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The Common Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs, who's common name comes from it's preferred habitat, are small parasitic insects that feed solely upon the blood of warm-blooded animals. They range in size from about the size of a poppy seed as hatchlings, to about a 1/4 of an inch in length as adults. They are oval in shape and flat, they range in color from nearly white (when molting) to dark brown.

While Bed Bugs have not been known to transmit any infectious agents, their bites may cause a mild allergic reaction. Repeated bites can cause a person to be sensitized at which point additional bites may result in a more intense allergic reaction. And while bed bugs are mainly nocturnal, when hungry, they've been known to come out during the day looking for a host to feed on.

Until recent years, a large number of our population was unaware that the common bed bug existed. Bed Bugs were the topic only in fairy tale stories and expressions. But In fact, bed bugs were common in the first half of the 20th century. Widespread use of pesticides such as DDT and improvements in hygiene during the 40s and ‘50s lead to their dramatic decline. However, during that time, the pests remained fairly prevalent in other countries and other regions of the world. In recent years, the bed bugs have also made a comeback in the U.S. and the district has seen a resurgence of them.

So why the resurgence? The University of Kentucky speculates that Immigration and international travel Along with a change in modern pest control practices (less effective bed bug pesticides) have undoubtedly contributed to the resurgence of bed bugs in the U.S.

Click here for our new handout - Bed Bugs, Don't Panic


How Do I Know if I have Bed Bugs and How Do I Check?

Because they feed on humans, bed bugs can be found in and around mattresses, sofas, and other furniture. They congregate and hide within the cracks and crevices of furniture but most often they're found in mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards. As you look for an infestation, pay particular attention to dark spots of dried waste that are often present along mattress seams. Look for the bugs themselves, and the light-brown, molted skins of the nymphs.

Checking for bed bugs can be a tedious process since often times it requires the dismantling and moving of furniture. However, a thorough inspection can be crucial to finding an infestation, especially in the early stages.

Items such as mattresses, headboards, dressers, and sofas should all be dismantled and over turned to visibly inspect hard to see areas. Box springs should be visually inspected underneath where the fabric is stapled to the wooden frame as this is a favorite place for the bed bugs to hide. Nightstands and dressers should be emptied and examined inside and out, then tipped over to inspect the woodwork underneath. When inspecting chairs and sofas, be sure to inspect not only the cushions and seams above but also the fabric beneath.

How Did I Get Bed Bugs?

Chances are you picked up the bugs from another infested area. Bed bugs can be transported very easily in or on such things as luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, or other items traveling items. As mentioned earlier, they are small and their eggs are even smaller. They can be easily carried in on a person’s clothing, shoes, or overlooked when transporting items from one place to another. Purchasing or acquiring secondhand beds, couches and furniture can be sources of an infestation.

Getting Rid of Bud Bugs...

First and foremost, it is never a good idea to apply pesticides unless you fully understand what you are applying and the risks involved. You may be held legally liable for misapplying a pesticide, or applying a pesticide without a license to do so, especially if you a renting your dwelling. Property owners may purchase and apply certain pesticides to their own property, however, it is always best to call a licensed pest control operator for assistance. If you are renting contact your landlord or management company since it will be crucial that other adjacent dwellings be inspected as well. The U

For further assistance you may contact our office by using our contact page or by calling (860) 745-0383.

Preventing Bed Bugs

The following are helpful tips to preventing bed bugs entry into your home or apartment:

  • Inspect used furniture, TV’s, linens, cloths, boxes, etc. before you purchasing.
  • Refrain from picking up furniture (including mattresses, clothes etc.) off the street.
  • Inspect gifted furniture, luggage, clothing etc. whether they come from a personal acquaintance or not.
  • Inspect Items from self storage facilities or items carried in rental, delivery or moving trucks, before bringing them into the home.
  • And inspect rented furniture from rental furniture centers before accepting deliveries.

The New Mattress Law

In 2013, Connecticut became the first state to pass comprehensive mattress recycling legislation. Connecticut’s Public Act 13-42 (enacted in 2013 and amended in 2014) required the mattress industry to create a statewide recycling program for mattresses discarded in the state. The Program is funded through a recycling fee collected from consumers at retail when a mattress or box spring is sold. The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), a non-profit organization established by the mattress industry, created and manages the Program. The Connecticut Mattress Stewardship Program, approved by the Department of Energy & Environment Protection, requires a $9 recycling fee on all mattresses and box springs sold in the state. The fee will begin to be collected starting May 1, 2015 in addition to recycling services beginning. Visit http://www.byebyemattress.com/recycling-locator/ to find out where you can dispose of a mattress nearest to where you live.


Frequent Travelers

As you might guess, bed bugs can be a problem for places such as hotels, motels, and apartment complexes where the turnover of occupants is constant. If you're a frequent traveler staying in Hotels/Motels or live in an apartment complex, remain vigilant. Frequent travelers should routinely check furniture and bedding for signs of bed bugs. This would entail examining the bed sheets and upper and lower seams of the mattress and box spring, especially along the head of the bed. Some professionals also suggest removal and examination behind the headboard, a frequent hiding place for the bugs in hotel rooms. Headboards are heavy and cumbersome, however, and untrained persons should not attempt removal themselves. If bed bugs are discovered, travelers can request another room, preferably in another area of the building. Vigilant travelers may also want to elevate suitcases off the floor on a luggage stand, tabletop or other hard surface. Should travelers experience itchy welts suggestive of bed bug bites during their stay, it would be prudent upon returning home (before unpacking) to place all clothing in disposable plastic bags and directly into the washer and/or dryer. Inspecting or vacuuming luggage upon arrival home is less useful since it’s hard to spot bed bugs inside a suitcase. The suitcase itself can either be treated or discarded.

The following tips may help keep Bed Bugs out of your home:

  • Select clothes which can be laundered in hot water and withstand 30 minutes of hot drying
  • Select hard smooth luggage over fabric luggage. Hard smooth cases have fewer places for bugs to hide
  • Pack plastic bags to seal up purchased items or to isolate items which may become infested
  • On arriving at your vacation destination, keep luggage off the floor and beds. Place on luggage racks if possible. Do not unpack clothes. Keep luggage closed when not in use. Hang business suites and dresses on a shower rail
  • Inspect bed area for brown fecal spotting and bugs on mattress seams, headboards, furniture and objects adjacent to the bed. (Before leaving home, learn about what bed bugs look like. They can be mistaken for carpet beetles, a fabric pest)
  • Before checking out, pack clothing and souvenirs in sealable plastic bags, check luggage, including shoes, for bugs
  • On arriving home, unpack luggage outside the residence; take clothing in plastic bags directly to washing machine and wash immediately; dispose of empty plastic bags in trash; dry clean delicate clothing; lightly spray empty luggage with a pyrethrum-based insecticide [Note: Freezing must be for longer than 72 hours to kill bed bugs]
    Bed bugs are not everywhere! Only a small number of travelers will encounter bed bugs. Vacationers should keep the problem in perspective. By following a few simple precautions, the possibility of getting bed bugs can be greatly reduced.

About NCDHD

The North Central District Health Department is a full-time Public Health Department with a full-time staff funded by its member towns and a annual per capita grant from the Connecticut State Department of Public Health

Our Mission is to prevent disease, injury, and disability by promoting and protecting the health and well-being of the public and our environment.

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