What Causes Bed Bugs? Some Common Facts.

Bed bugs are a growing pest problem all across the US and many other countries in the world. These little guys were actually wiped out pretty well in the mid-1900s in the US but as any insect does, they’ve repopulated slowly but surely and have come back in force. We used to use very harsh insecticides on them and those have long since been banned so these particular bugs have decided they really want to be our unwanted roommates once again.

The actual origin of bed bugs is simple. They feed on us and have evolved to do so over hundreds of thousands of years just like other human specific parasites. We’re their food source and they need us to survive and breed. Hundreds of years ago, bed bugs could spread among towns and would become a nuisance quickly but this was a slow process and many areas remained free of these pests. Today we have very fast travel between cities and other countries and all it takes is a couple sneaky bugs in our luggage that slipped in during our last trip. Next thing you know, you and maybe even your entire apartment building is the main course.

Bed Bugs and Travel

Obviously, if you live in a bed bug free home and don’t travel much, you won’t get them this way. For the person on the go, maybe choosing that discounted motel by the freeway wasn’t the best idea during your last trip. Hotels and motels are pretty thorough about checking mattresses and bedding but sometimes you won’t notice something as small as this pest. Someone checks in with some in their favorite pillow they bring, leave a couple and the next person takes them home and so on. They can spread extremely fast this way and you can even hear reports of busses having small outbreaks now and then.

When traveling, take a moment to inspect your mattress and linens before you lay down for the night. Look for bugs and droppings. If it’s all clear, you should be just fine. If you wake up with a line of bites or little red bumps that weren’t there before, it’s time to be very suspicious and you might ask a housekeeper or manager to help you check things out. It’s in their best interest to be aware of this as well.

Used Furniture

Probably the most common way to spread bed bugs in a single area is used furniture. Couches, chairs, mattresses, box springs, clothing, linens and pillows are the prime suspects here. It’s often not even a cleanliness issue; it’s a simple issue of not knowing they were even there. Sometimes people can live with these pests for months without even realizing it blaming red bumps on spiders or a change in detergent and things like this.

Garage and yard sales are hard for many of us to resist but the sunlight is a great place to check that mattress out. Flip it around, look in all the nooks and crannies. Take couch cushions off and look around thoroughly. Shake those sheets out. If there’s something there, you should be able to spot it. Use discretion and if you really have to have that flowered couch from 1978, quarantine it in your garage for a couple days and give it a good inspection at different times of day, especially at night when these little guys are most active.

Bed bugs can spread from person to person in rare cases but this doesn’t happen much at all. Keep track of noteworthy news items in your area and if you see a sudden rise in cases, be on alert when buying used goods or traveling. Utilize some at home remedies or call a professional when things get out of hand or you don’t want to deal with this nuisance yourself.

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