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"Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite'" - a cute phrase from a bygone era? Hardly! Bed bugs are making a huge comeback. Up until about 15 years ago they were almost non-existent in this country, but with more global travel, and more targeted pest control, they are having a major resurgence. They are being found in homes, apartments, and even in 5-Star hotels. Bed bugs are blood sucking insects that feed at night while the victim is asleep. If they have one good thing going for them it is that they are not known to transmit any diseases. During the day they hide. They can hide in the buttons and cording of mattresses, in box springs, in the cracks and crevices of the bed frame, at the edges of carpeting, under and behind baseboards, in dresser drawers, in picture frames, and just about anywhere there is a small crevice. They have even been found in electrical boxes behind outlets and switches. Treatment is extremely difficult because they are rapidly becoming resistant to a lot of pesticides, and because of their ability to hide. Successful treatment can sometimes call for two or more trips by the pest control professional. Several new treatments are being experimented with including steam heat, freezing, and increasing the temperature of the building to about 130 degrees, but the "jury" is still out on these. The best "treatment" for bed bugs is prevention. If you travel, check your luggage and clothes carefully upon your return. Don't buy used upholstered furniture or bedding, and be careful about having "sleepovers" by relatives, or your kid's friends, as they may bring bed bugs with them if they have them at home. For people who travel, your luggage should be placed on a hard surface in your motel or hotel room, never on anything covered with fabric. It's not a bad idea to take some double faced tape with you and make a rectangle around your luggage
Adult bed bug
Bed bug nymph and cast skin
Bed bug "dirt" consisting of cast skins and fecal stains
Bed bug bites - individual reaction to bites can vary widely!
Bed bug dogs (usually beagles) are trained to sniff out live bed bugs and bed bug eggs. They can be used to pinpoint areas of infestation and help make sure all problem areas are treated. While we don't own a dog, we work with a company that does. We try to coordinate a visit by the dog, and then treatment where I basically follow the dog, and treat areas where the dog gets a "hit". Doing that will result in the best chance of having the treatment be successful on the first visit.
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