Bed Bug Basics
So what are bed bugs, anyway? Everyone has heard of them. They're essentially little bugs that are nocturnal and feed off human blood. There are actually a lot of different kinds, including some that feed off certain types of animals like chickens, but the ones most people are worried about live mainly off humans. They usually live inside of mattresses, where they have convenient access to a food source - you. They crawl out just before dawn and bite you, sucking out blood for about five minutes. You don't feel anything until after the bed bug is already safely back in its home.
They will usually bite once a week or so, and they can actually live for a long time without feeding - usually six months, but sometimes over a year.
Bed bugs can infest all kinds of different places in your bedroom. Most often they're in the mattress - in the seams, the box springs, or sometimes the linens. However, they can really be anywhere near where people sleep - furniture within crawling distance, carpet, books, phones - they've been found in all kinds of random things, because they don't create a nest, they just hide somewhere.
Bed bugs used to be nearly completely eliminated in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe - largely because of DDT and because of certain chemicals used against roaches. In recent years, however, there have been rising levels of infestations because these chemicals have been banned or restricted in most Western countries. Bed bugs have also begun to develop immunity to many of the pesticides that are still legal to use, making them much harder to kill.
Can bed bugs hurt me?
No, they aren't actually dangerous. However, the bites are annoying and they can cause skin irritation and rashes, especially if you've got a lot of them in the mattress. So it's always a good idea to get rid of them - because each bug can lay four or five eggs a day, leading to a pretty big batch of them if you leave things alone.
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