Bed Bug Bites
Bed bug bites are usually a result of their feeding habits. That’s because bed bugs feed on blood as a source of nutrition. Research shows that blood is critical to the survival of these pesky bugs. Bed bugs need to feed on blood at least once during each stage of their life cycle. Blood is also an essential factor for their egg laying process which explains why these bugs bite people.
Having a bed bug bite on your skin does not necessarily translate into a serious health complication. However, sometimes it can get worse especially if you are allergic to bites. In some cases, a bedbug bite can have no effect on you; in other situations, the bite can be itchy and irritating.
How do you know if bites are from bed bugs?
The EPA states that these bites are often characterized by slightly swollen areas (mostly red in color) that may be itchy or irritating. But! Harold Harlan, a bed bug expert, says differentiate a bed bug bite from other small parasites bites is hard. And it gets even harder to discern these bites when you consider people react differently to bed bug bites. According to the CDC, it not easy to tell if you have been bitten. The only way to tell if it’s a bed bug bite is by finding one of these bugs or by spotting signs of an infestation. The CDC goes on to add that it is quite hard to notice you have been bitten by these bugs because they usually inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant which make the bite painless and undetectable.
The CDC also says that bite marks can take several days to appear which means you may not know when and from where you got the bite. It gets even harder if you try to establish a common pattern. That’s because bed bugs sometimes bite randomly and other times in straight lines. According to MedlinePlus, there are some ways to tell whether your home is infested with bed bugs. They listed a number of indicators that may help you to conclude whether or not these bugs bit you. Some of these indicators include blood spots on your sheets, bed bug feces, cast skins and locating a bed bug bite on your skin.
What draws bed bugs to bite?
Well obviously, the first reason would be to feed, the question that remains a mystery is how do the bugs track and find you? Research conducted by Purdue University revealed that most insects wander at night but are not necessarily nocturnal. They went on to state that bed bugs are usually attracted to moisture, warmth and the carbon dioxide we breathe out. During the day, it’s hard to follow the warmth due to heat from other sources, but at night most people turn off everything in their homes, thus making them the only heat sources in the room. Bed bugs always go for the exposed parts of the body, which explains why most people get bitten on their faces, arms, neck, hands or even legs.
Why do bed bugs bite more than once?
Bed bugs often feed better if they get blood directly from a blood vessel, and that’s why it usually takes a couple of bites for them to drill into the right vessel. Also, these bugs are usually very sensitive to movements, which means that they will always withdraw from feeding every time the host moves a little. Once the movements stop, the bug starts looking for a new blood vessel to feed off – which explains why they bite a lot. This also nullifies the assumption that the number of bed bug bites is equal to the number of bugs that feed on you.
Common signs and symptoms of bed bug bites.
Like all other parasites, bed bugs do have a unique signature. Below are the most popular signs and symptoms of these bites;
- Groups of tiny and itchy bite marks.
- Bite marks on exposed parts of the body.
- Skin irritation around bite marks.
- Insomnia due to the incessant skin irritation.
- Enlarged bite marks, painful swellings and in some cases anaphylaxis (if you are allergic.)
- According to the Canadian Medical Association (on a journal written back in 2009), they treated a 60-year-old man suffering from anemia. This was as a result of excessive blood loss from bed bug bites.
- The Egyptian Society of Parasitology confirmed the severity of bed bug bites when they published a journal in 1991. It stated asthmatic patients are more sensitive to allergic reactions caused by bed bug bites than healthy people.
How do you prevent bed bugs from biting you?
Unfortunately, if you live in a bed bug infested home, it is quite hard to prevent these parasites from biting you. That’s because you won’t even feel them bite you in the first place. The best way to avoid bed bug bites is by preventing an infestation. The EPA highly recommends controlling these bugs using the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method. This process takes into account a few critical facts;
- These bugs reproduce very quickly!
- Their eggs are resistant to most pest control measures.
Use both chemical and non-chemical pest control methods for eradicating bed bugs from your home completely. Below are a few measures you can take to treat and remove bed bugs from your home.
The Non-Chemical Approach
* High temperatures are effective in killing bed bugs. Heat your bedding and clothes in a dryer for at least 30 minutes. Thermal Heat your house to temperatures not less than 120 Degrees F for 5 hours to kill eggs too. Heat any infested furniture or luggage. Remember, the higher the temperature, the more efficient this method will be.
The Chemical Approach
Although using pesticides is usually the best and the most immediate option, EPA recommends using it together with the non-chemical options. Use EPA approved pesticides, to ensure you use chemicals that won’t cause harm to you or your household.
In conclusion, bed bug bites may not spread diseases, but they can be the root of some secondary skin infections, stress, and even sleeplessness. Therefore, they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Always take preventive measures to ensure that your home remains bedbug-free. That’s the only way you are going to steer clear of bed bug bites.