What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs or Cimex lectularius are tiny insects that feed on people’s blood, although they can also bite other mammals or birds. Three thousand five hundred years ago, the ancient Egyptians lived with this annoying parasite, which usually bites at night.
Although the introduction of pesticides in the middle of the last century significantly reduced their incidence, in recent years, their infestations have become increasingly frequent in developed countries. This is explained, in part, by the more significant international mobility of the population, the higher population density in large cities, the increased resistance of these parasites to some pesticides and the prohibition of others.
Where are they found?
Bed bugs carry out their biological cycle within homes and buildings, rural and urban environments, and any social or economic status.
In fact, in recent years, infestations in hotels, hostels and houses have been shared. These parasites can also be present in public transport since they travel between the suitcases, clothes and belongings of tourists and travellers.
Proliferate Rapidly in Environment
In this way, they can increase rapidly in new environments if the conditions they find are favourable. They can also move from one space to another using pipes and electrical conduits since, as mentioned, they are good runners.
As they avoid light during the day, they take shelter in mattresses, bed frames, sofas and textiles – sheets, blankets, pillows, cushions, clothing. They can also take cover behind the wallpaper on the walls or the pictures that hang from them, on baseboards, plugs, cracks in walls and floors, books, electrical appliances, and pins.
Keys to preventing or controlling bed bugs:
To avoid or control bed bug infestations, it is crucial to prevent their presence in homes and, especially, in bedrooms:
- Learn to detect them. If you wake up with bites, check for blood stains on your clothing or bed. Also, look for tiny black spots, as bed bugs defecate while biting or right after.
- Vacuum frequently and better days if you have detected them. Vacuum every room in the house without leaving baseboards and any gaps, such as under radiators. In general, try to keep your home tidy, so bed bugs have a more challenging time finding a place to hide.
- Keep your walls spotless. It is recommended to repair or fill any cracks or crevices in walls, ceilings and floors. Also, try to seal the spaces between the walls and the baseboards or the jambs of doors and windows. The good idea is to do without the wallpaper to decorate the walls and, if there are already, make sure they are well glued.
- Use allergy-free mattress covers and pillows. On the one hand, they will prevent bed bugs from penetrating inside. On the other hand, it will be easier to detect them. You can create a kind of safe area around the bed, leaving enough space (about a foot) with objects or furniture to prevent them from using them on the way to the bed. To prevent them from climbing up the legs towards the bed, bed bug interceptors can be used. They are elements that are located at the base of the legs and act as traps. The portions can even be impregnated with petroleum jelly to prevent them from climbing upon them.
- Change and wash bedding frequently. Remember to do it at least once a week. Afterwards, wash it at a minimum temperature of 60 degrees. If you have it, dry it in the dryer. In case of infestation, also wash clothing and stuffed animals in the room. If there’s something you can’t fly right away, store it in a sealable plastic bag until you can.
- Do not carry objects from one room to another. If you suspect that these parasites may have infested your home, do not carry items, bedding, or clothing from room to room, as you could be carrying bed bugs with you.
- When travelling, inspect the room well before settling in. If you notice any sign that may alert you to the presence of bed bugs, it is best to ask to change your stay.
- Do not place the suitcase on the bed. If there are bed bugs in it, they can infest your luggage and bring the infestation home. It also cannot be on the ground. The best place is to use the luggage racks available in many hotels or, failing that, to leave the suitcase on a table or desk. Take the clothes out of the bag and hang them in the closet, if possible. Keep the briefcase in quarantine in a little-used room and put all the dirty clothes directly in the washing machine when you return home.
- Be careful when buying clothes or furniture in second-hand markets. Or even do not collect mattresses, sofas or armchairs from the street because other people could have discarded them because they contain bed bugs hidden in the fabric. If you are the one who suffers from the infestation and you take these bulky ones to the street to be removed, mark them with the word “bed bugs” so that no one reuses them.
- Don’t use homemade insecticides. You could put your health and those of yours at risk. In addition, bed bugs are a persistent and challenging pest to exterminate. So it should done by a company specialized in this task.
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