What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small nocturnal insects that feed on the blood of humans and other warm blooded mammals. While bed bugs are found world-wide, they are typically located in areas that are inhabited by people. Bed bugs are flat and oval in shape, ranging from 4 to 7 millimeters, and are usually red-brown in color.
Where do they come from?
While they can come from any number of places, most infestations spread through contact with bedding and furniture in hotels, motels and anywhere else there is high turnover in sleeping accommodations. They can be unwittingly transported in clothing or luggage, and usually dwell in the crevices of fabrics and upholstery.
How do they feed?
Being nocturnal, bed bugs will normally come out to feed at night. Crawling out from an individual’s mattress, they can sense heat and will crawl up to 30 feet in one night to reach a food supply. Once the beg bugs detect bare skin, they will inject the human with two tubes. One tube releases an anti-coagulant (blood thinner) and the second will draw the blood. Bed bugs will typically feed at one spot for approximately five minutes before returning to where they were hiding. Most bed bugs will survive for up to 18 months without feeding, but they will search out food every five to ten days. A healthy colony of bed bugs can leave an individual with dozens or even hundreds of bites in just one night. Some people are more sensitive to the bites than others and it is typical to be left with a number of itching red bite marks that are uncomfortable and unsightly. Depending on the individual’s sensitivity, the bites can show up within hours or even days of being bitten.
How can bed bugs be detected?
The first sign of a bed bug infestation is the distinct and pungent aroma that emanates from the insect’s fecal matter. This fecal matter can also show up on bed spreads as a number of small black dots. If either of these things are noticed, it is important to make a thorough visual inspection of the bedding and surrounding areas. Bed bugs will typically be found in the crevices of mattresses, although they may inhabit the inside of the mattress and box spring as well.
How can I keep but bugs out of my mattress, and how can I rid my mattress of a current infestation?
The best way to treat a mattress for a bed bug infestation is with a high quality mattress protector. The mattress protector seals existing pests and parasites inside the mattress where they cannot feed on humans, or go on to infest other areas. A good mattress protector will also prevent new infestations from beginning in the mattress and box spring by making it impossible for them to enter the area to begin with. This will not only end the feeding cycle of bed bugs residing in infested bedding, but will prevent the issue from recurring in the future.
Can a business be held accountable for allowing it’s guests to be bitten?
Absolutely. With the recent resurgence of bed bug infestations in the hospitality industry, there have been several multi-million dollar lawsuits resulting from guests who were bitten in their sleep hundreds of times in just one night. When an institution neglects to protect it’s customers from pest infestations, legal actions have been taken.
The number of hotels and apartment buildings with bed bug problems is growing rapidly, and becoming a huge concern for businesses and landlords everywhere.