Sunday, May 07, 2006
Largely a pest to be reckoned with back in the days before world war two, it appears these secret agents of the bug world are making a comeback in a big way! Crafty at the game of hide and seek, these bugs hitch hike in luggage and make their way into your home where they hide in the smallest of cracks until they are hungry and go looking for a midnight snack. It looks like our jet set lifestyle and globalization are to blame for a comeback any Hollywood has been would kill for. Some points to ponder about these buggers are that they can live for a half a year without any food. Females need a blood meal before laying her eggs and when she does lay then look out! A female bed bug can lay 200 to 400 eggs during her lifetime. These eggs will hatch in 10 days or so depending on conditions. The newbies need to shed their skin or molt 5 times to make it to adulthood and in order to shed the skin they need, you guessed it, a blood meal.
So where do you look for these vampire of the night if you suspect you have them. First things first. If you think you may have bed bugs then try to catch one and have it identified. Inspecting for bedbugs if a daunting task. They hide in an seam,crack,crevice,tiny hole,tuft, they can find. You have to look: EVERYWHERE! Look behind curtains, take switch plates off the wall, if you have peeling wallpaper then peel it back and look, in drawers and nightstands, in hollow curtain rods and bed posts, boxprings, mattresses, under rugs, baseboards, molding of doors, pull back wall to wall carpets and look between the tack board and the wall,in alarm clocks, radios, clocks, behind pictures, cushions, pillows. Get the picture. Can you say, "nuclear bomb"? Well it's not that bad. It will be most likely you're going to have to call in the pros for this one. Be prepared to spend about 400 bucks a room. A good pest control expert will spend about 2 or more hours in a room and will need to treat and inspect all ajacent rooms upstairs and sideways. So what can you do? VACUUM! That's right, Vacuum like there's no tomorrow. Vacuum everywhere, in all the areas mentioned above. Then seal as much as you can. Cracks and crevices, caulk around window frames and baseboards, etc. Don't slop the joint up with caulk, but do what you can and consult your pest control expert as to what to seal. When you are pretty sure your bed is safe they make it an island adventure. Tuck in all your sheets and covers, move the bed away from the wall and people have been know to even put the legs of the bed in bowels of soapy water to prevent the buggers from crawling up the legs back onto the bed.
If you decide to do it yourself, then be sure to be careful what kind of chemicals you use and read the label of the product to make sure it can be used. Some products like Sterifab can be used in sensitive areas. Just be careful and thorough. I still recommend a pro. One other thing, don't give up. They are bugs and we are humans. We will prevail!
Check out these two interesting articles I found on Google News about the buggers.
Terri Gruca's article in the WCCO http://wcco.com/consumer/local_story_125103328html
And Jodi Dorsch's article in the PCT online http://www.pctonline.com/news/news.asp?ID=4224