Is there anything worse than waking up in the middle of the night feeling there is something crawling on you? If it’s ever happened to you then you know what I mean. You can brush off “the problem”, real or imagined I guess, but can you brush it out of your mind so you can get back to sleep? Not so easily done now is it?
Unfortunately for some, such problems are more real than imagined. It’s one thing to be sharing your bed with the occasional spider. Fleas are so small you are hardly apt to notice them. Which brings us to bedbugs. Sharing your bed with them is another matter altogether because you know they’re not there for a social call. No, they are there because they are hungry and you are the buffet.
And I know what you’re thinking – bedbugs? Those are something my grandparents dealt with. Nobody has seen them for years and years. And you’d have been right had you made such statements even just five years ago. But since then these persistent pests are spreading across the country in greater and greater numbers.
So, if you haven’t seen any then consider yourself fortunate. Others less fortunate may not have seen the bed bugs themselves exactly but what they have seen are the bites they leave behind. Up and down their arms, their legs, their back, or their neck. Just imagine waking up in the morning itching and scratching parts of your body that were flawless when you went to bed.
Now bedbugs are wingless parasites. These insects primarily feed on people and they do most of their business at night. Plus, they do it in such a way that you won’t even recognize you have been bit unless you react to the saliva, they inject into you to keep you from waking up when “feeding” – let’s call it. And while just about any warm-blooded mammal will do in a pinch, their preferred host are humans.
It’s not exactly news that they spend most of their time out of sight. Since they’re not big on-going long distances for their meal they like to hang out near where you sleep however. Usually they are hiding in your bed or box springs or within 5 to 7 feet of your bed like in the drawers of your nightstand, a crevice in the baseboard, even in electrical outlets. What’s even more alarming is they can squeeze through a crack somewhat smaller than the width of one of your credit cards. And since they are on the small side anyway, it’s easier for them to stay out of sight until the know the coast is clear which would be when you are fast asleep and less apt to notice them.
Their approach to feeding makes them look rather smart too. They only come out when you are less likely to realize they are there – in the dark and sound asleep. And should you ever come across them they can scurry out of sight in next to no time.
Not to mention that they are extremely hardy. An adult could go maybe a year between feedings. Nymphs or baby bed bugs might be able to go a month or two but they have to feed more often and can’t survive long periods without food aka your blood.
All this talk about bed bugs on the prowl is enough to make your skin crawl. And should you be unlucky enough to encounter them in your home you will certainly be most eager to have someone kill them. All of them. Sooner is better than later too.
Of course, one mistake some make is they move from the infested room to another part of the house thinking this will allow them to get a good night’s sleep without being bitten. Problem is the bed bugs can use the electrical wiring or plumbing as a way to get to you. Attracted by the carbon dioxide you exhale; it won’t be long before they’ll be feasting on you in your new sleeping quarters. Which is why it’s never a good idea to move to another part of the house because you’re only spreading the problem.
Now we should talk about what you can do to control them. Unfortunately, pesticides, while they may sound good, no longer work so well. Insects are quite adaptable. No pesticide will kill every one of them. So, the survivors pass on their resistance to their offspring. And before you know it what used to kill the bugs dead, they just shrug off without even taking notice. Which is just what has happened with these little bloodsuckers.
All this is also why you will need to work with a reputable pest control company. Getting rid of bed bugs is decidedly not a do-it-yourself project. Especially if you think you can poison them. Most likely the only one that will get sick will be you or your kids. Actually, you may be surprised to know that heat or extreme cold is the better way to go.
So, while bedbugs are unlikely roommates, it’s no longer totally out of the question that you won’t be sharing your bed, or a bed, with them at some point in the future. Sleep tight.