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Bed Bugs: Facts, Identification & Control|
Bed bugs are flat, reddish-brown, oval insects about 3/16-inch long or the size of an apple seed. Swollen and reddish after a blood meal.
Cracks and crevices including mattress seams, sheets, furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames. Often found in hotels, where they can travel from room to room and in visitors’ luggage.
Feed on blood.
Females can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live up to a year.
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not a sanitation issue. They don’t discriminate and can be found in any hotel and any home, regardless of size, hygiene, or cleanliness, as well as dormitories and cruise ships.
Once a bed bug finds its way indoors, it can move from room to room by traveling on clothing and luggage or through pipes and vacuum cleaners . This tendency to hitch-hike — as well as a bed bug’s ability to survive for long periods of time without a blood meal — makes proper prevention and control steps even more important.
Experts believe bed bugs’ recent increase in prevalence in the U.S. is due to an increase in international travel. That, combined with increased media coverage on bed bugs, has also heightened awareness of these blood-sucking pests among the general public.
Bed Bug Bites
While bed bugs are not known to carry disease, they can leave behind itchy, bloody welts and can cause allergic reactions. Bedbug bites can be distinguished from other insects by their orderly rows, likely caused by a single bug.
Bites tend to disappear within a few days, some individuals may experience extreme irritation and rashes. If you develop a rash after being bitten by a bedbug, avoid scratching the affected area. Antibiotic creams may help to alleviate itching and decrease the odds of infection. If the rash persists or becomes infected, contact a medical professional immediately.
Vacuuming and laundering at high temperatures provides short-term relief, but if there are bedbugs on a mattress cover, it is likely that bedbugs and their eggs are also present within the mattress, sheets and elsewhere within a home. Although vinyl covers are also sometimes used to prevent mattress infestation, bedbugs can thrive in a variety of locations indoors.