While you're sleeping tight, creepy vampire bed bugs could be feasting on your blood. Fortunately, these common household pests from the old adage do not contribute to the spread of diseases and viruses. However, these creepy crawlies may cause severe itching, hives and blisters among some individuals and cause others sleeplessness from distress. Controlling bed bug infestations may prove difficult in hotels and apartments where it is easy for the bugs to travel between rooms and apartment units through tiny crevices in walls and under doors.
Signs of Infestations
Bed bugs leave bites that appear as pink spots with red centers on the flesh of their recent prey and usually leave those sometimes-itchy bites on the face, neck, hands and arms of human prey. Aside from bites, you may also notice a bed bug infestation by locating live bed bugs, skin castings, (from where the bed bug molts) corpses, eggs and excrement on the seams of mattresses and chair cushions, behind headboards and under or in carpeting. Additional signs of bed bugs include rust-colored, dried bloodstains on mattresses, pillows and sheets from squished bed bugs.
Bed bugs are oval-shaped, flat and reddish-brown in color when fully grown, while young bedbugs---called nymphs---have little color after hatching and grow darker as they reach maturity. Adult bed bugs may appear darker red in color after feeding on a pet or human host. Bed bugs feed via a sharp, straw-like probe they use to pierce the skin and then suck blood from human or pet hosts. Although bed bugs have wings, they are flightless insects that crawl rapidly. They hide in crevices during the day, where several bed bugs may congregate.
Apartment renters should notify their landlords and building supervisors immediately after noticing a bed bug infestation. Even if other renters have not noticed the insects, it is possible that the bed bugs may spread into additional apartment units by traveling through crevices in walls or under doorways and through communal hallways. Landlords and building supervisors will generally treat bed bug infestations by hiring exterminators to spray the building as well as each apartment unit. In most cases, these services are paid for by the landlord or building supervisor and changes do not fall to apartment renters. If exterminators are not available immediately, apartment owners may choose to launder clothing and bedding immediately at high temperatures to kill bed bugs and their eggs. Extreme high and low temperatures, over a few hours of days can also be used to destroy adult bed bugs, nymphs and incubating bed bug eggs.
Prevent bed bug infestations by being vigilant when travelling and monitoring your apartment closely for signs of bed bugs. Bed bug problems may seemingly arise spontaneously, however people living in apartments may notice bed bugs when they or their neighbors return from traveling, especially international travel. To prevent bed bug infestations in your apartment building, always inspect hotel rooms when traveling, bag dirty clothing on your return home and immediately launder dirty clothes upon returning home. Keep your luggage off beds and floors and use luggage stands to prevent bed bugs from hitch-hiking home with you.