Bed Bugs

Don’t let the Bed Bugs Bite! How to Protect Yourself from Unwanted Crawlers!

If you’ve been reading the news lately, it’s hard to ignore the concern about bed bugs in the media.  While it looks like most of the infestations are happening in New York City, we thought it would be important to let everyone know what these little creatures are like and what to look for to make sure they don’t become your problem. 

Bed bugs were thought to be exterminated in the 1950’s; however, their talent of being able to hide and survive in small, dark spaces for up to 550 days, makes eradication efforts nearly impossible. In addition, bed bugs are very small, roughly 4 mm in length by 2.5 mm in width, making them hard to detect (see image below).These stubborn critters even adapted to the common chemicals used to exterminate them in the past, making them harder to kill today.  Not to worry though, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and the bed you sleep in. Remember, if you catch them early, a professional exterminator can relieve you of your unwanted late night guests.

Department of Entomology

Here’s how to prevent bed bugs:

  • Wash your clothes immediately returning from a vacation or trip
  • Check hotel beds and linens for signs of these critters
  • Do not buy mattresses, linens, or luggage from second hand stores!
  • If you suspect there are some in a specific area of your home
    • Carry out infected items to the trash in plastic bags
      • This prevents the bugs from getting in other rooms of your house!

Signs of an infestation:

  • Mosquito-like bites in clusters or rows of three anywhere on body
  • Tiny rust-colored or black spots in the following places
    • your mattress seams
    • the underside of box springs
    • above box spring baseboards
    • the room in question at the junction of wall and ceiling

If you find yourself keeping company with these unexpected pests, the first thing to do is to contact your apartment manager, resident housing advisor, or leasing agent to notify them of the infestation. After letting the appropriate housing manager know, contact an exterminator ASAP! A trained professional will know how to handle the bugs properly to ensure that they will no longer bug you! Finally, it is important to report incidences to the local public health department (Butte County Public Health) so that they can keep a record of the pests in order to prevent a county-wide problem.

So keep an eye out and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Info retrieved from article by: David Von Drehle, Time Magazine & the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),8599,2021036,00.html

-Written for Student Health Service by Stephanie Dunbar and Naomi Ingram - Peer Health Educators