If you have ever been itchy in your bed at night, feeling as though something is crawling over you and biting you, keeping you from sleeping, you may be wondering if you are losing your mind or if you have an infestation. The good news is that you are probably sane, but the bad news is that you could be infested with bed bugs.
What are bed bugs? Bed bugs are a small parasites that infest human habitats, but their most frequently infested area is the bed. They enjoy the quiet dark corners of mattresses and come out to feed at night, since they require blood to live. Bed bugs usually feed every five to ten days, but they can go up to a year without feeding in a state of hibernation with the right conditions. This is why it is so important to properly treat infestations, as dormant infestations can become active again if not treated properly.
Chemical treatment of the affected area is recommended as a way to get rid of the infestation, as chemicals kill both active and dormant bedbugs. In the past, DDT was used as a pesticide to control the bedbug population, but with the discovery of health and environmental problems relating to DDT, the chemical has been discontinued. Modern methods include spot treatment with steam, which is an effective method for getting rid of known infections, however it requires several different treatments to ensure the entire infestation is removed.
If a bed bug infestation is discovered in your home, usually in a child’s bed, you need to treat all clothing, sheets, and pillows that have come into contact with the bed with several steam treatments. In addition, even if you have searched your bed and have not seen any of the mites, you should wash and treat your clothing and sheets as well in order to negate any chance of the mites migrating.