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Bedbugs are not an insect to play around with. They are strictly parasitic and feed on human blood. Once they have fed or have become engorged, they leave the host to hide in the darkness and wait to feed again. They feed at night and are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we naturally exhale as we sleep. A female bedbug can lay anywhere from 1-5 eggs a day and 200-300 in her lifetime. Like the German cockroach, bedbugs can get out of control in a hurry.

They are survivalists and can go up to 3 months between feedings. So no matter how well you clean or vacuum or use the incorrect insecticides, they can outlast you. And it's that very reason that treatment for bedbugs is so expensive. It is labor intensive and can require multiple visits to treat for these insects.

Bedbugs had been eradicated in the United States when DDT was being used. There wasn't a single bedbugs anywhere. Europe had outlawed DDT and bedbugs were rampant there. When the United States finally outlawed DDT, the pests eventually made it into the States due to travel. And the reason for their amazing advancement is that they are hitchhikers. They are so efficient in moving around that they can be on luggage, pant legs, inside shoes, furniture and belongings. If someone sat in a movie theater that had a bedbug on them, and then you sat in that same chair, it could latch onto your clothing and then you've brought them home. Makes you never want to go to a movie or restaurant again doesn't it.

Bedbugs can live in almost any crevice or protected location. The most common place to find them is in beds or close by. Like I said earlier, bedbugs are attracted to our carbon dioxide so they could be hiding the seams of the mattress, in a crack of the bed frame, box springs, in the carpet close to the bed or behind baseboards. Bedbugs don't fly and can't jump. They must crawl to get to their food source (humans) so they don't stray too far from a meal.























Treating for bedbugs is a lot of work. As you can see from the picture above, they are small, which means they can be difficult to spot. One of the first things you as a homeowner can do to if you suspect you have bedbugs is launder your clothes and bedding. Since those items can't be sprayed with pesticides, high heat is the best option. And it's not necessarily the water but the dryer that kills bedbugs. High heat kills all stages (egg to adult) of bedbugs. You can also put bedding, clothing, toys, shoes, backpacks in a dryer for about 10-20 minutes. Lethal temperatures will be achieved quicker if items were initially dry.

If there are items that can't go in a dryer, the next alternative is to wrap items in plastic and put them outside in direct sunlight. The temperature must reach 120 degrees or higher to be lethal. Bedbugs will also succumb to cold temperatures below 32 degrees but the cold temperature must be maintained longer than heat. Most furnishings need not be discarded, although sometimes this might be the best thing especially if the infestation is severe. In the case with beds, the most economical decision would be a mattress and box spring covers. By "locking" the bedbugs inside, they will eventually die from lack of food.

I think though that there was two very important factors that come with bedbugs. The first is that there is a stigma associated with these insects. But it doesn't mean that the client is dirty or poor. Remember, bedbugs are hitchhikers and they can be in poor and wealthy locations. I've seen both. They can be treated which leads to my second point. There isn't a silver bullet to deal with them. You must use a combination of treatments to effectively get rid of them. Just using pesticides won't do the trick. Or just using heat. There must be a combination of treatments to deal with the problem.

And finally, one of the easiest ways to prevent an infestation is to NOT bring in any discarded furniture or bedding into your home. You are just asking for trouble. If you see something on the side of the road, leave it there. There's a reason someone is getting rid of it.

I treat for bedbugs and if you have a problem with them, don't wait hoping they will go away on their own. YOU are their food source and they won't leave. Call me and I'd be happy to talk with you about how I treat for them. Remember, you don't want a single bedbug to end up like this:

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