More and more cases are being heard about bed bugs in the United States. Skin rashes, fecal spots, blood smears on sheets are just a couple of clear signs that your bed may be infested. As children we heard the saying over and over again, "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite". Who would ever have thought that these little critters really exist. Unlike dust mites, bed bugs are visible to the human eye. They are flat, brown, wingless and measure about 1/4 of an inch. They are about the same size as a lady bug. We are not the only ones that can get bitten by this tiny bug. They feed on any warm-blooded animals as well, even our beloved pets. Bed bugs that live in cold climates can live without blood for a year but in hot climates they can only survive without feeding for 5 months. These tiny creatures prefer to hide in cracks and crevices during the daytime and come out to feed on the host's blood at night, usually while we sleep.
If you suspect your bed of being infected with bed bugs then it is a good idea to sanitize the area immediately. The first thing you should do is get rid of the mattress. If you can't afford to get rid of the mattress then vacuuming the mattress and applying a seal able cover should be sufficient. Don't forget to vacuum along baseboards, nearby furniture, bed stands, rails, headboards, foot boards,bed seams, tufts, buttons, edges of the bedding as well as the edges of the carpets(particularly along the tack strips). Discard vacuum cleaner bag in a sealed plastic bag immediately when finished vacuuming. Next, wash the sheets and garments in hot water (120F minimum). Place pillows and other non-washable items in the dryer for 20 minutes on high heat. It is always a good idea to have duvet covers over your comforters in these type of situations. Duvet covers can be easily laundered unlike comforters that usually cannot be easily laundered. Prevent bed bugs from hiding in other areas of your home by caulking cracks along the baseboards and molding, sealing holes in areas where pipes or wires go through the wall and reducing unwanted clutter in the bedroom.