Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

A bed bug nymph feeding on host
A bed bug nymph feeding on host (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!” Chances are you have said these very words to your little ones before, all in fun of course. But what do you do when your little ones actually do get bit by these nasty critters? As I have stated before my family and I have recently relocated to Nashville and fell in love with the area immediately so when we found bed bugs in our apartment we were horrified. The nightmare for us began on our first night in our apartment. But since I was the first to have a problem and it wasn’t an every night occurence I assumed that it was hives. I went to the doctor but they didn’t have anything to tell me so the torture continued. Soon my children were being bit in the night but where mine looked like a rash with small bites like the blisters you get with hives they had actual bites. We tore the beds apart and washed all the bedding but couldn’t find any bugs.

  Before long neighbors were complaining of similar problems but couldn’t find a cause. One by one we went to the office to let them know something was wrong. A pest control person was brought in and we were told that we had dust mites or a skin allergy or our pets have flees. They put covers on the mattress and sprayed a little in the bedroom to prevent bed bugs. Upon his first inspection bugs had only been found in one apartment but we were not informed of the problem nor were we told how to take precaution to protect ourselves. In a three-day span we each found the source of our discomfort, BED BUGS! They were everywhere, In the beds, the carpet, the baby’s mattress and the walls. They were creeping out from behind the walls to feed on us as we slept. Outraged, I pulled a bug ridden tag from my mattress and put it in a ziplock baggy to show the office. This time they were not going to tell me it was allergies. They called the pest control guy again and he said he would be there in two days to look at my apartment again. Well I wish this would have been the end of the story but unfortunately it only seems to be getting worse. Because after some investigating on my part I am finding that the property isn’t doing what they need to do to resolve the issue and actually expect me to pay for the next bed bug outbreak when and if they get this one under control. I didn’t bring this one with me and I am sad that I now have to throw out my belongings because of the property managers negligence in this matter. We are looking for a new apartment and in the mean time we are sleeping on our living room floor and still scratching.

 There is a bed bug epidemic in Nashville so ours is not a new story. Many of the apartment homes and hotels are dealing with them. The problem is that many choose the cheep way out than dealing with it in a proper and timely manner. So what can you do to protect your family? Educate yourself. Know your bed bug facts and myths.

  • Bed Bug Myth One: You can’t see bed bugs. This is not true. You should be able to see the bugs in all stages of life including their eggs and shed skins.
  • Bed Bug Myth Two: Bed bugs live in dirty places. Also not true. They are attracted by warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide. Beware of clutter in your home because it will offer them places to hide.
  • Bed Bug Myth Three: Bed bugs transmit disease. Actually according to the EPA there have been no cases or studies to support the idea that disease can spread from host to host.
  • Bed Bug Myth Four: Bed bugs don’t like brightly lit rooms. False again.They do prefer the dark, but a hungry bed bug isn’t going to let a light bulb stand between it and a warm meal.
  • Bed Bug Myth Four: You just need to apply some pesticides to get rid of your bed bug problems. This would simplify matters but it will not be enough to solve your problems. They must be applied properly to be effective and many populations have become immune to pesticides. Consult with a professional extermination company. They will be able to evaluate and treat your problem effectively. Keep in mind that it requires time and patience and several treatments to eradicate these unwanted visitors.

 Now that we have dispelled some common myths lets look at ways to prevent the infestation and spread of these little red terrors. To prevent them from infesting your home use dust mite and bed bug bite mattress covers and pillow covers. I purchased mine from Walmart. The mattress covers start at $28.00 and the pillow covers at $7.00. Your cost depends on the size covers you need but the long term investment is well worth the money you pay. This will provide a barrier between the bugs and your mattress and pillows. It also makes them more visible and easier to find if you should get them. Also eliminate any clutter you have laying around. They are not attracted to dirt but if you give them someplace dark to hide it is harder to get rid of them. Store these things away in plastic storage containers with a cover if they are not in use. I have found also that tea tree oil when applied to your arms and legs and burning sandalwood incense an hour before climbing back into bed seems to keep them at bay when we try to sleep. I don’t have any facts to back this one up, it just seams to work for me. Be sure to get the real deal don’t buy the cheep imitation stuff. Again I can’t offer one scientific shred of evidence for this it just seems to be working for me, for the moment at least.

An adult bed bug (Cimex lectularius) with the ...
An adult bed bug (Cimex lectularius) with the typical flattened oval shape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 If You go out of town becareful not to lay your luggage out on the floor or beds because bed bugs can get into your personal belongings and hitch hike home with you. Check the mattress and head board for any signs of bugs before getting into it. Look for the bugs along the seams of the mattress, under the blankets, and anywhere in the headboard that a bug may be able to squeeze into. adults are a reddish brown color and about the size of a tick ( though I have seen them smaller ) and they are the width of a credit card. The babies are whitish in color till they feed on you. The eggs are white but still visable. Look for other signs as well. Are there any brownish spots on the sheets or mattress? This is blood from feeding and/or bug droppings. There may also be shed skins from the bugs. Upon returning home you should empty your clothing directly into the washing machine. Keep in mind that water will not kill these pests no matter how hot or cold the water is. To kill them you need to put your laundry on the hottest drier setting for a long time. You can then put your laundry away as usual.

  The bed bug bites are hard to identify because they can take on the appearance of other insect bites or skin problems.They can look exactly like masquito or spider bites. It can also look like skin conditions such as eczema or fungal infection. They may look like a skin rash such as hives or eczema. In my case they actually look just like hives with big, itchy, burning welts but my son’s looks like he has a mild case of eczema.Some people don’t react at all to the bites. If you think it may be caused by bed bugs call an exterminator to properly detect and eliminate these pests because they are difficult to control. You would think that simply applying pesticide to the affected areas would solve your problem but this can make your problem worse. First, bed bugs are travelers. If you spray a specific area they will simply pack up and move to another part of your home where warm bodies can be found. In addition to this some populations have become immune to pesticides. A trained profesional should be able to advise you for your particular situation. If you decide to buy some do-it-yourself extermination products then be sure to follow the manufacturer label on the bottle. 

  We have been fighting a nightmare in this apartment and I wouldn’t wish this on another person. Mom’s educate yourself on the facts so you don’t become another helpless victim. Nothing is more infurriating than knowing that something is wrong and having someone talk down to you as if you are stupid.My landlord keeps trying but he gets stressed when he realizes that he has been caught in another lie.For these and other facts please go to http://www.epa.com.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

    1. Thank you for the information you shared. Our landlord still has not resolved this problem and we are still getting bit. The bites are not fun. I really want to get this info out to the public so they can be better informed on how to identify and manage this problem.

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