Bed Bugs: Inspecting for the New “House Herpes” – Part II
Posted by Property Guiding
PART II – Continued from last week…
Fortunately, the health dangers posed by bed bugs seem to be limited to temporary skin irritation and inflammation, akin to mosquito bites. There are no known cases of disease transmission from bed bugs to humans, despite the fact that the parasites seem similar to other parasites that do transmit disease, such as fleas and ticks. Anaphylactic shock, however, may be experienced by a small percentage of the population, and measures should be taken to prevent bacterial infection of bitten areas. Adult bed bugs are flat, apple-seed sized with rusty-colored, oval bodies. Newly hatched bed bugs are semi-transparent, light tan in color, and the size of a poppy seed. Yet, due to their elusive nature, their presence is usually discovered through peripheral clues rather than by seeing the bugs themselves. Some of these signs include fecal spots, blood smears, crushed bugs, or the itchy bumps that may result from bites. Bugs may be disturbed while feeding and leave a cluster of bumps, or they may bite in a row, marking the path of a blood vessel. The parasites emit a characteristic musty odor, although the smell is sometimes not present in even severe infestations. The bugs also emit a smell that is detectable by dogs, which has lead to the implementation of dogs in bed bug detection. Properly trained dogs can find bed bugs in wall voids, furniture gaps, and other places that humans may overlook and, in doing so, they focus on the area in which exterminators must spray.
It is best for bed bugs to be treated by pest management professionals (PMPs), not homeowners, as there is risk that an inexperienced person may spread the infestation further throughout the home. For instance, bug bombs will be ineffective and merely spread bed bugs. Even chemical sprays designed to kill bed bugs, if used by inexperienced homeowners, may make the infestation worse. PMPs can inspect for bed bugs in their immature stages of development, including their eggs, while homeowners cannot. In addition, prep work performed by a homeowner may make it difficult for the PMP to assess the extent of the infestation.
The following tactics may be useful, however, for temporary relief or confirmation of the presence of bed bugs:
- Remove bed skirts, as they provide easy access for the bugs to travel from the floor to your bed. If you must have bed skirts, make sure they do not reach the floor.
- Move your bed away from the wall. Bed bugs cannot fly, but they can climb walls in order to fall onto the bed.
- Place furniture legs in tin cans coated with talcum powder, petroleum jelly or a non-evaporative liquid, to deter the bugs from climbing.
- Place a strip of duct tape at the base of furniture with the sticky side out. This tactic can be used to confirm the presence of bed bugs because it will trap them in place.
- Spray cracks and crevices with an insecticide designed to control bed bugs. Follow the label’s directions carefully. However, do not treat bedding, towels or clothing with insecticide.
Homeowners can limit their chances of bed bug exposure by purchasing only new furniture, as stowaway bugs can hide in older or used chairs and mattresses. Hostels, hotels and motels host many travelers and are obvious breeding grounds for bed bugs, and many hostels ban sleeping bags for this reason. Unfortunately, person-to-person contact is difficult to avoid.
In summary, bed bugs are a growing, serious threat. Along with wood-destroying organisms, inspectors may want to enhance their knowledge by learning to recognize and become familiar with the problems posed by bed bugs because of their potential to infest homes and damage property.
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Posted on July 17, 2012, in Inspections and tagged Anaphylactic shock, Bed Bugs, Comprehensive Building Consultants, Dogs, Inspections, Inspector Gadget, Non-evaporative liquid, Parasites, Pest Management Progessional, Petroleum Jelly, Property Guiding, Russ Hensel, Wood-destroying organisms. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.