Some things really should just stay out of fashion. Bedbugs, long dismissed as a pest endured by our ancestors, are creeping back into modern life. If you visit a place that is infested with bedbugs, they can hitch a ride in your suitcase to begin a new colony in your house. You can't judge a bedbug by its bite. That nasty welt on your leg could have just as easily been caused by a flea or a mosquito. Here are some things you'll want to know about bedbugs, including what to do about them.
What Are Bedbugs, Anyway?
Maybe you don't want to know. Bedbugs are non-flying, bloodsucking insects that have adapted to living close to their food source. That means us. When they bite, they take a few drops of blood, and inject saliva into our skin. Over time and repeated exposure, some people can become sensitized to bedbug saliva and develop irritations or even allergic reactions.
What Bedbugs Look Like
Bedbugs are about a quarter of an inch long when mature. The hatchlings are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Their bodies are flat like a pancake, enabling them to hide in tight spaces, such as behind baseboards or in mattresses.
Bedbugs like to hide in dark, tight places and are patient. They're able to hang around for months waiting on a meal, and can live a long time, well over a year if the conditions are favorable. However, they don't just come out in the dark; bedbugs will venture into the light if they're hungry enough.
Calling in the Professionals
If you rent your home, contact your landlord about having the property treated for bedbugs. Be sure that adjacent apartments are treated, too, since bedbugs can travel between walls. If you own your own home, contact a pest-control company.