Discussions about the Bed Bug Epidemic
It seems everywhere you turn, you hear about the bed bug epidemic and how children and adults are being bitten alive! Worse is that a single bed bug brought home from an infested hotel room can multiple and turn your home into nightmare!
I recently received the following questions and will provide answers shortly.
- I’m interested in the “history” of bedbugs. Do bedbugs have a distinct origin? Did they begin on a certain continent, then migrate across the world? Or were they always prevalent across the globe?
- How bad is the current bedbug infestation compared to other times in the last 200 or so years? Was there ever a peak time or epidemic? If so, what effects did it have, and how ere humans able to combat the rising numbers of bedbugs at that time?
- What are the dangers of living in a space that is infested with bedbugs? Are there any serious health issues? Long-term health risks? How do they effect children or pets?
- How do bedbugs usually spread from house to house?
- Are there any preventative measures one can take against the invasion of bedbugs into their home? If so, what are they?
- What tips can you give to someone who is trying to get rid of bedbugs themselves?
- When shopping for a new house or an apartment suite, what clues can people look for when trying to evaluate the risk of a bedbug infestation? Are there any clear warning signs?
- What responsibility does the landlord have in disclosing the presence of bedbugs to potential renters? What rights do renters have, in this respect?
- What is the most effective way for commercial exterminators to rid a premises of bedbugs? Has there been any new changes in the technology or methods of these exterminators?
- Most importantly, why have bedbug populations skyrocketed in the past 5 years? Is it due to the cessation of DDT use? What can North American governments do to counteract this growing problem?
- Many vacationers have been scared away from hotels. Generally, how infested are hotels? Have they become dangerous? Are there other places that are more risky that we don’t even think about?
Do they jump like fleas? I think i have bed bugs and I haven’t been able to sleep well cause i feel them crawling up and down all night long, i don’t have any bite marks but i know they are in my bed.
Bed Bug Girl::
No, they don’t jump like fleas do. I’m not trying to enhance your fear, but you can be bitten and not have any bite marks; some people react differently than others to bed bug bites. If you feel them crawling, then you should be able to turn on the light and see them, they don’t move that fast… Take a look at our bedbug checklist to find out where they are hiding…
I know people from India brought bed bugs to my apartment complex. I lived here for 2 1/2 years before they came, and there were no bed bugs. I know, because I flipped my mattress every time I washed the sheets. Then old mattress got a hole, so I stopped flipping. Then my neighbors from India moved in a year ago and that’s when I started to get bites, and saw black stains on my white sheets.
I found masses of bed bugs crawling on top of my box spring, when I pulled my mattress back. Then I threw my mattress out, and the landlord called pest control to spray my apt, and the peoples’ from India, because it was obvious they had brought them. The pest control guy says that 95% of his cases are people from India and Pakistan.
My bedroom wall and bathroom wall are shared with the other apartment, and that is how they get in. I found a hole under the baseboard in my bedroom where they were getting in, and caulked along the whole wall. I used expanding foam around the edges of the electrical outlets, and tried to seal up everything in the bathroom. When I asked landlord to spray again, he blamed me, saying that the people next door claimed they had no bugs. I said that they were probably lying.
Pest control was sent to search their apartment, and found bed bugs. They sprayed over there, again and I started finding adults again, where I had gotten the population down to babies just by doing nightly total bed searches and flushing what I found. After the second pest control visit, I would go to the bathroom at night and find them in there, so they are still getting in my bathroom and I can’t stop them.
I love India, their ancient culture, their food, their religion and philosophies, their people. But when they bring this hell into my life and my country, why can’t I just say so? Why can’t we say “Hey, you’ve made our lives hell! We don’t want bed bugs. Please leave your clothes, bedding, and luggage at home.” I am planning on moving and throwing away all my furniture, even though I am on food stamps and housing assistance, and we might be sleeping on the floor, unless we can afford new beds.
A bed bug epidemic of my own, I recently found 5 of them in the seam of my mattress and I killed them! I sprayed a bed bug poison on my bed and drawers and all of the usual hiding places I sprayed all the baseboards ripped out the cheese cloth from the wooden base of bed spayed liberally everywhere plugs, light switches (turn power off, don’t get in electrical outlets, etc), let all that poison dry then I siliconed shut every crack in my home…
Took all clothes, sheets, pillows, comforters, put them in plastic bags and placed them on my balcony for a week, I’ve heard that heat kills the and cold kills them in a week..but I live in Montreal, it’s -17c right now..-30c with the wind so in the name of science I captured a bed bug and put it in a small pill container and put it outside..for and hour and I can now tell you that bed bugs are not resistant to -30c I’ve got me one dead bed bug..after 1 hour of Montreal weather (2pm -30c) its even colder.
I have experienced bed bugs, I was having a issue of seeing marks on my arms but I thought maybe I was breaking out from the products that I wash my clothes with, or maybe its dust mites from work coming from the boxes that I open everyday, but then when I was sleeping at night I could feel something crawling on my legs I didn’t know what to expect cause I never dealt with anything like this.
One day 4 sure I was on my way to work and something just kept itching at me telling me that I need 2 look under my sheets and I did and I saw the bed bugs crawling they were all on my mattress, I didn’t see them anywhere else but they came from my neighbor down stairs she had them and now look what happen to me.
I have been living here for 3yrs and never experienced anything like this and my biggest concern was my children but they were just in my room, I have had so many sleepless nights its UNBELIEVABLE and I still cant get over the feeling of them being on me I still wake up at night and look on my new mattress and check to see if they are they but I guess its just a mind thing.
This is bad for me though, 1 night I was up every 30 minutes on the hour cause I couldn’t sleep thinking about them but I don’t have them anymore, and i’m still scared they might come back. They do have spray in the store for them now you can get it at RITE AID or WALGREENS its called SLEEP TIGHT-don’t let the bed bugs bite, like that’s suppose to be funny and I thought that was just a saying I didn’t think it was true.
i live in collingswood new jersey and “bed bugs” have raided my apartment complex the complex “the heights of collingswood” is 4 separate buildings up to ten stories high they say they are doing “effective preventative treatments” but the bugs are positive for separate hits in the building! as a resident, what are my rights for breaking a lease, and vacating the premises??? if this is considered a health hazard?? this is my livelihood, my personal property? the landlords have declared as stated in the lease agreement that anyone who breaks the lease will be charged 4months rent in addition to their security deposit!!! i pay over 1000$ a month!!! what can i do???
Update from Anne: We moved to a house, and it was more than I could afford. We threw out the beds and desks. We had to get boxes of food from churches, because we couldn’t afford food–no fresh fruits or vegetables all summer. My kids are still sleeping on the floor, on mattresses donated by friends. We do not have a dining room table–simply cannot afford one.
This past Christmas, a few days ago, I wasn’t able to get a single present for my kids–my bank account is overdrawn. Are the bugs gone? I can’t find any, but my back is covered in bed bug bites right now. Believe me, I know a bed bug bite when I have one. I’ve been having them for two years, as of last month, and am allergic. They leave neat, tiny, round itchy, deep holes, that itch and scab all the way through the skin.
Last week–I spent $20 at the laundromat, washing all clothes, bedding, coats. The more I wash, the more I get bitten. It’s like when you make war on them, they fight back and bite more. I’ve noticed that people have more babies at war times–it’s an unconscious, survival of the species kind of thing. Bed bugs do that too. The war I have fought is a whole other two-year long story.
My next move is to use a bag of diatomaceous earth which I bought at Ace Hardware (God bless them for carrying it) on hand.
A friend of mine ended up getting evicted from his 2 bedroom apartment because of his bedbug problem. Before this happened I had spent time there often and not realized much about the problem. Apparently they were not only in his bed but on his floor, couches, walls, furniture, other porous things. I didn’t see a lot of them and I didn’t know much about them or what they were, or what they had the POTENTIAL to DO. I wish he would have told me or WARNED me. He obviously knew about them.
NOW I have the problem, too. It was during August, September, and October that I went to his apartment probably between once a week to once every about 2 weeks. I slept and lived peacefully in my OWN bed, in my own house, until the 2nd week of DECEMBER when I first noticed that I had bedbugs in MY room now! I don’t know where they were HIDING but they found somewhere. Maybe on my clothes or my shoes. It is now the 3rd week of FEBRUARY and the problem is STILL NOT GONE…I have not heard much from my “friend” since November.
I may just have to call an exterminator; I probably should have done that before. I’ve been trying “home remedies” but it hasn’t totally eradicated the infestation. I’m going to throw out my mattress and I’m considering buying a couple mattress covers just to cover it, blankets, pillows, and sheets up before I carry them through the rest of the house to get them to the front door outside to be thrown away. Because right now it is mostly in my room and I’m afraid that the physical action of carrying the infested fabrics through the house will cause the bedbugs to spread to the rest of the house. The bugs and eggs could simply fall onto the carpet in the halls and stairs right? It’s ironic that I was planning to move into a new apartment during February but I didn’t want to because I was afraid of just getting the new place infested.
SO what I’d like to share with the world is if you DO have bedbugs……………..PLEASE be courteous to people that you come in contact with! If they come over to your house/apartment/dwelling place/car/borrow your stuff frequently or for any period of time please make them aware that they are at risk for catching what is like a disease themselves! Denying it won’t help; just tell them; they would rather find out now than later.
I got this second hand couch, because i can’t afford a new one. As we moved in the couch in our house we were very happy, but our happiness soon turned into grief, it was INFESTED by the Bed Bugs, so the war has begun.
May GOD help me in this War against Bed Bugs
insane with bites::
To people with deep scabs: It might be scabies. They leave craters on your skin. And to the several people who have mentioned sleeping on a mattress on the floor, i would think you are just asking for more bites for your children and yourself. Wouldn’t it be much easier for bed bugs to get to you with the mattress on the floor, as opposed to being in a bed frame? I plan to try putting the plastic bowls under the legs of the bed frame (in a non-affected bedroom) to see if i can keep them from getting to me while i treat the other room (see bed bug traps on this site). I’m also going to try some of the other things mentioned here because i have so many bites i want to scream. i have not been able to find any bugs, but they must be there. Thanks to all for your ideas.
We figured out that we had them the last week of December. No one can imagine the financial and emotional stress these creatures bring. We threw out most of our furniture. It took 2 1/2 months to fully be rid of them. We took everything out of the bedrooms and living rooms and paid Terminex to treat. It always bothered me that we didn’t see any dead bugs after they left. We have a large freezer. I washed everything and kept things in the freezer a few days before bringing them back in. It has now been 4 months and I still sleep with a flashlight and feel like bugs are crawling on me!
why wont the gov. give the ok,for the same spray they used after the second world war? we had NO BED BUGS!!!
A few remarks on the subject:
- You don’t have to throw out your sheets, etc. You can simply wash them. Insects, note, don’t have lungs, as we do. They breathe through “sphiracules” (little holes in their sides), and when they get wet, they die. This is why, if you find a bug on you or a book you’re reading, or the like, your best bet is to walk to the nearest sink, coax the bug onto a spoon, shake him into the sink, and flush him down the drain! (You’ll see right away that once he’s in the sink, he’s trapped: he can’t climb up a slick surface like stainless or porcelain. Take a vicious satisfaction in watching him wiggle his legs before you MURDER him!)
- If you don’t want to *wash* everything, you can put it through a cycle or two in the dryer. Bedbugs evolved (as bat-bugs) in caves, where temperatures are pretty stable. They can’t stand deep cold or high heat. They die if you freeze them, and temps of 200-odd kill them too.
- If the exterminator tells you to bag up everything you own, be aware that all you’ll do is bag up any bugs that might be *in* what you own, and thereby keep them safe from sprays and other inhibitors. You will have to keep it all bagged for at least TWO YEARS in order to starve the bugs (one under lab conditions lived 500+ days without feeding). If you have a cat (they often love to chew plastic), this means you have to rent a storage cubicle and put everything in it till that time period has passed–and, of course, in the meantime, you can’t access or use any of it. It makes better sense to offer to pay the exterminator a little more if he will simply spray all your stuff. (This is why a really effective treatment of a whole house takes 6-8 hr. And probably why, after two Orkins, I still have bugs! They were only in the apartment about 30 min. Granted it was a small apartment, but still!)
- The reason we are suddenly plagued with these critters is twofold. First, there’s a lot more travel to exotic (read: third-world) countries by Americans than there used to be, and a lot more immigrants from same coming here. Second, since 1972 it’s been illegal to use DDT in this country. DDT is what we used in the 50’s and 60’s, and it eradicated the bedbugs so thoroughly that when they started coming back, around the year 2000, nobody knew what they were! Doctors couldn’t identify the bites! A whole generation had grown up never seeing a bedbug or being bit. (It’s my opinion that we should re-allow DDT for *interior* treatments. Yes, it’s bad for birds and their eggs, but birds and their eggs are seldom found in one’s home, and bedbugs are too lazy to go strolling around outside and be consumed by a hungry bird. After 40 years–which is something like 416 generations in bedbug time, or the equivalent of about 10,400 years to us human beans, i.e., 8388 BC, about the time cities were first being established–any resistance they had worked up to DDT should be bred out of them, because they haven’t needed it.)