Bedbug Epidemic!

Elizabeth Larrick on September 24, 2010

In the last few years, the United States has seen an outbreak of bedbug infestations in hotels, motels, movie theaters, college dormitories,  hospitals and even, dressing rooms! One major outbreak was reported last Friday when the Niketown, a 95,000 square foot facility in New York City, New York was forced to close for four days after bedbugs were found in a part of the store. (Associated Press)  According to Tulsa World, two rooms at the St. Francis hospital in Tulsa were treated for bed bugs Thursday Sept. 23.

So what exactly is a bed bugThey are a tiny brown insect that can grow up to seven millimeters long, which makes them difficulty to spot, and feed on blood.  The bed bugs hide in mattresses, luggage, and any small crevice they can find until night when they come out to feed.  A bed bug will find any available host, small animal to human, to feed on and then return to a safe hiding place.  Most people do not realize they have been bitten by a bed bug because it looks and itches like many other type of insect bites.  Each person’s medical reaction is different from large swollen, itchy whelps that bleed to skin rashes to other allergic reactions.  Due to the similarity of symptoms with other insects, bed bugs go largely undetected for periods of time.  For example, a hotel room guest may wake up with bites but not suspect bed bugs and leave the hotel without reporting the incident to anyone. Then the next hotel guest stays in the same room unaware of the infestation.

How do you treat for bed bugs?  Bed bugs are a common pest that hotels, hospital, college dormitories, etc. will treat with pesticides on a regular basis.  However, bed bugs are highly resistant to pesticides and travel easily and quickly from one location to another.  One method that has been developed is heat, specifically temperatures over 140° Fahrenheit.  The pest cannot survive in temperatures at this level for long periods and die, regardless if the pest is an adult, juvenile or egg.

The best advice is to place newly purchased clothing or clothing from vacation in the dryer for at least thirty minutes.  As for your luggage, wrap it in plastic bags and do not carry into your home.  If your attic is hot enough, you can place the wrapped luggage in the attic. Otherwise, you should call an exterminator about the luggage.

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