I bet everyone that reads this is going to start itching, and then check underneath your bed! Sorry, but that can’t be helped. You see it seems that bedbugs, also known as Cimex Lectularius (sounds even creepier doesn’t it), are making a comeback.
The bloodsucking bugs were virtually eradicated in the United States in the 1950s. But they are now showing up practically everywhereÃ¢â‚¬â€nursing homes, jails, apartment buildings, dormitories (video: bedbugs plaguing hotels and houses). There has been a 500% increase in the last few years!
Experts blame the resurgence on increased international travel, immigration, changes in pest-control practices, and the bugs’ growing resistance to insecticides.
Bedbugs can live for a year without a blood meal, but once they start biting their victims may be plagued with multiple bites each night.
According to this NPR Article:
For a long time, the bedbugs weren’t there. In the 1950s, exterminators armed with pesticides like DDT drove the parasites out of most of the houses in the country. But then, 10 years ago, the bugs started coming back. Exterminator Richard Kramer says he found one of the first new infestations in Washington, D.C., in 1998.
“We discovered bedbugs in a hotel downtown,” he says. “And ever since then, it’s been exponentially increasing Ã¢â‚¬â€ that’s the only way to describe it.”
Kramer runs Innovative Pest Management, a small firm near Washington. He says he gets thousands of calls a year from people who have just found bedbugs. First, he tells them not to panic. Bedbugs aren’t venomous, they don’t spread dangerous disease, and they aren’t linked to filth or moral decay.
He says the best way to fight the bugs is to make sure they don’t get into your house in the first place. When you travel, always look for brown dots Ã¢â‚¬â€œ dried blood Ã¢â‚¬â€ on hotel sheets, and don’t forget to check your luggage.
“I saw a suitcase one time in an apartment Ã¢â‚¬â€ couldn’t find a bedbug on the bed, [but] looked at the suitcase [and] there had to be 200 bedbugs on this suitcase,” Kramer says. “It’s like they were catching the train. They found a way to get around.”
Harvard also has the best article I’ve seen about bedbugs right here.
Here is a short and informative National Geographic video that will tell you all about how the bedbug operates, and gross you out at the same time!
If that wasn’t enough for you, here is a 7 minute video that will definitely freak you out!
Finally, here is a lady who filed a $20 million lawsuit over bites sustained at a hotel. The suit may be outrageous, but the story is scary.
To check to see if you have bed bugs, especially when traveling:
- When you first enter the room, pull the bed covers down. If you see something moving, or if you see spots on the sheets, move to another room.
- Look for small blackish or reddish colored dots. Bedbugs usually leave signs of their presence.
- If you wake up and find a bedbug on your skin, pull it off. It does not burrow like a tick.
- Bedbugs can be found almost anywhere including the nightstand, carpeting, drawers and headboards.
- Check your clothes and luggage before you leave the hotel.
- Vacuum your suitcases before bringing them into the house.
- If you think you have bedbugs, call a professional exterminator.
For further reading see:
- Bedbugs Biting Again in U.S.
- Everything You Need to Know About Bedbugs but Were Afraid to Ask
- Hundreds Of Bed Bug Bites Sicken Couple On Cruise
Damn. The whole time I was writing this article I was itching, and I don’t even have bedbugs!