How or where do bed bug infestations originate?

Question: I am an 8th grader attending the middle school I.S.119. We are doing a feature article and I had picked the topic on bed bugs. I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me so I could include them in my article.

You do not have to answer all of the questions I have listed, however, I would appreciate it if you answer as many as possible.

-How or where do the infestations originate? How do I prevent it?

-Would their bites cause any concern?

-How do I know whether I have been bitten?

-How do I know whether or not I have bed bugs?

-What do you think are the worst effects of bed bugs?

-Are there techniques to get rid of bed bugs?

-What was the worst case of bed bugs you've encountered?

ANSWER: These small, reddish-brown, wingless insects hide during the day. They emerge at night to take a blood meal from people sleeping. Nymphs (immature, or baby bed bugs) are whitish until they take a blood meal. Adult bed bugs resemble watermelon seeds.

The bed bug takes several minutes to feed, and then it may not feed again for 2-3 days. Most people do not notice the first few bites. If a person is bitten repeatedly (over a long period of time), he or she might develop skin irritation at the bite sites. The good news is that there have not been any documented cases of bed bugs transmitting diseases to humans.

Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices. They produce a "sweet" odor that can be obnoxious if there are a lot of bed bugs present. Since bed bugs bite people while they are asleep, there are often blood stains or fecal spots, also referred to as ink spots, on their bedding. People also often find dark stains where the bed bugs hide. These dark stains, or ink spots, are the bed bugs' droppings.

Infestations can be brought in with luggage, backpacks, or gym bags. People also bring bed bugs home in items that they buy at thrift shops and yard sales. There have even been cases of bed bugs in the seats of a movie theater. People can even bring bed bugs home in their clothing.

Bed bug infestations are very difficult to control. I did a hospitality facility once that had 19 rooms adjacent to each other with signs and live infestations. Bed bug control is best left to experts who know how and where to look for these blood-sucking insects. The best one can do is call us and request an inspection to be done by an Orkin Certified Bed Bug Specialist.


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