06 June 2012

The Resurgence of Bedbugs and How to Get Rid of Them



I remember learning about bedbugs from children stories and I honestly thought they were a thing of the past until yesterday when I saw a thick black title in the newspaper saying that we are experiencing a bedbug epidemic. Wow! Past embraced present I guess and I had to learn more about the creatures that were first mentioned in ancient Greece as early as 400 BC!

While bedbugs originate in tropical climates, nowadays they are to be found all around the world. The rate of infestation in the developed world has been decreasing between 1930s and 1980s partly due to the use of DDT to kill cockroaches. The invention of the vacuum cleaner and simplification of furniture design may have also played a role.

It is interesting then, that we have seen a dramatic increase in bedbug infestations since the 1980s, the reason probably stemming from increased international travel, more frequent exchange of second-hand furnishings among homes, resistance to insecticides, and the use of new pest-control methods that do not affect bed bugs.

Bedbug facts to make your skin crawl

Bedbug facts to make your skin crawl

Causes
Bedbugs and theirs eggs can enter your home in a number of ways:
  • by pets or wild animals
  • through a visiting person's clothes or luggage
  • with infested furniture
  • you visiting an infested area, such as apartments, hotels, cinemas, etc.

Signs
Bedbugs are roughly the same size as an apple seed. Their favorite hiding spots are:
  • pillows, mattresses
  • furniture close to beds
  • cracks around the bed headboards or in the walls

You'd better inspect these spots right now and look for eggs (tiny and whitish - use a magnifier to see them), droppings (several black spots in the same area - will not flake off if rubbed and will not smear if wiped with a wet rag) or markings (black marks and blood spots).


How to get rid of bedbugs
Of course you can hire a professional but in case you are adventurous you can always try exterminating them in a number of ways:

  • Steam them up! You may get a simple device capable of generating steam at your local hardware store. You may also convert a simple electric kettle to a steam machine by attaching a flexible tube. Steam should kill all bedbugs and the eggs. Thoroughly spray steam at all corners and seams.
  • Wash bed linens and clothes using the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric. Smaller items that cannot be laundered can sometimes be de-infested by heating. Individual items, for example, can be wrapped in plastic and placed in a hot, sunny location for at least a few days.
  • Bedbugs also succumb to cold temperatures below freezing, but the chilling period must be maintained for at least two weeks. Attempts to rid an entire home or apartment of bed bugs by raising or lowering the thermostat will be entirely unsuccessful.
  • Vacuum your house. This will remove bugs and eggs from mattresses, carpet, walls and other surfaces. Pay particular attention to seams, tufts and edges of mattresses and box springs, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpets. Afterward, dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed trash bag. Steam cleaning of carpets is also helpful for killing bugs and eggs that vacuuming may have missed.
  • Get rid of affected items. In some cases, infested mattresses and box springs will need to be discarded. Since bed bugs can disperse throughout a building, it also may be necessary to inspect adjoining rooms and apartments.

How to prevent bedbug infestation

  • Remove all clutter from your home, which makes finding bed bugs easier.
  • Wash and dry your bed linens often using the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.
  • Closely inspect any second-hand furniture for bed bugs before you bring it into your residence.
  • Inspect your home regularly – after a move-in, a trip, or guests stay overnight.
  • Before booking a hotel for you next trip, check the bedbug registry - a reliable and neutral platform for reporting their encounters with bed bugs.  

What is your experience with bedbugs?


Sources: Alltop | Wikipedia |Wikihow |