08-25-2010 (Dayton, OH) -
As the old saying goes, “Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite” many people thought they would never have to worry about bed bugs. Unfortunately, this year, a number of homes in the Miami Valley, Ohio and across the country have been invaded by bedbugs, according to the Montgomery County Public Health department.
Many of these families are looking for ways to get rid of the bugs and prevent them from ever coming in to their homes. Despite a common myth, bed bugs are not a sign of poor hygiene. Here are a few tips from our experts.
What is a Bed Bug?
A bed bug is a small (about the size of a pencil eraser), flat, reddish-brown bug that can be found in homes all over the world. It hides during the day and comes out during the night to look for blood. A bed bug has a special ingredient in its saliva that keeps blood from clotting while it's eating.
What Does a Bed Bug Bite Look and Feel Like?
If a person gets bitten by a bed bug, the bite will feel itchy. Bed bug bites look like little red bumps (similar to mosquito bites) and they can sometimes occur in a line on the body.
What Should I Do?
If you think you've been bitten by a bed bug, wash the bites with soap and water. Put on some calamine lotion to help with the itching. Try not to scratch the bites too much because this can make them become infected.
What a Doctor Will Do
If you get an infection from scratching bedbug bites, a doctor will need to prescribe medication to clear up the infection.
How to Avoid Getting Bitten
The best way to avoid getting bitten by bed bugs is to keep your room uncluttered so bedbugs won't have places to hide. Changing your sheets once a week and vacuuming the floor often are also important things to do.
How Do I Know if my Home is Infested?
Check pillowcases, sheets, box springs and mattresses for bed bug feces which looks like dark spots - as if someone touched a dark magic marker to the fabric. Examine the room thoroughly, especially the wall, baseboard, headboard and furniture near the bed. Use a flashlight to look behind and underneath furniture and woodwork.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Once you have identified a bed bug infestation, you will probably require the help of a professional pest control specialist. However, you will also have to help get rid of the bugs by removing clutter such as pictures, books and clothing from the infested area. Vacuum the area and concentrate on mattress seams and around any tufts or buttons. However, vacuuming will not remove the eggs - they are glued in place and can't be removed by vacuuming. Remove the vacuum bag immediately, place it in a sealed plastic bags and dispose of it outside. Clothing, shoes, bedding and blankets can be placed in a dryer on high heat for 20 minutes to kill bed bugs and their eggs.
Who Do I Contact?
If you have found a bug and would like it identified, the Ohio Department of Health's Zoontic Disease Program (ZDP) offers a free insect identification service. Call 614-752-1029 and select option 1.
For More Information
Download the bed bug fact sheet from the Ohio Department of Health
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