Bedbugs are tiny wingless insects that feed exclusively on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. The parasitic insects are so called because of their preference to live in bed mattresses, sofas and other soft furnishings in homes, shelters, hotels, offices, and a variety of public spaces. In recent times, the infestation of bedbugs in America has seen the resurgence after having virtually been eradicated and is now a major cause of concern.
Bedbugs are in the habit of feeding on the blood of humans when they are resting; either at sleep or protracted period of inactivity. The bed bugs actively look out for exposed skin, feed for around five minutes during which the bite is generally not noticed and hide once again in soft furnishings and other dark nooks and crannies. Since the effects of bites can take up to a week or even more to become visible, most people cannot figure out what bit them and attribute the bites to a variety of common insects like mosquitoes and fleas.
Signs of Bedbug Presence
The most significant sign of the presence of bedbugs is people waking up from sleep to find that they have been bitten. When that happens it is best to examine the space for bedbugs and their activity. Bedbugs are in the habit of hiding in dark corners of the bed and the box springs as also the creases in the linen, seams of the mattress, where they or their eggs can be found. Bedbugs are also commonly found in the corners of drawers, dressers, tables or desks in the bedroom or behind loose wallpaper sheets. You may also see their excrement in the form of reddish or brown spots and a coriander-like smell in case of a heavy infestation
It is very easy for homes to become contaminated with bedbugs because they travel along with human beings and their belongings. So they can come in with you from places that you have visited or even along with furniture – the older they are the more the chance of their being bug-ridden. Even new or vacant houses may have bedbugs as they travel well from one place to another and can survive without food for many months. Hotels, schools, and theaters are other prime locations for getting bedbug bites due to the number of people visiting them. A periodic schedule of pest management for schools, theaters, and offices is highly recommended.
What Happens After Being Bitten?
If you wake up to find that you have one or more red circles on your skin that may or may not itch a lot, then you may have been bitten by a bedbug. There is usually no perception of pain at the time of the bite because the bedbugs’ saliva contains an anesthetic, which however can cause an allergic reaction later resulting in red bumps on the skin surface. Many people do not display any signs of being bitten; in others, the symptoms become apparent after a week or more of the bite, while some people get severe allergic reactions the very next day. The variety of the reactions to bedbug bites makes it very difficult to ascertain whether the bite was by a bedbug or not unless corroborated by the sight of the insect itself or its droppings.
Health Issues of Bedbug Bites
While the severity of bedbug bite reaction varies widely; at the extreme, people may have very severe rashes and itching that may end up being the cause of secondary infections in the broken skin. While people who are bitten may find the bites to be extremely irritating, it is very fortunate that bedbugs do not infect human beings with any disease even though they carry no less than 40 pathogens. The rashes get resolved in about seven to fourteen days; the itching can be controlled by the application of topical creams containing cortisone. Secondary infections can be cured with oral antibiotics. Apart from the allergic reaction, the only other damage to human beings is usually mental and physical stress arising out of lack of sleep.
Author bio: Jake Mulligan is the owner of a pest control company that undertakes integrated pest management for schools in addition to homes and offices. Jake employs the very latest in pest control techniques for enduring effect.