Cimex Lectularius, or ‘bed bugs’ for those of us less scientifically inclined, are small, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals as they sleep. They are about 1 mm to 7 mm in size, roughly the size of an apple seed or a grain of rice.
Physical appearance aside, these little red critters are extremely tough and have been documented to live up to several months without a blood meal.So let’s break it down.
What’s with the name?
Bed Bugs have been named so, because people think that they are found only in beds. While this is true to a great extent, it does not show the entire picture. They are extremely skilled at hiding and are found in all kinds of furniture like chairs, sofas, tables, computers, behind picture frames, wallpapers, etc. Owing to their small size, they are also found in cracks and crevices in the wall.
What is their origin?
These little parasites have been troubling our ancestors for so long that it is quite impossible to trace their origin; history is dotted with their appearances. They have been reported to originate from east Europe, their numbers increased manifold after the First World War, and then suddenly there were sightings of them in Asia, Africa…everywhere. They seem to hop from city to city, continent to continent, which is a testament to their superior hiding powers and also shows how they spread, by hiding in luggage/clothes.
Are you infected?
A good indicator of being affected by bed bugs would be a sudden change in your sleep schedule. You would suddenly start sleeping a whole lot less even though there would absolutely be no new stress in your personal and work life. Another factor would be the appearance of small, red bumps on your body, similar to mosquito bites. These are the ‘feeding points’ of these parasites and it is not uncommon to see at least two to three of these every night.
However, these marks are not immediate and vary from person to person, changing according to the strength of the immune system. There have been instances of the marks appearing as much as 14 days after the feeding; therefore, this is not exactly a foolproof way of ascertaining if you have an infection.
So what more can you do? There are a few more tell-tale signs that you can look out for. These include:
- The exoskeletons of the bed bugs, which they ‘shed’ after molting.
- Dirty red colored blood spots, which is an indication of their feces. They normally excrete on the mattress and nearby furniture.
- A sickly sweet, stale smell.
Of course, the clearest indicator is to actually catch the bed bug. However, this is easier said than done. As mentioned earlier, bed bugs are very deceptive and can conceal themselves easily.
How should you deal with it?
The most important thing is not to stress out. Bed bugs, themselves, cause very little harm. They don’t infect, can’t act as a vector, and pass diseases. However, their psychological impact is very immense. The possibility of sharing a bed with these parasites has led to many therapist appointments. After you have ascertained that you do indeed have an infection, the easiest thing to do is to call in the authorities.
That doesn’t mean calling 911 and having an hour long distressing talk; there are plenty of pest control experts that will be more than happy to get rid of your problem for you. Usually, cost is not an issue, especially if you live in an apartment, in which case the landlord pays 90% of the time.
Insecticides can be sprayed on furniture, or furniture can be taken apart and sprayed with various chemicals like orange oil which has insecticidal qualities. There are special procedures and techniques for mattresses, bed frames, and so on.
There are some non chemical methods of getting rid of them as well, like covering the mattress in an encasement and letting them starve to death, however, they are extremely resilient and this will take months and is relatively an ineffective method of dealing with them.
Bed bugs can be a nuisance, but they are just that, nothing more. Calling in professional cleaners, such as those employed by NYC steam cleaning will solve your problem in a short span of time and will spare you the mental agony that many people have to go through, just because they didn’t take the appropriate action. Call NYC steam cleaning today at 1-888-245-1199 to hire the best cleaners in NYC. Be smart, and don’t let the bedbugs bite.