Bed Bugs.... the mother fuckers.
A bed bug is a small, flat, brown, little bug that feeds off of blood. It gets it's food, from you. It robs you in your sleep by sneaking into your room at night, creeping into your bed, and then BITING you (and not in the vampiric romantic kind of way). Then the little insect scurries away to hide... or lay eggs so more little thieves can steal your precious blood.
What is a bed bug?
What is a bed bug?
Now, what makes this a bad thing (because honestly, who's going to miss a pinprick of blood?) is what they leave behind. When they bite you, they leave a mark, much like a mosquito would. It's a small red bump that, in my experience, itches and looks like you got hit with an ugly stick. Multiple bites mean multiple marks, which means multiple itches and the more you look like you have some kind of disease.
They also leave behind excrement on your bed, pillows, walls, floors. This starts to look like black "mold" and can get really nasty.
The StartGetting bed bugs isn't that hard to do. You want them? Well, go shopping! Many outfits have them in them. Don't believe me? Well, you should read this article. But basically the buggers will hide in the linings, almost undetectable. When you get home and hang up your outfit it waits for you to fall asleep. Then it finds you by the heat your body has and it's dinnertime! It finds a new place to hide and maybe starts making friends… if it didn't all ready come with some.
You can also get them sitting on a bus, staying the night in a not so bug proof hotel, a movie theater, spending the night at a lovers, watching a friends pets, or even taking laundry home from the laundry mat. If you live in an apartment complex, you're screwed, those hallways, walls, ceilings are a highway calling for a bedbug to drive along.
How to NOT Get ThemBed Bugs like to travel which means they like to stay in hotels. Some are fancy enough to stay in five star hotels, but they'll settle for any. If you happen to be staying in a hotel, I would check the mattress and areas around the bed for signs of them. If it's obvious they are there, I would ask for a different room in a different area of the hotel and check again, or just get a different hotel if you can.
Even if you don't see them, I'd stick to putting my bag on the metal bag rack. Bugs apparently have a hard time crawling up on it. Or, in the bathtub, or just wrap it in plastic when you aren't using it. I would keep all my clothes in it as well, and wouldn't consider hanging them up in the closet or throwing them on the ground.
Once you get home from your travels, wash all your clothes immediately and I would keep the luggage in storage or vacuum the loving hell out of it.
Also, it's recommended that when you buy clothes to just toss them in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes before adding your new clothes to the closet. The heat has to get up to 120 degrees or more, or this won't work. You should also check clothes before buying them for any sticky eggs, unusual stains, blood spots, or the bugs itself. (I personally always have inspected clothing before buying it).
As for getting them in the movie theaters, bus seats, etc... this is rare, but it has been a theory that it can happen. The bugs like to hang out where humans hang out. They will move from luggage, bags, and clothing of other people to you. I'd simply move around a lot, brush myself off when getting up, and make sure you don't have folds in your clothing. (My friend was disgusted when she found a bed bug on the bottom of her jeans once while out at dinner... scary huh?
I'd also avoid buying second hand furniture, but if you must you must. Check the furniture for the signs of them and then clean them when you get home and give it a good spray before you set it up.
How do you know if you have them?If you think you may have them because you feel them crawling on you at night or swear you have the little bumps, then it's time to check your room. Start with the mattress, lift it up and check under it. Check the seams and any folds it may have. See the bugs? See any black excrement? No? Well, keep looking elsewhere.
Check the bedspring, the underside of drawers, the lining in the walls, behind picture frames, the cracks around the outlets, blankets, moldings. You know what, just check anywhere you wouldn't think to look. They are attracted to heat, so electric cords are a common place for them to hide. They like to hide in dark places, so anything that creates a small dark area is a great place to look. You may find them in your bed WITH you if you pay attention at night.
What do you do if you have them?What if you have bed bugs? Well my friend, you're going to hate my answer, because it ain't pretty. You can start by getting an exterminator. This can cost a lot of money, and in my experience doesn't do a damn thing. They'll come in, check everything out, and spray the rooms, clean under the drawers, pictures and bed. Spray around the outlets and maybe caulk any random holes in the walls or areas of entry. Charge you an arm and a leg and then leave. At first you'll think they're gone, but they'll be back because they can hide well when the fumes start going.
Where do they hide? They hide in your clothes that are in your closet or drawers. They can bury themselves into a mattress or the stuffy you really like. If they have eggs hidden well enough, all they need to do is hatch, grow and start eating again. Then you'll cry and have to demand that the exterminator come back. If you're lucky, you caught them in time, if not... well... plan B.
Plan BPlan B is a little simpler; its called Diatom Dust XR. It's a powder that bed bugs don't like. It cuts threw their bones and suffocates them. All they need to do is walk threw it. It's recommended that you use it around the outlets, in the folds of your beds and then make a circle around the legs of your bed. Bed bugs can't fly or jump (thank god), so when they need to feed they will have to walk threw the powder to get onto your bed.
This method takes a while and if they are living directly in your bed it won't work.. It's suggested trying it, but I won't make any promises.
The Rich Person PlanPay someone to heat your entire house to 140 degrees for a few hours. Live comfortably. This will cost about $2,000 for a smaller apartment or home. (Or at least that's what I've seen...some say it can cost $700... but not in Colorado).
Plan C... Dear God what did I get myself into.So, here it is. This is the ultimate way to get rid of the fuckers. In my experience the ONLY way to get rid of the fuckers. Are you ready? You better be because it's going to make you cry.
You start by getting every item of clothing from your house. Every fabric you can find (including the curtains, blankets, sleeping bags, etc...) and bag them. Don't leave anything behind. I'd even recommend getting the pillows, stuffed animals, couch covers! Take them to the laundry mat. Clean all of them. (It's also said you can just stuff everything in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes). Once you get them out of the laundry machine, bag them, and DUCT TAPE the top of the bag. Nothing gets in, nothing gets OUT.
Once you do that, return home. Caulk around the light switches, outlets, or open spots in the walls. Get all of it. Move all the furniture away from the walls, pull apart the bed so the mattress is up all the way, pull apart the couch, open all the cupboards and take everything out of them. If you have dishes, I recommend putting them in plastic wrap. Leave no stone (Or piece of furniture) unturned.
House looks terrible? You might be doing it right. If you have that powder, run it along all the walls and around all the furniture. Buy Raid's Deep Reach Concentrated Fogger and bomb the WHOLE house. Attic and basement included. Make sure all the fabric you own is in a bag sealed tight. Bombing may scatter the bugs, which is why everything is spread and pulled apart and still bagged!
Leave your house, and return to put it all back together. I'd spray the mattress, couch cushions, pillows with isopropyl alcohol (91%). Spray the wall linings, around the outlets. If you see any of the bugs moving around on the floor, KILL THEM! Spray things with Clorox, off bug spray, and soak (or steam clean) the mattresses and cushions. Use alcohol on those too, and if necessary get a new mattress.
Now, Vacuum all the floors, furniture and throw away the bag the moment it is full. Dust the furniture, clean the carpets with a steamer to get really deep down in them. Scrub your house like the bubble boy is about to visit and leave his bubble!
Wait two weeks, and do it all over again. (Of course, you could leave the clothing in bags sealed tight to avoid that part again).
Then buy a mattress bag and bag it just in case. Make sure it says Bed Bug Allergy Protection.
Was Plan C too much?Yes, It may seem like overkill but that is the only thing that worked for me. I baby-sat my friend’s pets when they had an exterminatornator at their place for bed bugs. I guess no one thought to check the rat cage for bugs, because they started in Riana's room and worked their way over to mine. We tried a lot of things... I mean a lot of things. We finally got tired of the bites, and got dirty with it. It was aggravating, annoying, not so much fun, and it did cost a bit of money. It did get the job done though. I haven' seen a bug in MONTHS nor have I been bitten. I'm sure there are some competent exterminators out there, but no one I know that has used one seems to have managed to get rid of the bugs for more than a month. Some of them have an “I’ll be back” thing going where they come and get persistent, but so far anyone who has tried this hasn’t had any luck either. My friends said the exterminator came 5 different trips said they would be fine, and then a month later they saw the bugs scurrying away again.
If you have another way to get rid of them (that you are sure works) by all means, leave it in the comments.
- A bed bug can survive a year without feeding.
- A bed Bug hates heat, 120 degrees or more will kill them when exposed to it for a period of time.
- Bed bug infestations have increased 71% since 2001.
- Occasionally “bed bug” problems are actually caused by bat or bird bugs that can be found in buildings that have bats or birds living in the structure
- Repeated exposure to bed bug bites may cause some people to become sensitized to the saliva and result in mild to intense allergic reactions.
- Eggs are white in color and approx. 1 mm in length and glued to the surface they are laid on.
- Eggs hatch in 6 to 10 days
- The newly hatched nymph (approx. 1.5 mm) is white to pale yellow until their first blood meal after which they become reddish-brown in color.
- Development time from first nymph stage to sexually mature adult is 35 to 48 days under favorable environmental conditions.
- Female bed bugs lay 1 to 5 eggs after each blood meal and can lay a total of 200 eggs during its lifetime of approximately 9 to 18 months.
- It takes a bed bug about 5 to 10 minutes to finish a blood meal. The bites are painless, so the host is unaware they are being bitten.
- Waking up with red, itchy bug bites. Bed bugs are intermittent feeders and may feed, move to a new spot and feed again. A pattern of 3 bites in a row is a reported characteristic of bed bug bites.
- Housekeeping: minimize floor clutter (e.g., boxes, books, clothing, etc.) to reduce the number of bed bug hiding places.