The Rise And Fall (And Rise) Of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are believed to have been around over 3,500 years ago. In fact, bed bugs even made an appearance in several notable ancient Greek and Roman plays! These days, bed bugs are a major problem throughout the world, including in America. However, Native Americans did not have a word for ‘bed bugs’ which leads entomologists to believe that the little pests came to the Americas with European colonists.

Early bed bug treatment included fumigating the home with cyanide, soaking the mattress in gasoline, and even briefly igniting the mattress with gun powder.

It wasn’t until World War II that an effective pesticide, DDT, was able to nearly eradicate bed bugs altogether. Bed bugs were practically unheard of for the next several decades until the U.S. banned DDT in 1972. While DDT did wonders for eliminating bed bugs, it also unfortunately increased a person’s risk of cancer if exposed to high levels and many people today are still suffering the negative consequences of DDT usage.

Not surprisingly, bed bugs eventually saw a new rise. While some bugs such as roaches or ants can be killed with traps and baits, bed bugs are trickier. As a parasitic insect that feeds on human and animal blood, bed bugs are not attracted to the same traps as other insects. But that’s not the only reason for their recent reign.

Over the past few decades, travel has become more and more accessible. As more people travel throughout America and abroad, the likelihood that they will pick up or spread bed bugs to hotels, hostels, AirBnB’s, and even friends’ couches, increases. Bed bugs love to hitch rides on luggage, which means you don’t only have to worry about bed bugs in your own hotel room! You also have to consider the possibility of bed bugs spreading to your luggage from any other piece of luggage in the cargo hold of that plane you’re on. Bed bugs can also be picked up in movie theatres, busses, libraries, trains, and many other public spaces.

Bed Bug FAQ

Do bed bugs spread disease?

As far as scientists know, bed bugs do not spread disease unlike some other blood-sucking insects. They can, however, cause allergic reactions that can range from mild to severe. Most people will only experience mild itching from bed bug bites at the most, and some do not even notice the presence of a bite.

Are bed bugs only found in dirty places?

No! This is a common misconception about bed bugs. This myth likely comes from the fact that a person is more likely to inspect for issues like bed bugs if they walk into a dirty hotel room, for example, than if they walk into a seemingly clean one. Bed bugs can be found in 5-star hotels and hospitals as well as movie theaters and motels, and everywhere in between.

Why are bed bugs so hard to get rid of?

We mentioned this a little bit above when explaining the lack of effective pesticides for bed bugs, but that isn’t the only reason why bed bugs are difficult to get rid of. Bed bugs are often not only in your bed. While our Sacramento pest control technicians will perform a thorough inspection, it is possible that you have bed bugs hanging out where we can’t see them. Even if we kill off the pests and eggs in your bed or on your furniture, any remaining bugs that were out of the treatment zone at the time might repopulate the infestation. It may take several treatments to fully get rid of a bed bug problem.

How can I prevent bed bugs?

The best way to prevent bed bugs is to be aware of the ways in which you can bring them home. Because bed bugs are most often brought home after traveling, keep in mind the following tips to prevent them from coming home with you:

  • Inspect your lodgings for bed bugs. Look thoroughly over the bed and strip the sheets off so you can examine the mattress. Look for rust-colored stains that could be indicative of bed bug feces or squashed bed bugs. You can also look around the bed for dead bugs. Make sure to check in the seams of the mattress as this is where they often like to hide. Also perform an inspection of the curtains, furniture, and side table as they like to hide in these places too.
  • If you notice bed bugs, request a different room far away from the one you are in.
  • If you don’t see any signs of bed bugs, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. The dark carpet used in most hotel rooms is the perfect place for these tiny bugs to go unnoticed. Rather than putting your luggage on the carpet floor, keep it safely in the bathroom. For even more protection, elevate your luggage on the luggage rack after thoroughly inspecting it as well.
  • When you return from your vacation, closely inspect your suitcase. For extra protection, vacuum or steam the outside of your suitcase before bringing it inside of the home. Throw all of your clothing into the washing machine on a hot cycle and dry it on hot afterward.

Are bed bugs just found in beds?

No! We touched on this earlier, but they can be found almost anywhere in the home. They simply like beds because that is often where their food source (you) sleeps at night, which is when these nocturnal insects feed. They might also be hiding in the couch, under lamps, behind picture frames, in the dog’s bed, and pretty much anywhere else.

Do bed bugs smell like anything?

As a bed bug infestation grows, homeowners have reported smelling a musty-sweet smell that is often related to bed bugs. This doesn’t mean you’ll be able to sniff out an infestation (though, there are dogs that can do that). It simply means that if you do smell something off near your bed or couch, it might be a good idea to take a closer look or call your local pest control company in Sacramento for a bed bug inspection.

How fast do bed bugs multiply?

Compared to many other insects, bed bugs reproduce rather slowly. This can be taken as either good or bad news for homeowners. It is good in the sense that bed bugs won’t immediately overrun you home, and bad news in the sense that might not notice an infestation for quite some time. Each adult female bed bug can produce roughly an egg per day. This is an incredibly small number compared to other insects that might lay hundreds of eggs at a time.

How do I know if I have bed bug bites or bites from another pest?

Waking up with a bug bite certainly isn’t a reason to call your pest control company in a panic thinking you have bed bugs. Getting a bug bite here or there is normal and nearly unavoidable. Most bug bites, such as those from spiders or mosquitoes, will form an itchy, raised pimple-esque bump which is very different than what most bed bug bites look like.

Keep in mind that someone who is allergic to bed bugs might have a more severe reaction than what we will describe. In fact, some people may even need to seek medical attention if they experience an allergic reaction to bed bugs.

However, for most people, bed bug bites will appear somewhere on skin that was exposed while you were sleeping, such as your arms, neck, or face. They typically look like a red rash that may or may not be raised. Bed bugs will often bite more than once in one feeding, so look for multiple bites in the same area. Sometimes they will even be in a line.

Who offers bed bug heat treatment near me?

If you’re in the Greater Sacramento area, then Earthwise Pest Management offers bed bug treatment near you! In our commitment to be “earth wise” and limit our use of harmful chemicals and pesticides, we are happy to offer heat treatment for bed bugs. Heat treatment is the most effective method of bed bug removal as many pesticides do not work on bed bugs or might only kill off adult bed bugs but not their eggs.

Bed bugs and their eggs will perish at temperatures between 117 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit. During a heat treatment, either the room or an isolated portion of it, depending on the scope of the infestation, is heated to about 135 degrees or higher to ensure that even bugs hiding in cracks and crevices are affected. While it may seem unappealing to then have a room full of bed bug carcasses and eggs, these elements can be simply vacuumed up.

While some people attempt to DIY heat treatments for bed bugs, this is highly inadvisable. If done incorrectly, heat treatments can be at best ineffective and at worst dangerous. A professional bed bug heat treatment technician will monitor the heat throughout the room to ensure there is no fire risk. They can also advise you on which heat-sensitive items should be removed from the room, such as instruments or paintings, and help inspect them for rogue bed bugs first.

Choose Earthwise For Sacramento Bed Bug Removal

When it comes to Sacramento pest control, you can depend on Earthwise to get the job done, especially when it comes to bed bug removal. Our team of pest control specialists can perform a bed bug inspection is you suspect you might have bed bugs and determine what the best method of treatment is moving forward.

Reach out today to learn more about our Sacramento bed bug treatments!

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