The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is considered a public health pest. Bed bugs feed on blood, causing itchy bite marks and emotional trauma in the people who are affected. Adult bed bugs are 1/4 to 3/8 inch long, are brown in color, and have a flat, oval-shaped body. Young bed bugs are called nymphs and are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs typically feed on blood every five to ten days but can survive several months to a year without feeding.
Because bed bugs are tiny – about the width of a credit card – they are able to hide in very small spaces. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects such as mosquitoes or spiders, rashes such as eczema or fungal infections, or hives – some people do not have any reaction to bed bug bites. The United States has experienced a recent increase in bed bug infestations, probably due to people traveling more, their lack of knowledge about preventing infestations, increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides, and ineffective pest control practices.
The best way to determine if there is a bed bug infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs such as dark spots on bedding (which are bed bug excrement), their small white eggs, the skins from nymphs (young bed bugs) that they shed as they grow larger, live bed bugs, or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed. Bed bugs can hide in a many places such as the piping, seams, and tags of the mattress and box spring and in cracks on the bed frame and head board. If the bed bug infestation is heavy, they may be found in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains, in drawer joints, in electrical receptacles and appliances, and under loose wall paper and wall hangings.
The control of bed bug infestations may include cleaning all items within a bed bug infested living area, reducing clutter where bed bugs can hide, eliminating bed bug habitats, physically removing bed bugs through cleaning, using non-chemical treatment methods, using pesticides according to the label directions or hiring a pest management professional, following up with inspections and possible treatments, and educating those concerned regarding the prevention of bed bugs.
Bed bugs, nymphs, and bed bug eggs can be seen with the naked eye. Contrary to popular belief, they are not attracted to dirty places (however, cluttered areas offer bed bugs more hiding places) but rather to warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide. Bed bugs prefer darkness but keeping the light on at night won’t deter bed bugs from biting. Pesticide applications alone will not eliminate bed bugs (bed bugs in some parts of the U.S. have developed resistance to many commonly used pesticides) but they can be controlled through using a variety of methods and through constant monitoring. It is imperative that the services of a well-qualified and experienced pest management professional (with appropriate experience and knowledge regarding bed bug infestations, treatments, and control techniques) be engaged as soon as possible.
We have been receiving many calls from people throughout the United States who have suffered bed bug bites and the emotional and psychological consequences of such bites after overnight stays in hotels, motels, resorts, apartment buildings with multiple dwelling units, and in other places. We have been able to refer these bed bug bite victims to lawyers in the geographic areas where the bed bug bites occurred who have been willing to investigate their claims and bring claims against the owners of the properties (and others) where the bed bug infestations caused harm.
If you, a family member, a loved one, or a friend were the victim of bed bug bites in the United States, click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with lawyers who may be willing to represent you in a bed bug claim.
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