Bed bugs are a major problem in today’s society. Until around 2010, they were relatively rare in the United States, but their prevalence has grown astronomically since then. Tiny and hard to see, bed bugs can cause itching and misery. They spread rapidly, and infestations usually require professional treatment. Yet many people are misinformed about these pesky invaders. Here are 5 unbelievable facts you should know about bed bug infestations.
1. Infestation prevalence
Bed bugs do not discriminate. Although they are the most prevalent in residential settings including both private homes and apartments, they are also found in a wide range of other locales.
Shared sleeping and living quarters appear to be the most common habitats outside of homes. This means that hotels, motels, and other rented lodgings are at particularly high risk, as are nursing homes and college dorms.
However, bed bugs can live for a long time even without a meal, which means that they can show up in some surprising locations. The 2013 Bugs Without Borders survey, conducted by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky, also found some bed bug infestations in schools, office buildings, movie theaters, laundry facilities, airplanes, and even restaurants. In short, any place that humans gather could be at risk for a bed bug infestation.
2. Infestation seasonality
Bed bugs are not considered a seasonal pest, as they have the ability to survive a surprisingly large temperature range. However, many of the pest control professionals who responded to Bugs With Borders noted that they responded to more bed bug calls in the summer than in the winter. There is some speculation that this might be because people are more mobile during the warmer months, creating more opportunities for bed bugs to travel.
3. Bed bug travel abilities
Bed bugs can travel vast distances very quickly. Though the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that they cover only around 100 feet per night on their own, and they prefer to remain within eight feet of sleeping humans, bed bugs are well-known for their hitchhiking abilities. They can travel in luggage, folded laundry, mattresses, bed sheets, and even upholstered furniture, as well as on people and their clothing. Because bite marks can take a few days to appear, by the time you realize you have been bitten, you might have no idea where it could have occurred or whether you may have accidentally transported some bed bugs from one place to another.
4. Infestation health risks
While extremely annoying, bed bugs are not generally considered a public health risk. They carry no known diseases and cause only minor irritation, redness, and itching for most people. However, some people have a more severe allergic reaction to bed bug bites. In addition, the bites can be extremely itchy, leading to protracted scratching. If your scratching breaks the skin’s surface, you could be at risk for secondary infections.
5. Where bed bugs live
A common myth holds that bed bugs are a sign of a dirty home. However, this simply is not the case. While they certainly can infest dirty houses, they also infest luxurious homes, five star hotels, and other high quality establishments. They are generally carried in by travelers, who might have picked them up unwittingly on public transportation or in another location.
There does seem to be some truth to the belief that clearing out clutter can make bed bug treatment easier, but only because clutter provides additional spots for them to hide. If you find bed bugs in your home, rest assured that you are not alone and that the infestation in no way reflects on your housekeeping skills.
With more than 40 years of service and a Tucson family legacy that stretches four generations, University Termite & Pest Control is well prepared to meet even the trickiest pest control challenges. Our Signature Series programs allow you to customize your service in the way that makes the most sense for you. Add-ons, from termite extermination to bee removal, ensure that your home and family are fully protected. Give us a call today at 520-886-4146 (Tucson) to learn how best to protect your home.