Bedbugs take a big bite

By Shayna Brouker • Published: October 5th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The bedtime sign-off “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite” is hitting closer to home as the national bedbug epidemic worsens.

A recent poll of pest control companies by the National Pest Management Association found that calls to exterminators requesting bedbug butchery increased by fifty-seven percent over the past five years. The scene of the crime? The pests have been multiplying in houses, apartments and condos, hotels and motels. Exterminators also responded to office buildings, hospitals and schools. Why the sudden rise?

Experts say the parasites have developed a resistance to repellants and spread wherever humans go, latching on to clothes, furniture and luggage. They hide out in the seams and folds of bed linens until dawn, then feast on the blood of unsuspecting sleeping humans.

So how can you tell if you’ve got a bedbug problem? The first sign is itchy, red clustered bites on your body. You may also notice dark brown or reddish spots, their fecal matter, in the crevices of bedding, box frames and on walls. Live bedbugs range in color from white to reddish brown, are a quarter of an inch long, flat and round in shape. If you find them crawling in your covers, call an exterminator for confirmation and treatment.

Though bothersome, bedbug bites do not spread diseases. But to avoid the pests altogether, you should carefully inspect any used furniture before bringing it into your home. Reduce clutter and don’t leave laundry on the floor. After traveling, wash your clothes in hot water and scrub your luggage. Keeping a watchful eye… and a clean home… will help you “sleep tight.” And most importantly, we hope, bite-free!