Don’t let the bed bugs bite…

Q - I read where bed bugs are becoming a huge problem again. How do I know if I have them and what can I do to get rid of them? -Laura in Atlanta

A - It’s true. Bed bugs are becoming a huge problem again with reports of infestations up. And, as we get out and start to travel more, that means bed bug reports will go up even more.

A bed bug is a tiny critter that feeds on the blood of warm-blooded animals. Your home can become infested in a number of different ways:

- From bugs and eggs that “hitch hiked in” on clothing and luggage (see 5 Things for ways to help make your trip bed bug free)

- From infested items (e.g. furniture, clothing) that you brought into your home

- From nearby dwelling or infested items

- From wild animals and pets

The bed bug does not confine itself to your bed or bedroom. It will travel within your home looking for you, or some other warm blooded animal, on which to feed.

If you think you may have a bed bug infestation, examine the area closely. Bed bugs will usually lodge in dark crevasses and eggs can be found in the fabric of your furniture. Aside from bite symptoms, signs include fecal spots, blood smears on sheets, and moults.

- Note - Only about half the time do you even realize, or feel the bite of the bed bug. Generally, you will find a rash, or an itchy patch of skin on your body.

Once your house is infested, you pretty much need the help of a professional pest control company to rid your house.

For me, the real nuisance of the bed bug is that once infesting your house, removing them can be very time consuming. Furniture often must be taken apart to ensure that the pest control company can begin their work. It can be tedious work and it needs to be done very thoroughly.

Pest control companies will use a series of vacuums and poisons to eradicate the pest from your home. The treatment may take a couple of visits, plus a couple more inspections to make sure they have taken care of your problem.

This is a problem that won’t go away on its own, so stay on top of it!

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