Quite an unsettling sentiment to tuck someone into bed with, but we have all had our parents say this, or have even said it to our own children. Bed bugs were a national nuisance, a fact of life, until World War II. Since then we have developed pesticides to deal with the problem, but these resilient bugs have not given up their quest for blood.
Traveling at night and hiding in dry dark spaces, like loose wall paper, inside furniture and even in light sockets, these little guys stay relatively out of sight. Their favorite sent is the carbon dioxide that we give off when we breath. One whiff and it’s hunting time. Once on the skin they grip on for dear life as they rock back and forth slowly inserting their long needlelike feeding organ, a mandibular stylet which has small teeth, into our skin. They can feed by sucking for up to five minutes or more undisturbed before becoming engorged with blood. Although bed bugs can live up to a year between feedings, they normally feed every 5-10 days.
Though we have developed pesticides against them, some populations in major cities like New York have developed nerve mutations making them able to survive our chemical attacks. Although they usually do not travel with humans, they have been known to hitch rides, or even set up shop, in the clothing of homeless people or others who do not change and wash regularly.
But not to fear, there are effective non-toxic ways of getting rid of these pests. By using a desiccant dust mixed with their own pheromone, you can attract them and then the dust simply dries up the bug until it dies.
Just writing this makes me kinda itchy…
Photo Credit: OveTableCuriOsitiEs