Prevent Bedbugs from Infesting Your Home

bed-bugs-chartWhen I was in college I lived in the part of town where all the college students lived. Since Boston has more than a hundred colleges you might imagine this part of town was pretty decrepit, at least the residences were. A pretty common sight would be a giant pile of furniture covered in bright orange stickers indicting a bedbug infestation. Throwing everything out was the only solution that actually worked. Advances have been made, however, and there are now some effective solutions to the bedbug scourge.

Like Ebola, bedbugs started with bats and then moved on to people. Specifically the bugs that were drinking bat blood started to take advantage of the new cave dwellers living with the bats. This was an evolutionary divergent moment as the bedbugs with a newly acquired taste for human blood evolved to better take advantage of our ancestors. For example, the bugs became diurnal because humans sleep at night and more recently the bedbugs have become pesticide resistant.

Preventing bedbugs can be difficult mostly because the little critters are minuscule and very fast. The most common way to get an infestation is when the bugs hitch a ride into your home, usually after you have been on a trip. After researching this article, the next time I fly, I will be looking around the plane worrying about which passenger will give me bedbugs. Washing everything you traveled with will kill the bedbugs so that might be something to do as soon as you get home. Used furniture or clothing can carry the little pests also so examine everything before you bring it into your house.

web-bedbugDetecting an infestation usually starts with the occupants experiencing lots of itchy little bites. A mattress with bedbugs will have little dark stains that are fecal matter or blood. Unless the problem is extreme, you are not likely to observe the bugs themselves but the evidence of their nasty leavings will give a good indication of their existence.

For very small infestations, a chemical spray from your local hardware store might do the trick and if that doesn’t work, there are a number of things that can be done before getting a professional exterminator. Encasements are vinyl or rubber containers for a mattress that can be used to contain the bedbugs or block their entry. Interceptors are little plastic trays that go under the bed’s legs to prevent bug from crawling up onto the bed.

Recently scientists have discovered the pheromones that bedbugs use to communicate safety and food. These chemicals can be synthesized and used very effectively in a bedbug trap. Five chemicals are used to attract and one is used to arrest them, keeping them contained in the trap. In addition to being highly effective, the traps will be extremely cheap to produce and are safe and non toxic.

Author Bio:

Alex Churchill is from Boston but now works for Tashman Home Center in West Hollywood. You can follow his very sad twitter here.


Erin Emanuel