Bed bugs can be an unwelcome part of your vacation, but hopefully not. They can be picked up in hotels/motels and brought home in your clothes, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, and so on.
Bed bugs are wingless insects and measure approximately 1/4 inch long.
They suck on blood (yours) for their meal, and then lay their eggs, sleep and poop in your bed sheets that you lie in. They even like to “nest” in sofas, wallpaper and electrical wall plates, just so they can stay close to you for their later snack.
Bed bugs are NOT a sign of uncleanliness, but just like to stay in a familiar home where there is a constant supply of food (people blood). They can be in your home or even a friendly hotel/motel you just happen to visit for a night or two.
They don’t hurt when they suck your blood, but the next day you may itch, notice tiny blood spots on your sheets, find dark spots (poop) in your sleeping area, or even smell their offensive musty “scent gland” odor.
The best way to determine if bed bugs are waiting for you is to do the following:
Inspect all sheets for signs of the bug and/or poop.
Examine the bottom of the box springs and seams in the wood frame.
Look under the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.
Examine books, the edge of the carpet, and electrical outlets.
If you know you have been “attacked” by bed bugs, you can do the following:
Wash all sheets, pillow cases, pillows, stuffed animals, etc that it is your bed and wash in hot water, then in a hot dryer for 30 minutes.
Use a brush to scrub mattress seams, then vacuum the seams out.
Vacuum the entire areas around your bed frequently. After you vacuum, place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and put it in a garbage can outside.
Encase your mattress AND box springs with a zippered cover to keep bedbugs from coming or going out. Keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year (bed bugs can live for a year without eating….WOW!)
If you still have problems, you may have to call an exterminator.
I feel itchy….
Mike Pappas MD