Bed bug infestations are a rising concern in New Zealand as several establishments, including hotels, hospitals, and even childcare centers, have reported the presence of these biting insects. Bed bug infestations can quickly spread with the least bit of contact, and your home could be their next breeding ground.
The Dangers of Bed Bugs
Once you experience an actual bed bug infestation, you’ll want to burn your beddings and buy a new one from the store or shop online. People have been left traumatized and with some even exhibiting symptoms similar to PTSD. Bed bugs are insects that feed on blood, and humans are one of their favorite targets. Their bites can sting and itch with more serious bites leading to inflammation. Once they infest your house, continuous biting can lead to sleep deprivation, heightened stress levels, fatigue, and infection. Chronic exposure to bed bugs can also lead to depression and even paranoia. Recently, bed bugs have also been found to be responsible for the spread of Chagas disease. The disease is a condition brought about by the infection of the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, causing those infected to develop severe heart and gastrointestinal problems. Chagas affects more than 8 million people and close to 50,000 die each year.
Signs of Infestation
The most obvious signs of a bed bug infestation are traces of blood on your pillows or beddings. These tiny red spots are evidence that bed bugs have been feeding on you as you sleep. You might also find dark blood spots on the mattress, nearby furnishings, or adjacent piles of clothing. These rusty blood spots are the blood-rich feces of engorged bed bugs. More advanced signs of infestation include smelling a coriander-like odor and finding actual bed bug shells. The coriander-like scent comes from the sweat glands of these nasty insects, and once you smell it, it means you have a severe infestation. Bed bug shells are also a serious sign of infestation; seeing these spent shells means the bed bugs in your home have started molting and that only happens after they have fed on blood for long periods.
Dealing with these Pesky Insects
You can minimize your risk of infestation by frequently vacuuming, sealing the cracks and crevices near your bedroom, and encasing your mattress in a tightly-woven material. Try to limit your visits to hotels and motels, and when you do, immediately wash your clothes in warm water once you get home. Bed bugs are resilient insects, and the usual pest control method might not be as effective when dealing with them. Heat treatment is the only sure way to get rid of bed bug infestations. Heat treatment raises the temperature of your room to above 60°C, ensuring that bedbugs and their eggs are eliminated.
In the end, you will not be able to sleep tight if the bed bugs are biting. Look for early warning signs of infestation and do what you can to make sure your home stays free from these pesky insects.