Bedbugs have been around for thousands of years; however, the problem has been growing worse thanks to increases in international travel. For those who spend time in places with high turnovers of overnight guests, places like hotels, homeless shelters, dormitories, or hospitals, the risk of encountering bedbugs increases.
Cimicedae, commonly known as bedbugs, are reddish brown, oval and flat, and are approximately the size of an apple seed. During the day, they hide in the cracks in beds, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. While not strictly nocturnal, bedbugs are mostly active at night and go unnoticed while the inhabitant sleeps.
The bugs were largely eradicated in the early 1940s, however there has been an increase since around 1995. The rise in bedbugs has been largely blamed on the rise in foreign travel, although other possible causes include the more frequent exchange of second-hand furniture, an increased focus on other household pests that's resulted in neglect of bedbug prevention, and an increase in the resistance against pesticides.
There are steps you can take to prevent bites from bedbugs. Covering up with clothing as much as possible during the night can help guard against bites, as bedbugs don’t tend to burrow under clothing. Bed bug spray also substantially reduces your risk of bites. Make sure that the product you purchase is specifically designed for bedbugs, as repellents for mosquitoes or ticks aren’t very effective against bedbugs.
Prevent infestations by inspecting any used mattresses or furniture before bringing them into your home. When staying at hotels check the mattress seams for bedbug excrement and place luggage on tables or dressers rather than the floor. Remove any bird or bat habitats that are nearby that might serve as a refuge for bedbugs, especially following an attempt to exterminate them from your home.
Take your health into your own hands and be proactive in protecting yourself against bedbugs.