Just in case you don’t have enough to worry about during this miserably hot summer, with the failing economy, the Gulf oil spill and the millions of contaminated eggs out there now, a new problem is bearing down on us… Bedbugs. The former pests once almost entirely eradicated, have returned and may be spreading like the plague, to a city near you.
Bedbugs (Cimicidae) are small wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals and humans like us. They don’t carry any serious diseases but they can certainly make life miserable.
Bedbugs are flat, oval shaped and the size of an apple seed. They have evolved as nest parasites and have adapted nicely to living in human “nests” awaiting their hosts’ arrival for their dinner.
Bedbugs bite their hosts as they sleep. The bugs are most active just before dawn .They bite their victims with a mouthpiece made up of two tubes that inject saliva that prevents clotting. Then they suck up blood from the wound.
The bites generally produce swelling and itching similar to a mosquito bite. The bites can take a week to appear and often are present in groups of three about ¼ inch apart. Some people respond to being bitten with anxiety, nausea and insomnia.
The number of bedbug infestations has increased noticeably in the last few years. Some blame the decreased use of pesticides combined with the increase of world travel.
Bedbugs are opportunistic and travel along for the ride. The bugs stay on the seats of airplanes, cars, buses and other types of public transportation eventually clinging to a passenger and hitching a ride home to hotels or private residences. They have been arriving at upscale housing as well as cheap hotels.
They are happily reproducing, getting out of the house and appearing in offices, schools, libraries, movie theaters, restaurants and department stores. They travel along, hitched onto their human hosts’ clothing and accessories to a new adventure and home.
They have even been found in a Victoria’s Secret Store in New York. An AMC movie theater in Times Square had to be shutdown. A famous Public Library in Colorado is infested.
Certain North American Cities have the dubious distinction of being on the top 10 list of bedbug infested locations. They are: #1. Columbus, Ohio…#2. NYC, New York…#3. Toronto, Ontario…#4. Bloomington, Indiana…#5. Manchester, New Hampshire…#6. San Francisco, California…#7.Durham, North Carolina…#8.Vancouver, British Columbia…#9. Chicago, Illinois…#10. Denver, Colorado.
Residents of these cities or any city, are urged to inspect their belongings and report bed bug sightings to their health and housing departments. Unfortunately bedbugs have become resistant to most pesticides, and removing them should be done by professional exterminators for best results.
Residents are encouraged to check their bedding and clothing frequently. Putting newly purchased clothing through the washing machine and dryer as soon as possible is a good idea. Take your own chances sleeping in a hotel. Check your clothes and accessories upon leaving, and wash and dry them as soon as you get home.
There are now cute little specially trained dogs who sniff out and locate bedbug infestations. They can determine which rooms require fumigation, thus treating only the affected areas and saving money.
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