Bed Bugs are the Real Vampires

vampire bat
courtesy panuruangjan@freedigital photos

When I was a kid, the old black and white movies with scary monsters like vampires and mummies were some of my favorites. As I got older, I loved movies (like Young Frankenstein and The Rocky Horror Picture Show) that allowed me to laugh at my fears.

Currently zombies fill the screens of horror flicks. Zombies are scary, but what really frightens me are the thought of real blood-sucking creatures crawling into bed with me at night. I’m afraid of bed bugs and I have never been bitten by one. Yet.

Bed Bug PTSD

I went looking to see if the fear of bed bugs had been given a specific “phobia” name. I didn’t find a phobia for bed bugs in particular. The fear of beds is Clinophobia and the fear of bugs is Entomophobia, but there isn’t a Clino-Entomo-phobia as of yet. Give it time.

I did find that people who have actually had a bout with bed bugs may suffer from an anxiety similar to mine known as “Bed Bug PTSD”. I am not making this up. The Atlantic published an article about bed bug anxiety . Well, OK, they called it “madness” but even I think that is extreme.

bed bugs make you crazy
Bed Bugs Keep You Up Last Night?

Turns out that once you survive an infestation of bed bugs, the expensive and time consuming eradication process can leave you emotionally scarred. I believe it. I’ve never had bed bugs, but I have helped so many people going through the bed bug extermination process that I live in fear of bed bugs.

Bed Bugs are Evil Blood Suckers

EHSO has some pretty good information about bed bugs. In a bed bug photonutshell, these bugs are small, but are large enough to be seen with the naked eye (unlike microscopic dust mites). They feed on blood. Human blood in general and your blood in particular is their favorite meal. They use two tubes, one to inject an anticoagulant and another to extract your blood. They feed every 5 to 7 days and they are attracted by the carbon dioxide you exhale.   I guess you could just never exhale. Let me know how that works for you. The anticoagulant they inject causes a bump and an itching sensation.

The little buggers will hide anywhere, but close to you and your bed is one of their favorite locations. For many years they were considered to be pests of the unclean. But as we travel more and the world gets smaller, bed bugs can be found in the finest homes and hotels and the most modest motel and slums as well. No place is immune.

Now Recognized as a Health Risk

For years bed bugs were considered a disgusting nuisance but not a carrier of disease. People were found to be allergic to the bites, but that didn’t pose any more health risk than allergy to mosquito bites or other insects. However, recent research has shown that bed bugs can be a carrier of Chagas Disease. So fear of bed bugs isn’t completely irrational.

Calm Your Bed Bug Fears

Having confessed to my bed bug fears, here are some things I do to prevent a bed bug infestation from ever happening to me. It has been successful so far, but I am sure as soon as this gets published I will get bed bugs. Like punishment for bragging. So here is my routine:

Bed Bug Covers. My mattress and pillows are all protected in zippered bed bug coverszippered bed bug proof covers. I am highly allergic to dust mites, so I need zippered covers for dust mite protection. I use the AllergyCare Solution bed bug proof and dust mite proof fabric so I literally kill two bird (or is it bugs) with one stone.

Bed Bug Avoidance. Since I don’t have bed bugs in my house, I don’t want to bring them into my house. So, when I travel my suitcase stays in the bathtub at a hotel. I never put luggage on the floor.

When I come home, my suitcase stays in the garage until it can be thoroughly inspected and the clothing goes from the garage into the washing machine before it ever comes in the house.  See, I have been afraid of bed bugs for years.

Bed Bugs are Scary

So yes, bed bugs are scary. They don’t fly like vampire bats; but I haven’t read a case of someone picking up a suitcase full of vampire bats by staying in a hotel. I read about bed bugs in stores, but I don’t read about vampire bats in stores. You get the idea.

In reality, bed bugs are to be feared more than vampires. In fiction, bed bug zombies would be the worst!

Til Next Time!

Cheryl

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How to Combat Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are becoming a bigger problem every day.  At The Allergy Store, we field calls daily about how to combat bed bugs. People want to prevent them. Unfortunately, too many people already have them. Sadly, when people think about bed bugs, they think of seedy hotels. Yeah, not anymore. Some of the finest hotels in the world have had to combat bed bugs. Today, bed bugs are in homes, apartments, hotels, cruise ships, dormitories, and shelters.

picture of bed bugsLearning About Bed Bugs

Over the years, we’ve found several great articles and resources about bed bugs. Here are just a few:

Harvard University put together a great bedbug problem flowchart for their students living in campus housing. It’s good advice for anyone in a rented area. This includes dorms or apartments.

EHSO provides a wealth of information about bed bugs at their dedicated bed bug page.

The Centers for Disease Control maintains a bed bug FAQ and information to help you understand the bug’s life cycle.

combat bed bugs by attacking where they hideSteps to Combat Bed Bugs

We tell all our customers to do the following:

  • Clean the infested room thoroughly. Pay special attention to the mattress, bed frame and headboard.
  • Remove the mattress from the frame and clean the frame and headboard.
  • Vacuum all around the bed, under furniture and in the closet.
  • Clean the baseboards and caulk them if necessary.
  • Vacuum the mattress and then encase it with a bed bug proof encasing. Any bed bugs trapped in the mattress will die.
  • Don’t start spraying pesticides. Let a licensed professional do it. If you are chemically sensitive make sure they know it before any treatment is done.
  • Don’t panic. This too shall pass

Preventing Bed Bug Infestations

As a rule, when we travel we never leave our suitcase on the floor, bed or in the closet. We set it on the dresser or use the luggage rack found in the room. If the hotel doesn’t have a luggage rack, we place our bags in the bathtub.

When you come home, don’t bring your luggage into the house. Unpack in the garage, carport or other areas. Inspect your luggage, then wash your clothing.

Wishing you the best of health
Mike Krause
AllergyStore.com

 

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Check Out the Oddest Places You’ll Find Bed Bugs

When you think bed bugs, the first thing you think is “Ewwwwww”.  You probably think they are found in beds; that those beds are in hotels; and you would never stay in one of those hotels.  People find these disgusting bugs all over. Here are some of the weirdest places they’ve been found.

In the Bedroom

They are called bed bugs because they like beds.  They also like other spots in the bedroom.

bed bugs found in alarm clocksAlarm Clocks. Bed bugs have been found inside alarm clocks sitting on night stands next to the bed.  It’s dark; it’s warm; it’s close to the bed and the food source.  It’s  heaven and there are have quite a few reports of people finding bed bugs in alarm clocks.

Picture Frames.  These guys crawl away to hide during the day. If they can’t find a spot on the floor they just head up the wall.  The first good hiding spot they may find is a picture frame. People find bed bugs hiding behind pictures and in picture frames.

In the Laundry

They don’t wear clothes, but they love laundry.  It’s a great place to hide.

Laundry Baskets.  Lots of folks find them in their laundry baskets.  It can be full or empty.  Theses laundry baskets  are usually kept in the bedroom. The little buggers crawl in to hide.  Keep the laundry basket out of the bedroom.

Public Laundry.  Laundry baskets end up at the Laundromat and bed bed bugs are found in coin operated laundromatsbugs come along for the ride.  My son’s wife took the oversized comforter to wash at a coin laundry.  She brought it home damp but before it went in the home dryer she checked it out. She found bedbugs.  That freshly laundered comforter immediately went outside into the trash.  The entire basement was treated.   If you wash at a laundromat; check everything carefully before heading home.

Other Odd Places for Bed Bugs

Bedbugs have been found in curtain hems.  Exterminators say this is pretty common in the bedroom. Drapes are close to the ground and make an awesome hiding place.  Who looks in curtain hems?

scared man no attrib

Pity the management at  AMC Empire 25 in Times Square.  That theater has been hit twice with bed bugs.  If you are watching a creepy movie and feel your skin crawl, it might be the movie theater.  Ewwww

Best Defense

The best defense  is stop them before they get started.

Found a bed bug in a weird place? Comment below!

 

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