Sunday, July 10, 2011

How to Find Bed Bugs in Your Bed

Can you see bed bugs with your eye? Yes, bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm blooded animals. Their hatchlings are the size of poppy seeds and they will grow to roughly 1/4th of an inch at maturity. As an adult they are oval in shape and looking at them from the side they appear to be flat from top to bottom. Color ranges from almost white when they just molted to a light tan, deep brown or even a burnt orange. You can see the host’s blood within the bug’s body as a dark red or black mass. They do not have wings and when disturbed will scramble to find shelter in cracks and crevices. How can you find bed bugs and sleep easy?

Learn how to find bed bugs in your bed by carefully inspecting the bed frame and mattress. Look for signs that may indicate an infestation like bloods spots and molted skin on the sheets. Search for crawling bugs and eggs in the seams on the side of your mattress. Remember eggs are very small and their larva is as tiny as a grain of rice. Females lay their eggs after feasting and place them in isolated, protected crannies until they hatch one to two weeks later into nymphs. Nymphs feed immediately and if there is a healthy blood supply and warm surroundings they will grow to adulthood between 14 and 30 days. During that time they will shed their skin five times. Once mature they will mate, so the entire time from egg hatching to egg laying takes approximately 4 to 9 weeks.

Remember that bed bugs are visible to the eye. Prepare to inspect your bedroom in addition to your mattress and bed frame. Use a flashlight and a magnifying glass to look for reddish-brown spots (fecal deposits) and/or molted skin on the mattress. Check all nooks and crannies for live bugs, eggs and larva. Additional areas are wall sconces, behind electrical plates, behind frames, between books and even inside your TV or alarm clock.

If you find bed bugs it is advised to work with a pest management professional. Most pest professionals recommend mattress encasements which can eliminate bed bugs sooner, avoid bed bug bites and protect an expensive mattress.

The BB ALERT has a range of products includes monitors to provide early Bed Bug detection and devices to safely eliminate Bed Bugs from personal items and soft furnishings such as mattresses. The BB ALERT activator pads arrive in a sealed package. When opened and exposed to the air it starts to generate heat, which mimics the signs of animal respiration that trigger a feeding response in bed bugs.

The activator is placed inside the BB ALERT Active monitor's base and enclosed by the insulated top cover. When in place, the insulated top cover leaves a specifically designed gap around the unit's base. This restricts the flow of air, creating a micro-climate within the device and a controlled flow of heat to the outside. This temperature gradient leads the Bed Bug into the monitor. IT is recommended that you do not sleep in the bed when using a BB ALERT Passive monitor. To completely isolate the bed use ClimbUP Insect Interceptor or use BB Alert Passive Monitor in combination to catch bed bugs climbing off or on the bed.

Isolating the bed has been very questionable, and though it may help people who are being bitten very badly or who have serious allergic reactions avoid sleeping elsewhere, other than their bed. When doing so the bed bugs spread out even further in your home looking for a warm body to prey on. The idea behind isolating the bed is to trap them on their way while avoiding being bitten while you sleep. But remember, if they cannot bite you during the night they will attempt to do so during the daytime. So many pest authorities would prefer to protect rather than isolate the bed and use other forms of treatment. Your pest control professional should remove all bed bugs from the mattress, box springs, headboard and frame while making sure that there are no tears or gaps which would allow bed bugs to get inside. It is still recommended to use the BBB ALERT to monitor for any new bed bugs and you should inspect for signs on a monthly basis.

Note: You should call your pest control professional once bed bugs are seen. Do not clean your mattress, frame until bed bugs have been verified otherwise if you live in an apartment treatment may be denied by the landlord. Once verified the pest control operator will treat the home including your bed with pesticides. After the pesticide has dried he may encase the mattress and box springs. Protect-A-Bed AllerZip® Terry Allergy Mattress Protector encasement is 6-sided, waterproof and eliminates bed bug entry, escape and bites which provides the ultimate in allergy protection. They also have a Protect-A-Bed encasement for pillows and cribs.

If you need to replace your sheets and comforter you may want to purchase white sheets for easy monthly inspections. Cotton sheets and blanket are easy to wash and will hold up well in a hot dryer. If you are isolating the bed you need to keep the sheets and blankets off the floor by using bed risers. The bed risers must fit inside the Climbup well. Climbup Interceptors are placed underneath each riser or leg of the bed.

Another option, besides Climbup Interceptors, is four bowls with mineral or tea tree oil (bed bugs hate it) under the legs of the bed. Note: some people have traditionally recommended placing a row of vaseline and a separate row of double sided tape around the bed legs, above the mineral oil cups. I am not sure of the value of this if you are using cups of mineral or tea tree oil. People tell us double sided tape does not often catch bed bugs. However, if you are using Climbup Interceptors as recommended, do not place vaseline or double sided tape on the bed legs. You want bed bugs to walk into the Climbup discs and be trapped; you do not want them to be deterred by barriers.

If you have a wood frame Murphy’s Oil Soap is a bed bug contact killer and good for cleaning the wood. You may have to replace your wood frame if there was a large infestation and the pest controller couldn’t eliminate all the bed bugs. A new metal frame is better. Thinking about discarding your mattress for a memory foam mattress because you heard bed bugs can’t survive inside memory foam therefore, you think you are safe from another infestation? Remember that bed bugs get on mattresses and while they may not be able to get into the actual foam, it hardly matters. They can harbor on the foam, in the seams of the mattress cover or in the bed frame. Remember the mattress itself is not the bed bug attractant, the host that uses it is. So bed bugs do not have to live inside the mattress in order to breed or feed on you at night. They might crawl down from the picture frame hanging above your bed or from some other location.

[caption id="attachment_1339" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Can You See Bed Bugs with Your Eye? - Bed Bug Stages to Look For"][/caption]

Once your pest professional has encased the bed and bed frame there are additional steps to take to rid your home of further bed bugs. Place all bedding into garbage bags and tie it tightly so no air escapes. When you launder this bedding, wash in HOT water and dry on HIGH HEAT. When you take it out of the dryer put it in another garage bag. Vacuum all around the bed and place vacuum bags or bagless vacuum containments in ziploc containers as soon as possible. Otherwise bed bugs or larva can survive in the bag/container and escape. If you use another encasement other than a Protect-A-Bed you should probably tape the zipper and the zipper closure on your encasement. This tape must not be allowed to come off and keeping it on can be very difficult. People have used Scotch Blue Painter’s tape, and National Allergy sells this along with their encasements, to be put over the zipper.

Use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth 10 lb. by Natures Wisdoma dust insecticide for killing bedbugs with long lasting control. This DE is milled at a consistency much like flour and is a fossilized shell (diatom). This bed bug killer is considered safe and organic for home and garden use and has been a staple in organic gardening for many years. This diatomaceous earth, from one of the only four deposits in the US that are considered food grade, is purchased and used for control of bedbugs all around the country. Apply DE powder in all cracks and crevices, closets, baseboards, under the fridge and stove, mattresses, your favorite chair and anywhere bedbugs may hide. It is safe for use on your bed, food areas, pets and children while still killing the bed bugs.

Remember not to let your sheets and blankets drag on the floor while you sleep. Realize also that you may carry bed bugs into the bed, for example, by simply sitting on a chair where a bed bug was able to crawl onto your clothing. If you isolate the bed, try to wear clean bed clothing that were also isolated and kept in sealed plastic bags.

Consider repeating the steps above of cleaning have it treated with pesticides, to ensure bed bugs are not living in the bed. And in any case, continue professional treatment approximately every two weeks until bed bug bites and all other signs are long gone. The content provided in How to Find Bed Bugs in Your Bed is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional or in this case, a pest control professional.

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