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Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite – Part 10,_Cimex_lectularius.jpg

I have a friend who was living in New York City and had her apartment infested by bed bugs.  From what I can gather, they migrated from a neighboring apartment thanks to an infested couch the neighbor dragged in off of the street.

The resulting cost in furniture loss alone (she had to throw out her bed, couch, and more) was staggering.  I remember her telling me she slept on the floor for quite some time while saving money for a new bed.

So . . . What are bed bugs and how do you deal with an infestation?

Bed bugs eat blood.  Unlike vampires, you’re not required to invite them in before they start feeding on you.

They are found in beds, blankets, sheets, and pillows  – as would be expected given their name.  But they can also be found behind switch plates, and wallpaper, in picture frames, and in cracks in a baseboard. They are little and flat and can hide easily.   

Bed bugs are often found in hotels and can be carried home with you in your luggage. 

Female bed bugs can pop out 1 to 5 eggs each day.  Under “bed bug optimal living conditions,” they live around 300 days.  That’s 300 to 1500 new little bed bugs bouncing on your pillowcase—and that’s from just one bed bug giving birth!  Let’s not get into all the sorts of freaky hybrids that can occur . . . Gah!

How can you tell a bed bug from… well, something that isn’t a bed bug?  It’s not easy, but there are a few telltale signs.

Bed bugs are about  3/16-inch long and oval.  When hungry, they are brown with a reddish tint and flat.  When full of blood, they tend to be redder in color—and quite fat for a bug.

This video from the National Geographic Channel should give you chills:

So, how do you know if you have bed bugs?  And if you do, should you worry about them spreading disease throughout your home?

And most importantly: how do you get rid of them?

Stay tuned for  Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite – Part 2.

And in the meantime, sweet dreams! 

by John Barker

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