Battling Bed Bugs for Your Baby (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by Kayla Tryon on November 09, 2017 0 Comments

Battling Bed Bugs for Your Baby

(Part 1 of 2)

            “Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite.” A phrase commonly expressed to children at bedtime with little to no thought behind its traditional meaning, until recently. Bed bugs, those tiny, nasty, creepy-crawlies with a full course dinner menu comprised of warm blood. That’s right, you’re actually on a dinner menu, but you’re not alone. Your little ones are also in jeopardy. So what exactly are bed bugs and why does it feel like they came out of nowhere with a vengeance? Are they life-threatening? How can you treat yourself after contact and how are you even supposed to get rid of them? The questions are endless, but take a deep breath; relax, and let’s look a little into what these creatures are and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Brief History

            For almost 40 years, bed bugs had almost disappeared completely. In the early 20th century bed bugs were exceedingly common until the introduction of highly potent insecticides. Bed bugs were such a huge problem that people routinely checked for them and actually resorted to constantly carrying around these potent insecticides wherever they traveled. From the mid-1950’s to the late 1990’s bed bugs vanished to the point where people could no longer identify them. A new generation of pest control professionals wasn’t quite equipped to fight them off. The potent insecticide once used so frequently and effectively enough to almost wipe them out, was banned worldwide in 2001. Thus the prevalence of bed bugs ensued.

What Are Bed Bugs?

            Cimex lectularius, also known as bed bugs, are blood-feeding parasites that prefer and thrive in warm, dry places. Their typical meal is usually humans, but any warm-blooded mammal will do. The good news is that bed bugs do not pose a threat on your life. They are distressing, yes, but NOT dangerous. Their bites are usually painless and do not spread any blood-borne diseases. However, you must be attentive of your children and animals for they are more prone to vigorously scratching at the bites and this, in turn, may cause skin infections. Approximately 1/3rd of people bitten do not even notice the bites. This can easily cause further infestation. The people that do experience reactions develop what looks like raised welts and can cause serious allergic reactions in some people. Resolution usually takes two weeks and can leave behind post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or darker spots on the skin.

            Bed bugs have five stages of development which typically take 40 days when well fed, however, this process may be extended if food source is limited. The egg, which looks like a grain of rice, begins the process of their life cycle. The first stage nymph measures 1.5 mm and is usually difficult to see until their first feeding. The second stage nymph measures 2 mm. The third stage nymph measures 2.5 mm, the fourth stage nymph measures 3mm, and the fifth stage nymph measures 4.5 mm. Adult bed bugs are about the size of apple seeds. Females lay between one and five eggs each day and can lay up to 500 eggs in its lifetime. The eggs usually hatch within two weeks. Newly hatched nymphs can survive weeks without feeding. Adult bed bugs can live four-six months, although some may live up to a year without feeding under cool conditions. They have an oblong shell and a tiny head. If not fed recently, they are long and brown with a flat and oval shaped body. If fed recently, they swell up like a balloon, appear reddish-brown, and have a more elongated body. They are considered a “true bug” due to their beak with three segments, an antenna with four parts, wings that are not used for flying, and short, golden-colored hairs. They are skittish and don’t like movement but they can also crawl pretty fast when they need to. They usually come out at dawn to feed but can adapt to your very own sleeping schedule. The way they feed is by latching on to its host for a few minutes and then scurrying back their hiding places to digest. More time is spent digesting than actual feeding, nevertheless, since they tend to infest so rapidly, it may feel like you’re getting new bites every morning.

Rising Number of Bed Bugs in the U.S. and Recent Reports of Findings

            Arizona, the home state of the company, Susan Brown’s Baby, has just recently experienced public outbreaks of bed bugs. The first being at AMC Westgate 20 after a photo went viral claiming that bed bugs were in the theatre and clearly displaying infestations in the cracks and crevices of the theatre’s seats. Another person afterwards confirmed this. The auditorium was cleared and reopened after being treated by a pest control company.

            The most recent public sighting of bed bugs occurred at Phoenix Sky Harbor in Terminal 4. There, near the food courts, bed bugs were spotted on a padded bench. The benches were removed and a pest control company was called. They agreed to follow up to confirm that the areas at Sky Harbor were clear.

            Nonetheless, a long-time employee whose name was not disclosed reports that the bed bug problem has been an ongoing issue for a long while now. He also claimed seeing and moving multiple pieces of furniture so infested you could see the bugs moving on it. In fact, he’s helped move so much furniture that people are noticing and concluding that it must be due to a bed bug issue. He doesn’t think they have what it takes to dispose of the bed bugs completely. Not a fun thought for those of you who travel so often, so beware.

How They Spread and Signs of Bed Bugs in Your Home

            Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers. Anywhere you travel they can simply crawl onto your clothes, and your personal belongings. You do not need to have a dirty home to contract bed bugs since their sole meal is blood and not filth.

            They love to hide in seams, headboards, bed frames, dressers, behind wallpaper, mattresses, cracks and crevices, and anywhere they can fit their small bodies so make sure to check these areas thoroughly. Also check before bringing home second-hand furniture.

            Signs of infestation include: fecal spots, shed skin, egg shells, blood stains and dark spots on sheets and pillowcases, and an offensive, musty odor from their scent glands. Also, the new bites you wake up with in the morning are a pretty significant sign.

            If you think you have come in contact with bed bugs make sure you put your clothes directly in the washer, followed by the dryer for at least 30 minutes. This part is very important as bed bugs cannot stand high heat. Make sure to vacuum often, buy a light colored mattress protector and springs to easily spot bed bugs, and install door sweeps to keep them from traveling into other rooms.

 

Tune in for next week’s blog for extermination and treatment of bed bugs! Also, don’t miss out on your opportunity for an exclusive 20% off discount code for Susan Brown’s Baby Botanical Gelèe!

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