Report: Bed bugs on the rise in Crawford County

Crawford County General Health District

An increasing number of bed bug complaints are being seen in Crawford County. In August 2013 a report was released by a pesticide company with over 300 branches throughout the United States that listed two major Ohio cities as being in the top 10 cities in the U.S. for bed bug infestations. Bed bugs are brought into a home by several means. They can hitch a ride on used furniture, clothing, bags, bedding, and toys or other items brought from an infested home. Bed bugs can also travel through the spaces in the walls from one infested unit in an apartment building to the other units.

Bed bugs are small (about ¼ inch – about the size of an apple seed), brown, oval-shaped, flat insects which inhabit human dwellings. The bugs may get crushed by a sleeper during the night and leave bloodstains on the sheets. If these signs are present the first place to look for the bugs is on the mattress, particularly in the seams. Bed bugs lay eggs every day (1 to 12) on rough surfaces or in cracks where they stick. Bed bug eggs are white (about the size of a pinhead) and are found in cracks or crevices in clusters of 10-50 eggs. The eggs hatch in 6 to 17 days, and the nymphs can feed immediately. The nymphs are much smaller and white, but turn red when they’ve had a blood meal. Bed bugs reach maturity after five molts in about 21 days. Adults can live as long as 12 to 18 months without a blood meal.

Bed bugs are not known to transmit any diseases. Their bites are painless and typically occur at night while you sleep. Some people suffer an allergic reaction and develop painful swellings similar to mosquito or flea bites. The bites may itch for up to two weeks before healing.

Bed bugs are very difficult to treat. Treatment can take several months and be very costly – taking an emotional and financial toll on families. Bed bugs will hide in every place they can find, behind light switch covers, in electronics, toys, furniture, clothing, picture frames, and knick-knacks. Once you determine you have a bed bug infestation, you will probably require a professional pest control specialist that is familiar with bed bug treatment. Only a licensed exterminator has access to the restricted use pesticides which are most effective. Bed bugs are resistant to DEET, Boric Acid, and household bug bombs. (Bug bombs can actually make the infestation worse by causing the bugs to scatter to another area of the house, without killing them.) Also, the indiscriminate use of pesticides can create an environmental hazard, or a health hazard, and can cause pests to develop a resistance to pesticides.

Crawford County General Health District