Bed bug infestations are a terrible thing to endure. Bed bugs are small insects that can infest homes or other structures. The most common species of bed bug is Cimex Lectalarius. Cimex Lectalarius is responsible for the majority of infestations in most climates. Recently, the “Tropical” bed bug has been located in parts of Florida. Bed bugs are small round, reddish brown insects that feed on human blood. Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are completely visible to the naked eye. Throughout the life cycle of a bed bug, evidence of their presence can be detected through ordinary care and proper training.
Where are bed bugs found?
Bed bugs are found around the world and can infest any structure or site where people may rest. Bed bugs tend to be more common in apartment buildings, other multi-family facilities, dormitories and hotels. Historically, they have also been found in public transportation systems and entertainment venues.
Bed bugs from tropical areas can be transported to non-tropical locations by international travelers, who unknowingly carry the insects on their clothing or luggage. Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans, they are attracted by warmth and carbon dioxide. Bed bugs tend to bite when a person is asleep or still for a long period of time. Bed bugs tend to favor cracks and crevices in mattresses, cushions, bed frames and in the folds of curtains or behind loose wallpaper. Bed bugs also hide and nest under peeling paint, floorboards or in clothing dressers, closets or any other dark location. During a heavy bed bug infestation, bed bugs will spread to other items and locations in one room and even to adjacent rooms or floors in a building.
Female bed bugs lay eggs in all of these locations. A female bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs. Bed bug eggs hatch within approximately 10 days. Once hatched, bed bug larvae are very small and translucent. Bed bug larvae are very difficult to see. Bed bugs will require a blood meal from a human host in order to grow and move to the next life cycle. Like every other living thing, bed bugs require food (blood) to grow and become adults. Before becoming an adult, a bed bug will shed its skin after eating a blood meal. These skins are visible to the naked eye and are good evidence that there is an ongoing bed bug infestation.
Reactions to Bed Bug Bites
It can take 5-10 minutes for a bed bug to complete a blood meal. Humans rarely notice that they are being bitten by a bed bug while it is happening. Bed bug saliva contains a numbing agent to prevent the host from realizing an attack is occurring. When feeding on a human, bed bugs will crawl up and feed on any exposed skin. Bed bug bites will often appear on the face, neck, arms, hands, legs and feet. These areas are most often exposed.
Bed bug bites often appear as a series of bites in a row or in small clusters. While the bed bug bite itself is painless, reactions to bed bug bites vary greatly. Some people have few or no symptoms. Others will experience a mild to severe reaction. Typically, bed bug bites appear as small, red and swollen areas on the skin, often with a point or dot visible in the center. This area is usually intensely itchy and can resemble hives or other allergic reaction.
Occasionally a reaction to a bed bug bite is delayed up to 10 days. This occurrence can lead to confusion regarding where and when the person came in contact with the infestations. This is why searching a hotel room, apartment or furniture is so important prior to accepting it as your own. Without treatment, bed bug bites can take weeks or months to heal. New bites are likely to accumulate even as the older ones disappear as long as the infestation is still present.
Bites may become infected, particularly if the person scratches at it and further irritates the skin. People affected by bed bugs experience significant levels of stress and anxiety as a result of the bites. The most common psychological complaint is the feeling of bugs on the skin or fear of spreading the infestation further. This results in loss of sleep and appetite. Many of our clients have been forced to miss several days of work due to their injuries and after effects. Feelings of panic, depression, extreme anxiety or despair should be dismissed with a healthcare provider if they persist after the bed bug attack
Do I have bed bugs?
Bed bug bites can be difficult to distinguish from other insect bites. However, several clues can suggest the presence of bed bugs. The discovery of red, itchy bites upon awakening particularly if the bites form a row or small cluster. The pattern of the bites should arouse suspicion. Other evidence of a bed bug infestation are black spots on mattresses, shed bed bug skins, live bugs or a musty citrusy odor present in the suspected room. The black spots are fecal matter excreted by the bed bug after feeding. As we discussed earlier, bed bugs will shed their skins when they grow to the next life cycle. A very heavy infestation will give off a distinct citrusy odor.
Can bed bugs carry disease?
Bed bugs are not known as carriers of disease. Each time a bed bug feeds, it sheds its skin which includes its mouth. The mouth, which is in the shape of a needle is shed and a new needle is used each time it feeds. There is some evidence that bed bugs can be transmitters of Chagas disease, but this is in extremely rare circumstances.
Bed Bug Management
Bed bug bites can be treated with over the counter lotions or creams. Bed bug bite injuries can also be treated with prescription antihistamines, steroids, creams and ointments. Bite sites can be covered to prevent persistent scratching.
Simply because new bites are not appearing and bite marks are healing, do not assume the infestation is not there. Bed bugs can go very long times without a blood meal. Bed bugs have been found to survive for months without a meal. In order to avoid further bites or infestations from spreading throughout your home, the answer is an experienced pest control professional. An experienced pest control professional should be able to identify and treat any bed bug infestation using a number of different treatment methods.
Contact a Bed Bug Attorney
If you believe you were attacked by bed bugs at a hotel, motel, resort, vacation rental or have purchased furniture infested with bed bugs, contact our office today to speak with a professional Bed Bug Attorney. We can evaluate your case and determine whether you have a claim for damages. The Attorneys at BedBugLaw.com are available for you any time of day or night. Please explore our website for more information.