If you’re wondering what this disgusting picture is, it’s a bed bug. It’s pretty much a cockroach that feeds on you like a mosquito. After a couple months of Annie complaining about getting bug bites in my guest bedroom, **Annie** finally called up the exterminator. The night before the inspection, I discovered a small bug on my bed that looked like the photo above. I quickly caught it and examined the specimen. I’m pretty familiar with bed bugs—in my spare time, I like reading about strange insects.
I just never thought that I’d have one in my home. I asked one of my coworkers for advice—he had them for 4 months. This was his response:
1. Are you sure they’re bed bugs? How did you find it? They move fast and rarely appear under light. In my four months of having them, I only saw one bug and a few discarded exoskeletons.
2. You should get bed bug covers for ALL mattresses and boxsprings in your space. If they’re already there, they’ll be trapped. If they’re not, they won’t have an easy place to hide–they’ll have to travel to get to you for feeding, and that gives you space for eliminating them. If you don’t have them at all, it’s still good prevention. It’s worth shelling out for the higher quality covers.
3. This won’t stop them, but it will keep them away from your bed while you’re doing the more potent treatment with the exterminators:
It’s often sold in your average supermarket/pharmacy, although maybe that’s just in NYC.
4. I would advise getting a portable steamer. It’s really the best way to kill them — steam everything that might be infected that can handle light water.
5. The exterminators will advise that you bag up everything–the bed bugs will just hide in your clothes (etc) if they can for a while and avoid the poison. If you don’t get them all, it only takes one female to repopulate your apartment in a month.
6. A full wash/dry cycle on hot/high will kill them in clothes.
The things I did immediately were:
• **Annie** Called 3 different places
• Went with Orkin
• Had them come in to investigate ASAP
• Had them come in and spray ASAP
I have another treatment scheduled in another 3 weeks as a follow up to ensure there’s nothing left to kill. Upon his inspection and first treatment, he claimed that the bed bug I found was just a straggler. He also said that I was fortunate that I didn’t have an infestation. I caught it at its earliest stage. Had I left it alone for 6 months, I would have had a very expensive problem.
There’s a lot of information out there about bed bugs and how to prevent them. In general, my advice after being exposed to them would be:
• Inspect everyone’s luggage if they’re staying over.
• Be careful buying used furniture.
• Call a professional if you suspect you have bed bugs.
I’ll keep you updated on the progress.
For now, learn more about them by watching some videos. It’s important that everyone can identify them. This is becoming a serious problem in the US (especially in NYC and DC).