Bed bugs know no season… a year-long problem

Bed bugs continue to be a problem throughout the United States. And because there is so much information available on how to prevent them, how to get rid of them and why eliminating them can be difficult, the best defense against bed bugs is to know the facts.

The Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force was recently created in Columbus to help provide the best solutions for protection, and to addresses some of the more common myths concerning bed bugs:

Myth 1: Bed bugs are only a problem in low-income neighborhoods. 

It is a common misconception that only unclean or low-income people have bed bugs. The truth is that bed bugs feed off human blood and can infest anyone’s residence regardless of their cleanliness or socioeconomic status.

Myth 2: Bed bugs carry disease. 

Bed bugs do not carry diseases. A secondary infection may sometimes occur from scratching at the bites, but bed bugs themselves are not disease-carriers.

Myth 3: Any insecticide will kill bed bugs. 

Pesticides and other treatments are effective in killing household pests, but not guaranteed when it comes to bed bugs. For example, boric acid will kill cockroaches because they ingest the poison. But because bed bugs feed off human blood, chemicals like boric acid are ineffective. Some pesticides will kill bed bugs caught out in the open, but the majority of bed bugs hide, so a contact pesticide is unlikely to rid a household of an infestation.

Myth 4: Household bug bombs that are meant for flying insects will kill bed bugs. 

Bug bombs will not kill the majority of bed bugs in an infested room. This type of pesticide will only cause the bed bugs to scatter to escape the pesticide and can sometimes actually make the infestation worse.

If you suspect you may have a bed bug infestation, there are a few common signs to look for. The first sign is often unexplained bites on a person’s skin. Itchy bites can appear all over the body overnight. But don’t rely on bites alone, as many people react differently to the bed bug bites.

The second sign is bed bug skin casings. As bed bugs reach adult stage, they shed their skins. The molted skins look very much like the bed bug itself – they are the same shape and generally translucent in color. Most of the molted skins will be where the bed bugs infestation is located, but they can be found almost anywhere.

Identification of bed bugs is key. Adult bed bugs can be easily seen by the naked eye. They are reddish brown in color, wingless and about the size of an apple seed. Bed bugs can look different depending on their feeding status. An unfed bed bug can look like an oval flattened disc. After feeding, their coloring will appear bright red and they will be plump.

If you suspect you might have bed bugs, look for the signs – search along mattress seams, behind headboards, in ceiling/wall junctions, along baseboards and even attached to personal belongings. If you find a suspicious bug, try to save it in a plastic bag and then call a professional pest exterminator, like Scherzinger, who can assist in the identification process and help you develop the right treatment plan.