Some things really should just stay out of fashion. Bed bugs, long dismissed as a pest endured by our ancestors, have crept back into modern life. If you visit a place that is infested with bed bugs, they can hitch a ride in your suitcase to begin a new colony in your house. You can't judge a bed bug by its bite. That nasty welt on your leg could have just as easily been caused by a flea or a mosquito. Here are some things you'll want to know about bed bugs, including what to do about them.
Maybe you don't want to know. Bed bugs are non-flying, bloodsucking insects that have adapted to living close to their food source. That means us. When they bite, they take a few drops of blood, and inject saliva into our skin. Over time and repeated exposure, some people can become sensitized to bed bug saliva and develop irritations or even allergic reactions.
Bed bugs are around a quarter of an inch long when mature, about the size of an apple seed. The hatchlings are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Their bodies are flat like a pancake, enabling them to hide in tight spaces, such as behind baseboards or in the folds of mattresses.
Bed bugs like to hide in dark, tight places and are patient. They're able to hang around for months waiting on a meal, and can live a long time, well over a year if the conditions are favorable. However, they don't just come out in the dark; bed bugs will venture into the light if they're hungry enough.
Bed bugs can be hard to control because some bed bug populations have developed a resistance to pyrethroids, the most common insecticide used for bed bug treatment. You can use Ortho® Home Defense® Dual-Action Bed Bug Killer to kill bed bugs and their eggs, because the special formula kills even the toughest pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs. The non-staining formula can be used on mattresses, furniture, and carpet, or even as a spot treatment for luggage. Ortho® Home Defense® Dual-Action Bed Bug Killer also has a residual control, which protects for up to 2 weeks indoors on carpet and ceramic surfaces.
However, if your bed bug problem is substantial you may feel more comfortable with a professional treatment. If you rent your home, contact your landlord about having the property treated for bed bugs. Be sure that adjacent apartments are treated, too, since bed bugs can travel between walls. If you own your own home, contact a pest-control company.
For more information, see our video on how to inspect for bed bugs.