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AUGUST 15 2023 /
Bed bugs and humans have coexisted for thousands of years. Historically, bed bugs were thought to be active in ancient Egypt over 3000 years ago, and it’s possible they were around humans even earlier than that.
With all of this history, it’s easy to understand how stories about bed bugs developed over time.
From the nursery rhyme about not letting bed bugs bite to the common idea that you’ll only find bed bugs in filthy houses, our beliefs about bed bugs have been formed from the stories we’ve heard about them.
But are all these stories true?
The truth is that although solid information about bed bugs has been passed along over the years, a lot of falsehoods have also taken root.
In order to know what you need to know in the event that bed bugs infest your Washington D.C. home, it’s important to weed out the myths from the truths. So here is the truth about common bed bug myths in Washington D.C.
Let’s take this myth one section at a time. First, is it true that bed bugs will only be found in or around beds?
It would seem like this myth is true. After all, these pests are called bed bugs. Why would they be named that if they could be found in other places?
The truth is that bed bugs are absolutely found in and around beds. In fact, if you were to track all of the places where bed bugs are found, beds would easily beat out all the other locations. Bed bugs like beds because they provide easy access to a food source.
Since they survive on blood meals, bed bugs have to spend their time in areas where there is a readily-available food source.
Most people get into bed every night and spend quite a few uninterrupted hours there. This provides bed bugs with the time they need to crawl onto the person, get their meal, and go back to their hiding spots before the person wakes up.
However, just because bed bugs are often found in and around beds doesn’t mean they are only found in and around beds.
Bed bugs like to move around and they can be found anywhere that humans spend time. They might be found on furniture, in the cracks and crevices of your living room floor, out in public places, or anywhere where people are found.
The second part of the myth says that bed bugs only infest dirty homes.
It would be nice if this was true because it would mean that keeping bed bugs out of your Washington D.C. home would be as simple as keeping your house clean. Unfortunately, this is another myth.
The source of this myth probably comes from the fact that bed bugs have an easier time finding hiding spots in dirty houses.
If your house has a lot of clutter lying around, bed bugs can find ample places to remain out of sight.
By staying hidden, they can go for a longer period of time without being discovered. If they can go a longer period of time without being discovered, they also have a longer period of time to breed.
Often, by the time the infestation is discovered in a messier house, it has grown to be quite large. Big bed bug infestations are more likely to be talked about, which is probably how this myth took hold.
The truth is that bed bugs can be found anywhere, no matter how dirty or clean the house is.
Although this is bad news for people who like to keep their house as clean as possible, the silver lining is that a bed bug infestation is more likely to be identified in its early stages in a house that is clean and free of clutter.
This makes it easier and faster to eliminate the infestation, which can save you a lot of stress and sleepless nights.
There is good news and bad news when it comes to this myth. The good news is that there is no concrete evidence that bed bugs spread any diseases.
Although there is always the chance of something turning up in the future, as of right now, you don’t have to worry about contracting a disease from a bed bug infestation.
However, that doesn’t mean that you’re entirely out of the woods when it comes to health-related issues from bed bugs.
A bed bug infestation in your Washington D.C. home can lead to several problems in different areas of your health.
First, your mental and emotional health are bound to take a hit when bed bugs invade. Knowing you have a pest infestation of any kind is a pretty good reason to feel stress, but knowing you have an infestation of pests that feed on your blood while you sleep is particularly troubling.
Along with the stress they cause, many people who experience a bed bug infestation also find themselves experiencing insomnia. This lack of sleep quickly leads to other problems in your life, such as lack of focus, poor job performance, and a greater risk of injury.
Along with the mental health effects of a bed bug infestation, and despite the fact that they aren’t known to spread diseases, there are some physical repercussions from a bed bug infestation.
As you probably already know, bed bugs bite. They require blood meals to develop, and humans are their preferred host.
Bed bug bites will appear on your body as small red bumps, much like flea or mosquito bites. They will be itchy and will often appear in small linear groups of several bites.
Besides the annoyance of having itchy bites on your body, there is also the risk of infection that goes along with these bites.
If you scratch them, you could end up breaking the skin, which could lead to a secondary infection.
Although these types of infections are typically mild and only require over-the-counter topical medications, if not taken care of, they could require a doctor’s visit to have something prescribed.
In addition to the risk of secondary infections, there is one other physical health risk from a bed bug infestation. Although rare, it is possible to end up with anemia due to a bed bug infestation.
This can happen in cases where the infestation is severe and you are getting dozens of bed bug bites a night. Most people identify and take care of an infestation much earlier in its development so this never becomes a problem, but anemia caused by bed bugs has happened and it could happen to you if you allow an infestation to go unchecked.
This myth may have come about because a lot of people discover their bed bug infestation after waking up with bug bites, but before they ever see a bed bug.
Because bed bug infestations are so often discovered without ever having seen a bed bug, it stands to reason that people might assume they’re just too small to see.
However, the truth is that the reason you might not see any bed bugs in your house even when they’re there is that bed bugs are really good at hiding.
They won’t just hang out in the open waiting for you to find them. They are much more content to stay tucked away in the seams of your mattress, between your box spring and headboard, behind picture frames on your walls, or even in electrical outlets.
Adult bed bugs are easily visible to the naked eye. You just need to know where to look.
They are about the size and shape of a small apple seed. When they haven’t eaten, they have flat, oval-shaped bodies.
After a meal, their bodies become engorged and elongated. They have reddish-brown bodies, so they show up better against light-colored surfaces.
Although eggs and nymphs are harder to see than adult bed bugs, they are still visible to the human eye.
Bed bug nymphs go through five stages before becoming adults. In the earliest stage, they are very small and nearly translucent, but with each stage, they become a little bit larger and a little bit darker.
The eggs are tiny and white. About the size of a pinhead, it can be easy to miss them.
Sometimes they are laid singly and sometimes they are laid in groups, so although they are not too small to be seen, you definitely have to be looking for them in order to find them.
In addition to seeing the bed bugs themselves, you can also identify bed bug infestations by a couple of other signs. Bed bug bites have already been mentioned. You may also see tiny red spots on your sheets or blankets.
These blood spots are a sign of a bed bug infestation. Tannish brown fecal streaks on your sheets or blankets are another sign of a bed bug infestation.
After discovering a bed bug infestation in their Washington D.C. homes, a lot of people decide to try to eliminate them on their own because they figure it will save time and money.
There are a lot of DIY bed bug treatments available, but do they actually work?
One way people try to get rid of bed bugs is by washing and drying their bedding on a hot cycle.
This may very well kill the bed bugs on your sheets and blankets, but it does nothing to eliminate the bed bugs that are hiding everywhere else.
Some people try to eliminate their bed bug infestation by buying a new mattress.
However, just like washing your bedding, this doesn’t take care of the problem in any other area. If even one-bed bug was hiding somewhere other than your mattress, your infestation will return.
There are many spray treatments you can buy at the store to try to eliminate your bed bug infestation. Some of these will yield results. However, they have a few downfalls.
First, if you mix or use the chemicals incorrectly, they can be harmful to you, your family, and your pets.
Second, they usually only eliminate some of your bed bug infestations. The rest of the bed bugs will either simply miss walking through the treatment or will sense danger and go into hiding.
Bed bugs can go without a meal for several months, so it can feel like you’ve taken care of your infestation only to have it return a few months down the road.
The best thing to do when you have a bed bug infestation in your Washington D.C. home is to contact a professional.
American Pest has almost 100 years of experience in the pest control industry and we have become experts in understanding bed bug biology and behavior in that time.
With this knowledge, we’ve developed bed bug control treatments that are extremely effective against bed bug infestations of all sizes.
We don’t simply treat the bed bugs we can see, but make sure to get every last bed bug and bed bug egg in order to make sure your infestation is completely eliminated.
Instead of spending time stressed and unable to sleep, and instead of wasting money on products that don’t fully eliminate the problem, contact American Pest.
We’ll use our expertise to solve your bed bug problem in its entirety. Contact us today to schedule your bed bug control treatment.