Ever heard the saying, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!” before you went to bed? If you are like most people, the answer is probably a quick yes. Furthermore, if you have been paying attention to the news in recent years, you have probably noticed quite a few stories about bed bugs. Bed bugs are nasty little critters that have six legs, hide during the day, and drink your blood at night. The typical bed bug is a reddish-brown insect that grows to be about 0.2 inches big. When they bite you, bed bugs inject you with an anticoagulant so that the blood keeps flowing as they drink. This anticoagulant also contains a numbing agent so that the bedbug victim does not feel it while the bed bug attacks.
While bed bugs are not known to spread disease to humans, they can act as a host carrier and transfer Hepatitis B as well as Chagas’ disease. Bed bug bites typically affect only the surface of your skin, and are quite itchy and red. Even if you do not contract a disease from any of the bed bug bites you may have endured, they are nasty little welts that you can usually treat yourself. However, if you have an excessive amount of bed bug bites, you will definitely want to see your doctor. You will also want to check with your doctor if you feel that you are having an allergic reaction.
There are several risk factors which can increase your chances of experiencing a and attack. These factors include the climate, the type of housing you have, and if you live with pets, which are excellent bed bug carriers. Bed bugs typically thrive in tropical areas, but can be found all over the world. Bed bugs often travel from climate to climate when they attach themselves to the luggage of travelers. Bed bugs are also the happiest in apartments and homeless shelters, which have a higher turnover than houses and other types of living quarters.
When traveling, it is important to keep an eye out for bed bug infestations when staying at even the nicest hotels. You may remember a story in the news back in 2006 in which a woman sued a hotel after she suffered more than 500 bed bug bites. Leslie Fox, a Chicago woman, sued the Nevele Hotel in Ellenville, New York for more than $20 million after she claims that she was practically eaten alive during her four nights at the hotel. Fox’s experience is not the only bed bug outbreak in the United States in recent years, as several outbreaks have been documented in New York alone.
In late 2007, there was another bed bug epidemic in New York City, which affected a Park Avenue penthouse, a Central Park West duplex (a $25 million duplex!), a theatre on Broadway, and even an artist’s colony in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. With bed bugs, there is no social separation and they certainly don’t care if you are rich or poor, clean or unkempt. As long as you have blood, they will drink it. In 2007, New York City experienced more than 6,800 infestation complaints and thousands of building owners were hit with summonses.
One of the most recent instances of bed bugs in the news was literally in the news – Fox News that is. In March 2008 it was reported that the Midtown Manhattan newsroom maintained by Fox News had become infested with bed bugs. Although it did take several weeks, sources at the newsroom have shared with the public that Fox News is now bed bug free!
Aside from bites on the skin in the morning, there are other signs that you may have a bed bug infestation in your home. You should keep a lookout for small bloodstains on sheets and mattresses, which result from the bed bug bites. Also, you may see specks of blood behind wallpaper and other areas where the bed bugs may congregate. You should also look for insect excrement where the bed bugs may hide. Lastly, bed bugs secrete an oil that has an intense sweet odor.
If you think you might have a bed bug infestation in your home, you will definitely need to have your home inspected either by you or a professional. It is important to remember that bed bugs are active only at night, so during the day it may be a little more difficult for you to locate them, so it may be beneficial to do the search at night. When you do inspect your home, be sure to check in mattresses, furniture, bedding, and the crevices of walls. It is from these areas that the bed bugs will emerge at night to feast on your blood as you sleep and relax. Waking up in the morning with small bites all over your body is a sure sign you may have a bed bug infestation.
From Ellis M. in GA-
My wife and I travel a lot and we’ve recently seen a trend of hotels claiming they are bed bug free. I didn’t even know bed bugs were still a problem in this country. But then sure enough, in a hotel in New York, we had a bed bug problem in our room.
My wife woke up in the middle of the night and jumped out of the bed screaming! “Something is crawling on me! Something is crawling on me!” I figured it was he imagination and told her to go back to sleep. She made me turn on the lights and sweep the bed sheets. There was nothing there so we went back to sleep.
A few hours later when we woke up, both of us had welts all over our legs and back. Immediately, I knew it was bed bugs & I called the front desk. They offered to move us to a new room but my wife was convinced the whole hotel was infested. And I couldn’t disagree with her. So we checked out and moved to a new hotel.
I am currently trying to decide if we should seek damages. My lawyer is advising us to sue the hotel for some kind negligence. I will keep you posted with our progress.
My main concern with bed bugs in hotels is that people can carry the bugs in their luggage from hotel to hotel and city to city. I’m glad there are sites like your’s dedicated to education people about bed bugs. It really was a horrible experience and my wife has trouble sleeping in hotels and even in our own house sometimes. She’s paranoid that there are bugs everywhere and I can’t blame her. Unfortunately our jobs require us to travel several times a year. My wife wants to buy sleeping bags and just sleep on the floor at the hotels.
God help us!
From Richard Package in Houston-
I recently moved from San Francisco to Houston. I was having a house built and in the meantime, I lived in an apartment for three months. The first mroning in the apartment, I woke up with red welts the size of peas all over my legs. I thought maybe a mosquito had gotten under my bed sheets. But the next morning I woke up with more red marks on my chest and neck. These swollen red welts itched like crazy so I applied some Caladryl lotion and the itching stopped.
On the third morning, I woke up and had more bites all over my body. There were over 300 bites and I had to stay home from work because the itching was so intense that wearing a shirt was almost impossible. I called my doctor and she instructed me to wash all of my bedding and inspect the bed and matress. I did so and found nothing.
So I washed evrything really well and and even slept on the couch for a few days. I didn’t get any more bites on the couch so it was definitely confined to my bedroom or bed. I ended up calling a professional exterminator and he found bed bugs all over our mattress and bed skirt. I thought bed bugs were a myth…I didn’t know they actually existed. The exterminator got rid of the bugs with some kind of insecticide spray and powder. $400 later, the bed bugs were gone. The treatment actually worked and we haven’t seen any bed bugs since.
It took me three weeks to return to my normal sleep pattern. It would take me three hours to fall asleep and I’d wake up itching, sweating and scared even though nothing was in the bed. What an experience! I hope I never have to deal with these nasty critters ever again!
From Emma in Australia-
Over the last few nights now something is biting me all over my body and I think they go inside my ears too as my eyes, ears, arms, legs are getting itchy. Could they be bed bugs biting me?
I feel that something is biting me but can’t see them. Now my left arm has red small red welts smooth and flat. I am scared that they will multiply and that the whole house will be covered with these invisible creatures.
I don’t have a dog but my neighbor has one. I don’t have a cat but there are lots of stray birds at the backyard who I feed every morning. I even cook for these birds. Should I stop feeding the birds. Could they be carrying ticks or bed bugs even?
May be my carpet needs replacement or my house be cleaned from so much dust. I also notice that something is walking in the ceiling at night like a big cat or rat or possum.
Please clear me of my stress of these invisible biting creatures. Over the weekend I will get rid of the books in the lounge and leaving nothing else but the wooden chairs.
From Pam in New York-
I moved to an apartment in dec. of 05 and within six months something was biting me that I could not see.spent a lot of money trying to get rid of bedbugs and lost all my furniture and clothes! also was mold infested ,like a living hell!! and the worst part is the apartment people told me they were not going to reimburse me for not one thing!
From Evelyn in Atlanta-
I have very sensitive skin and I told my boyfriend something is crawling and jumping around on me like crazy. Well do I have to tell you what he said? He said I am crazy . I feel them on my face, nose, legs anywhere there is moisture or sweat. Even in my eyelashes!
I am a very clean person but ever since I got some furniture and stuff from my grandfathers and also I moved I feel like their taking me over and my apartment too. This is terrible to say but I feel like they have taken over my home.
I have done almost everything I can to get rid of them but I am still fighting! Can you rescue me from these pesky critters and give me some good advice on how to evict them??? Every time I feel them I look but I cant see anything. Well maybe sometimes a white spot or should I say like a grain of salt. I wish I could see them. Hey if I buy a microscope do you think I would be able to see one? Well thank you for listening to me I am glad someone finally did.
Thank you for all of your support,
If you have a story to share, please contact us at bed.bug.org at gmail.com