Bed bugs have been in the news a lot lately. They were almost eradicated in the United States using DDT, but prior to that were a serious problem. Mothers told their children, “Goodnight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
How do you know you have bed bugs? They can be hard to see, but feed by piercing the skin and sucking blood from their victim. During the day, they hide in the bed, sofa, or bedding. The victim typically wakes up covered in welts from the feeding. The welts are elongated and the long axis is along the arm or leg. Mosquitoes, on the other hand, leave more circular welts.
While bedbugs have never been proven to spread diseases, they make life miserable for the people who live with them. They are spread in clothing, bedding, and beds. It is not necessary to discard all bedding and clothes when discovering a bed bug infestation, however.
One of the best things you can do to treat bed bugs is get professional help. These bugs are resistant to most pesticides. The pesticides currently labeled for bed bug use are only moderately effective. Routine bug bombs do not kill bed bugs. If you live in an apartment, contact the manager. The apartments adjacent to you are probably infested, too, and unless they are treated at the same time your apartment is, the bugs just run next door for the night.
Self treating bed bugs is difficult. There are, however, some things you can do. Wash your bedding and infested clothing in the hottest waster it can stand. Treat it with an approved pesticide before replacing it into the room that was treated. You can put bed bug proof covers on your mattresses and pillows. These are tightly woven fabric covers that keep the bed bugs from reaching you. Finally, you can find more information on treating bed bugs from your county extension agent.