Many people think that a bed bug is invisible to the naked eye and prior to my experience as a field technician, I didn’t even know they existed. Bed bugs can be very small, a little less than the size of a paper clipping in a hole-puncher. I was told I had to service a home with bed-bugs about 2 days in advance and this gave me some time to do some reading
Bedbugs are bloodsucking parasites. They are typically found around the seams in a mattress and can go as long as a year without feeding. They hide in cracks and crevices and are attracted to the heat we give off when we sleep – before they pierce the skin, they deliver an anti-septic which provides mild pain relief so you don’t wake up and feel a pinch. After getting their fill, the bed bugs will return to a crack or crevice in the room and hide until the next time it gets hungry.
When I arrived at the woman’s home she showed me her arms – curiously, her and her children were the only ones with bites even though the husband slept in the same room. He didn’t have a single bite – the woman was devastated and preparing to burn her entire house down. She wanted to throw away every ounce of furniture and every mattress in the house. I couldn’t blame her; you can’t even relax in your own home without fear of being bitten by parasites while you sleep. The point of this story is simply this, to draw out the extent of the infestation. I also wanted to share with you all of the areas I found bed bugs in:
Bed frame, mattress, box-spring, pillow, behind wall electrical plates, inside a TV remote battery cover, children’s toy cars, alarm clock, and an Xbox 360 just to name a few items.
The Craziest place I found them was in the screws that held most of her bedroom furniture together. Behind a shelf, a cardboard backing was attached to the shelf frame for support and aesthetic purposes. When we move the shelf I observed 5 tiny bedbugs in one of the screw holes and a few even fell out onto the floor.
Bed bugs are no joke. Throwing your stuff away will not get rid of them and short of burning your house down (kidding), not much can be done treatment wise to guarantee elimination. This is because they can go long intervals without a food source, lying dormant in walls and hiding in luggage cases long after any product has expired. But they CAN be eliminated. There are a few chemical and non-chemical treatment programs that can help.
How do you stop yourself from getting bedbugs? Use your eyes. It is believed that most people bring them home from hotels, where they will crawl into your clothes and luggage.
You can avoid getting bedbugs by checking the bed when you get into the hotel room – lift up the sheets under the mattress starting at the end with the pillows. Are there brownish / reddish stains along the seams of the mattress? If so, this is an indicator of bed bugs. After a blood meal they can be observed making deposits of fecal matter around the host and room. Good luck!