Bed Bugs, Not Just a Bedtime Story

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Pepper, our bed bug sniffing dog

Once upon a time bed bugs were only mentioned in childhood rhymes. These days bed bugs are a very real nuisance.  In the last ten years there has been a steady increase in the amount of bed bug infestations in Wisconsin and throughout the United States.

Historically, bed bugs have been around for centuries. Documentation has been found going back as far as the 17th century when sailors complained of bed bugs sharing cabins with them on ships. In the United States the problem with bed bugs was very common until about the time of World War II, when pesticides like DDT caused infestations to deplete.

So why the rise of numbers of bed bugs in the last century? Experts believe it has to do with the procedures exterminators use these days. DDT was banned in the 1970’s and since then the pest control industry has switched to less hazardous, eco-friendly methods like baiting, instead of using harsh chemicals to treat for insect infestations. The rise also has to do with the increasing number of people who travel worldwide and bring bed bugs to and from where they are traveling, transporting via person, luggage and clothing.

Most people associate bed bugs with uncleanly situations, but in actuality, bed bugs can infest even the cleanest of environments.

Bed bugs, or cimex lectularius; as they are technically known, have not been proven to be harmful, but they are a nuisance and feed on human blood. Bed bugs are usually about a quarter of an inch long, although after feeding, they can grow to three times their normal size – and are reddish brown in color.

Infestations of bed bugs can grow and spread very quickly since a female bed bug can lay up to 5 eggs a day and 500 in her lifetime. Professional help is often necessary and new innovations such as heat treatments and bed bug sniffing dogs are becoming more popular to rid homes, hotels and other buildings of bed bugs.

Heat treatments are a method of treatment that is increasing in popularity. By heating up a room(s) from 120-135 degrees Fahrenheit, the complete life-cycle of the bed bug is eradicated by the intense heat.  This is typically done in a one-time treatment and without the use of chemicals, a quick way to stop infestation in its tracks.

“Goodnight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” isn’t just a silly phrase for many these days, but it’s good to know there’s help out there so you can effectively eliminate these nasty nuisances.

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1 Comment

Filed under Bed Bugs

One response to “Bed Bugs, Not Just a Bedtime Story

  1. Pingback: Bed Bug Misconceptions-Putting them to Rest | safewayblog

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