It may be every vacationer’s worst nightmare, but bedbugs are not a threat solely to travelers, as these parasitic insets can also be picked up at movie theaters, retail stores, public libraries, and other common locations. Bed bugs do not have wings to fly and they cannot jump, but they will use their sharp proboscis, or beak, to break through a human’s skin and consume blood. Sounds alarming, but are you in the dark about what signs indicate an infestation? Even some bedbug experts, who have raised and studied the insect for years, could not identify a bedbug bite.
Brownish in color and about the size of an apple seed, bedbugs’ bodies are flat enough to fit through tiny spaces the width of a credit card. Yet, these critters survive on the blood of animals or humans, and after feeding, often by penetrating an exposed area of the body, such as the face, neck, arms, or hands, their bodies will swell and emit a red hue. Bed bugs are attracted to the warmth, moisture and carbon dioxide released from warm-blooded animals, and they can fill up with blood in just ten minutes, keeping them full for days.
Bedbug bites themselves are not usually harmful, since bedbugs are not known to spread diseases, another aspect of an infestation of this sort is the stigma and anxiety linked to the issue. Historically, people’s whose homes become infested with bedbugs experience a significant psychological toll, and can have trouble sleeping at night due to the fear of being bitten. It’s important to note that these creatures do not discriminate between invading clean or dirty homes, as often believed. Eliminating a bedbug infestation is difficult, and it’s necessary to contact a professional to thoroughly handle the matter, ensuring the problem does not persist.
With bites are unreliable markers of an infestation, here’s how to tell if you have bedbugs:
Notice live, moving bugs.
Collect some in a closed container for a professional to identify.
Examine the folds of your mattresses, box springs and other places.
You might be able to find their papery skins, which get cast off after molting and resemble popcorn kernels.
Look for their blood-filled droppings.
Check for small, dark-colored spots deposited on mattresses and furniture.