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Posted on June 11, 2012 with No Comments
The resurgence of bed bugs has caused more than the creepy little blood suckers to come out of the woodwork. Some self-proclaimed pest control professionals and marketers are trying to take a bite out of your wallet by peddling products that claim to prevent or remedy bed bug infestations. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – one of the federal agencies responsible for managing the bed bug problem – reports an increase in the number of individuals and companies making unrealistic claims about their abilities to control or eradicate the pests.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, urges you to be cautious when shopping for products and services related to bed bug infestations to avoid being sucked dry financially – and possibly making the problem worse.
Bed Bug Basics
Bed bugs are good hitchhikers, riding into homes in and on luggage, furniture, bedding, or clothing. Once inside, the pests like to hide in small cracks and crevices – behind your bed’s headboard, in the seams and tufts of your mattress and inside the box spring, along baseboard cracks, and behind wallpaper. The presence of bed bugs has little to do with cleanliness, although clutter can provide good hiding places and make them difficult to treat.
Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts. Bed bugs typically feed on blood every five
to 10 days, but can live for a year or more without eating. They also can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to almost 113 °F.
The Tell Tale Signs of Bed Bugs
Adult bed bugs are oval, wingless and have a rusty red color. They have flat bodies, antennae and small eyes. For photos, see www.epa.gov/bedbugs. They are visible to the naked eye, but often hide in cracks and crevices. So when you clean, change bedding, or travel, look for other signs that they may present, like:
- dark spots about this size: • on furniture, including mattresses and boxsprings. They are bed bug feces and may bleed on fabric like a felt-tip marker.
- rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
- bed bug eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and white.
- live bed bugs, though there are many other bugs that may look a lot like bed bugs. It’s important to get an expert’s identification.