The creatures don't have wings and they can't fly or jump. But their narrow body shape and ability to live for months without food make them ready stowaways and squatters. Bedbugs can easily hide in the seams and folds of luggage, bags and clothes. They also take shelter behind wallpaper and inside bedding, box springs and furniture. The ones that feed on people can crawl more than 100 feet (30 meters) in a night, but typically creep to within 8 feet (2.4 m) of the spot its human hosts sleep, according to the CDC.
A common concern with bed bugs is whether or not they transmit diseases. Although bed bugs can harbor various pathogens, transmission to humans has not been proven and is considered unlikely. Their medical significance is most commonly attributed to itching and inflammation from their bites. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce allergic reactions, and antiseptic or antibiotic ointments to prevent infection. Though not known to carry diseases, bed bugs can substantially reduce quality of life by causing discomfort, sleeplessness, anxiety, and embarrassment. According to some health experts, the added stress from living with bed bugs can have a significant impact on the emotional health and well-being of certain individuals.
If you live in an apartment or condominium, it’s best to alert the property manager. A coordinated bed bug control effort using a pest control company is generally needed in such situations. Bed bugs readily move from apartment to apartment, with many people unaware that they have a problem. If one apartment is infested, adjoining units (left side, right side, above and below) should be assumed to be infested unless shown otherwise through inspection or monitoring. Simply asking tenants whether they have bed bugs is not enough. In one recent study only half of apartment residents whose homes were determined to have bed, bugs knew (or admitted) they had a bed bug problem.
One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:
Desiccant dusts. Two low toxicity dusts with good effectiveness include silica aerogel and diatomaceous earth (DE). Both of these dusts are low risk to humans, and work by desiccating, or drying out, bed bugs that come in contact with it. Silica aerogel is, in some studies, superior for this purpose. It is sold under various trade names including Tri-Die™ and CimeXa™. Diatomaceous earth can also be effective. Look for DE for insect control–it is not the same product as diatomaceous earth used in swimming pool filters, which is dangerous to breath. Some pest control companies now use desiccant dusts extensively in bed bug control. These relatively inexpensive dust can be purchased online or in garden centers or hardware stores. Look for products labeled for indoor use and lightly dust all accessible crack, crevices and voids. A paint brush is useful for applying these dusts to seams and crevices in sofas and mattresses, along baseboards and inside drawers and dresssers.
A definitive diagnosis of health effects due to bed bugs requires a search for and finding of the insect in the sleeping environment as symptoms are not sufficiently specific. Bed bugs classically form a line of bites colloquially referred to as "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" and rarely feed in the armpit or behind the knee which may help differentiate it from other biting insects. If the number in a house is large a pungent sweet odor may be described. There are specially trained dogs that can detect this smell.
Turns out, C. lectularius is also forming a resistance to other insecticides, according to a study published online April 10, 2017, in the Journal of Economic Entomology. The researchers, from Purdue University, found that three out of 10 bedbug populations collected in the field showed much less susceptibility to chlorfenapyr, and five of the 10 populations showed reduced susceptibility to bifenthrin, according to a post on Entomology Today. The scientists defined "reduced susceptibility" as a population in which more than 25 percent of the begbugs survived after seven days of exposure to the particular insecticide.
To treat an allergic reaction, the doctor may prescribe an antihistamine, corticosteroid, or epinephrine injection. If the area is infected, he or she might prescribe an antibiotic or recommend an over-the-counter antiseptic. Finally, if it’s severe itchiness that you’re dealing with, applying corticosteroid or taking an antihistamine in pill or liquid form may be able to help.
Flat surfaces can be wiped with alcohol or sprayed with a bed bug—killing contact pesticide, but all items that have a small nook or cranny where bed bugs could hide (which is most stuff) need to be treated with penetrating fumes. Build yourself a kill chamber out of a large storage bin. Tape a pesticide strip to the side or lid of the bin, and seal your stuff inside for a couple days or however long the manufacturer recommends. Seal the lid of the bin with duct tape.