There are several species of bed bugs, but the only one currently in Hawaii is the Common Bed Bug. Many years ago bed bugs were hardly ever heard about. Today, the rate of technology and the speed at which people travel has allowed the bed bug to travel just as fast! Like the guys on the sides of roads, bed bugs hitchhike on anything they can cling to – clothes, furniture, suitcases, whatever – until they eventually end up in, on, or around a bed. Don’t let it be your bed because I can tell you without a doubt that bed bugs do not make good bed partners.
As part of the blood-feeding family of arthropods, bed bugs look the same at any stage of life, just a little smaller when newly hatched. An adult bed bug is about 3/8” and wingless, but big enough to be seen by the naked eye. Female bed bugs lay 1-5 eggs every day. Dependent upon the source you read, bed bugs live from 147 days to 18 months. This means that a female lays 200-500 sticky little white transparent eggs in her lifetime!
Do you have a bed bug infestation? The biggest sign of bed bug infestation is having bites on your body; most people have a very visible reaction to bed bug bites. The bitten area may become raised (kind of swollen-looking) and red, and there is usually a lot of itching the day after being bitten. Now, I’ll gross you out a bit: The itching is caused by saliva that the bed bugs inject into your skin while feeding on you. Worse, the saliva is used to keep your blood from coagulating while the nasty bed bug feeds on you. How gross is that?
Even worse, bed bugs get kind of messy. So another sign of infestation is blood spots on your sheets that are a result of either, (1) the bugs taking in more blood than they can consume, or (2) the bugs pooping on your sheets as they digest your blood.
A last good sign of infestation is a stinky odor: The State Department of Health described the smell as “spoiled raw beef and fruit mixed together.” Whatever the odor is described as, it doesn’t smell very good.
Treatment and control of bed bugs is just as hard as treatment and control of head lice. The following steps are a solid beginning to ridding your home of bed bugs.
1. Beds need to be stripped and all washable items washed in hot water and dried on high heat. Temperatures over 100° F will kill bed bugs.
2. Infested mattresses and box springs can be wrapped in dark plastic and left out in the sun for 4-8 hours. Just remember that the temperature inside the plastic needs to get to at least 100° F.
3. Pillows need to go in a dryer at high heat for a minimum of 20 minutes.
4. Any furniture in the vicinity of bed bug infestation needs to be emptied so it can also be inspected for bed bugs. Items like dressers or nightstands need to be emptied and everything in them washed and dried on very hot heat.
5. The entire room where bed bug infestation has been found should be vacuumed out very well. After vacuuming, the vacuum bag needs to be thrown away in a tightly sealed bag.
6. If you live in an apartment or connected townhome, your neighbors may have bed bugs too. It will be very difficult to get rid of bed bugs in an apartment if your “connected” neighbors don’t also check and take appropriate action.
7. Last is the use of insecticides, but only after all the above steps have been completed. A residual insecticide may be applied in cracks, crevices, holes, and other bed bug hiding places in the infested room.
If you still need help with a thorough inspection and appropriate treatment, please feel free to give us a call.