Bed bugs are a nuisance. In fact, for all the discomfort and difficulty they cause, they’re a bit more like a plague. Unfortunately these dreadful creatures are on the rise in cities around the United States. From New York City to Anchorage, homeowners are increasingly calling on pest control to eliminate these bugs. This raises the question, why are bed bugs on the rise?
The Bed Bug Boom
Bed bugs have been around a long time; there is evidence of these pests over 3,000 years ago in Egypt. As for the United States, we had nearly eliminated bed bugs by the 1970s because of the use of DDT-based pesticides. Unfortunately, when we stopped using DDT, most pesticides were adjusted to specifically target cockroaches. Since cockroaches are a natural predator of bed bugs, the bed bug population flourished as the cockroaches disappeared.
Air travel is another reason that bed bug populations may be increasing. People bring back bed bugs from countries where the infestations are less controlled and the bugs spread from there. It’s also important to note that bed bugs aren’t found exclusively in bedding. They feed on warm-blooded creatures and will attach to other furniture and clothing, seeking cooler spaces while resting and warm bodies at feeding time.
While 88% of homeowners say owning a home has been a positive experience for them, bed bugs are certainly a low point for many. Luckily, there are many precautions you can take against bed bug infestations.
Windows are a major entry point for bed bugs, so it’s important to install screens, particularly over first floor windows, as bed bugs can’t fly. You can also line windowsills with coffee grounds to deter the bugs, since they are repelled by the scent of coffee and will steer clear.
It’s also important to inspect your bed frame, sheets, box spring, and pillows on a regular basis. Bed bugs like to hide in corners, so make sure to get underneath the frame and don’t forget to wash your bedding regularly. Vigilance is the best strategy for eliminating bed bugs before they shift from a minor nuisance to a big infestation.
Do You Need An Exterminator?
Sometimes you just can’t get rid of bed bugs on your own, and it’s time to get a professional on the case. In fact, taking things into your own hands can get dangerous – a woman in Detroit set her apartment on fire trying to get rid of bed bugs herself after a year long infestation. Hiring an exterminator may be costly, but the benefits certainly outweigh those costs.
If you’ve washed your bedding and tried a few other home remedies to get the bed bugs out of your living space, you’ll need to bring in an exterminator. This is especially true if the extermination has reached the point where you need to close off a section of your home. No natural remedy, from traps to repellant lemongrass plants, will make the bed bugs leave.
Remember: Bed bugs can affect anyone. The bugs are often associated with unclean living environments and poverty, but bed bugs are just after a warm body. They will just as happily take up residence in an urban penthouse as a small village home. Make sure the bed bugs don’t bite you and take precautions today.