are more prone to pick up bed bugs at airports and hotels.
In fact, there were recent reports of bed bugs found at Walmarts across the nation. One man in Phoenix reported getting bitten by a bed bug on a Walmart scooter. Another customer, in late November, caught bed bugs crawling on new clothes at a Walmart store (see video below).
Bed bugs are constantly a threat, and previously LIVE! reported how there is a more noticeable problem here in San Angelo (see story here). Because bed bugs can hide virtually anywhere, and can easily be transported from one place to another, we would like to provide these tips to keep in mind while traveling this season and dealing with new gifts, especially clothing, purses, luggage, pillows and boxes.
First, What do they look like?
Adult bed bugs have a reddish-brown color to them that makes them distinguishable from other insects, but they only reach the size of an apple seed. This makes it harder to spot them without careful examination. Eggs and young bed bugs, nymphs, are harder to detect because many times they lack color and their size is rather diminutive.
How to identify them?
While most people assume that the easiest way to identify a bed bug infestation is locating bites on the skin, this is incorrect. Bed bug bites can appear similar to the bites produced from other insects, so it is important to look for other signs.
Bed bugs tend to be nocturnal creatures, so it can be more difficult to spot them during the day. If there are any suspicions that bed bugs are present, tell-tale signs, such as rusty reddish stains, might mark the spot where a bed bug was crushed.
Dark spots on surfaces such as linens or mattresses can be indicators that the bed bugs have left excrement behind. As they grow, the bed bugs will shed their skins, which leaves behind a clear or yellow toned shell that can be seen with the naked eye.
Where do they hide?
Bed bugs can hide in places such as mattresses, bags, luggage, used furniture and even clothes. They need blood in order to survive, thus they tend to hide in places close to their hosts. Preferring cracks and crevices in which to hide, mattresses and furniture make the best hiding place. Even though they prefer being in close proximity to their host, they can travel anywhere from 5 to 20 feet to feed.
How to prevent them?
With so many people traveling, they can unwillingly become victims to bed bugs.
When traveling, people want to ensure places like hotel rooms are not infested. While most businesses work hard to ensure their customers enjoy a pleasant experience, previous guests with bed bugs can cause the problem.
While staying in hotel rooms, conduct a preliminary check of the mattress and linens, and double check luggage before leaving. The same principle applies when having overnight guests who may have possibly come in contact with an infested area.
Experts note that heat is one of the most effective ways to exterminate these bugs. By washing and drying clothes at high temperatures, homeowners can ensure the elimination of bed bugs that may be on clothes and linens. Avoiding clutter is also important in preventing infestations.
Bed bugs do not discriminate between a clean and dirty environment, experts say; they simply search for a way to fulfill their feeding needs. Clutter simply provides them with the chance to establish a greater variety of hiding places.
In the case that bed bugs are present, make sure to enlist the help of professionals. Combating bed bugs can be difficult, and many times DIY treatments, or over the counter bug sprays, may not eliminate all beg bugs.
For more information, check out this link.