Marketwatch.com reports more than a third of pest management companies treated bedbug infestations in hospitals in 2012, 6% more than the year before and more than twice as many as in 2010, according to a survey released today by the National Pest Management Association.
The percentage of exterminators dealing with bedbugs in nursing homes has also almost doubled since 2010, to 46%. Bedbug experts also report seeing them in ambulances.
The Center for Disease Control explains bed bugs are not known to spread disease, but they can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.
This is especially problematic in hospitals, where there is a greater likelihood of catching the highly potent and contagious staph infection known as MRSA, says Dr. Jorge Parada, medical director of the infection prevention and control program of Loyola University Health System in Chicago. “You don’t need one more ingredient to increase your risk of infections in the hospital,” he says.
Bed bugs are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.
Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms.
They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.
What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?
One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area.
These signs include:
- the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
- bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
- rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
- a sweet musty odor.
Treating bed bugs
If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs.
There are even companies with highly specialized Bed Bug detection Canines, who can detect Bed Bugs when humans cannot, and more efficiently so affected areas can be treated before infestations spread.
Methods currently used to combat bedbug infestations include freezing, extreme heating, vacuuming and pesticides.
The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspections to watch for the signs of an infestation.
HealthDay News reports a centuries-old bedbug remedy of using kidney bean leaves to trap bedbugs may offer a model for a non-toxic, modern-day treatment.
Microscopic hairs on kidney bean leaves stab the insects, effectively trapping them, the researchers discovered. They are using their findings to develop non-toxic synthetic materials that will mimic the effects of the bean leaves and help prevent bedbug infestations, according to the report, published online April 9 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
The age-old Balkan treatment involved scattering kidney bean leaves on the floor next to beds to ensnare the blood-thirsty critters. Within seconds of stepping on a leaf, the bugs were trapped. Microscopic hooked hairs on the leaves, known as trichomes, stab the bugs’ legs and immobilize them, the researchers explained.
Basically … learning the bean leaf’s secrets could help researchers create a bio-inspired reusable bug trap that would avoid chemical solutions — and it won’t dry out after just a few days like a leaf.
Stay safe, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite..! 🙂 j & B