A chance to learn about bed bugs at Glenwood Springs talk | PostIndependent.com

A chance to learn about bed bugs at Glenwood Springs talk

Kay VasilakisGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Cimex lectularius (bed bug)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Many parts of the country are experiencing an increasing problem with bed bugs. These nasty little creatures seek out people and animals, generally at night while these hosts are asleep, and sip a few drops of blood. While feeding, they inject a tiny amount of their saliva into the skin. Repeated exposures to bed bug bites during a period of several weeks may cause victims to become sensitized to the saliva of these bugs; additional bites may then result in mild to intense allergic responses. The skin lesion produced by the bite of a bed bug resembles those caused by many other kinds of blood-feeding insects, such as mosquitoes and fleas. Bed bug bite signs and symptoms will usually affect the surface of the skin, revealing themselves as small itchy red bumps known as papules or wheals. Lesions may appear in a linear or clustered fashion, indicative of repeated feedings by a single bed bug. Some individuals may develop allergic reactions or larger skin reactions such as large, itchy wheals; blister-like skin inflammations; groups of small, swollen sacs of pus; and skin rashes similar to hives. If this hasn’t already made you paranoid, read on.The offending insect can rarely be identified by the appearance of the bites. A physician should be consulted to rule out other causes for the lesions and to offer treatment, as needed. The affected person should resist the urge to scratch the bites, as this may intensify the irritation and itching, and may lead to secondary infection. Physicians often treat patients with antihistamines and corticosteroids to reduce allergic reactions and inflammation. The size of the bug is dependent upon its life stage, but adults are about the size of an apple seed or half of your little fingernail. Their color ranges from nearly white or a light tan to a deep brown or burnt orange. The host’s blood may appear as a dark red or black mass within the bug’s body. Because they never develop wings, bed bugs cannot fly.

Specimens suspected of being bed bugs should be collected into small break-resistant containers such as a plastic pill bottle or a zipper-lock plastic bag. They may also be secured to a sheet of white paper using clear packaging tape. These containers should be packaged carefully to prevent damage to the sample, and be sent to a knowledgeable expert for positive identification. If you suspect a bed bug infestation, don’t panic. Search for signs of bed bugs by carefully inspecting the bed frame, mattress, and other furniture for cast bug skins, and blood spots, which indicate an infestation has occurred. They may also be found within pleats of curtains, in corners of desks and dressers, within spaces of wicker furniture, and in laundry or other items on the floor or around the room. Sometimes, characteristic dark brown or reddish fecal spots of bed bugs are apparent on the bed linens, mattress or walls near the bed. A peculiar coriander-like odor may be detected in some heavily-infested residences. Bed bugs may already be present in apparently “vacant” and “clean” apartments, and can wander between adjoining apartments through voids in walls and holes that hold wires and pipes. Used furniture, particularly bed frames and mattresses, are the greatest risk of harboring bed bugs and their eggs. Bed bugs are difficult if not impossible to eliminate without professional help. Contact a licensed pest control operator who is knowledgeable and experienced in managing bed bug infestations. Ask the pest control company for references, and ask a few of their customers about their experiences before you agree to any contract. Prepare for an inspection, and remember any treatment is very important. The main reason bed bug treatments fail is that customers do not follow the advice given by their pest management professional.Tom Cornwell, president of the Colorado Pest Control Association, will be speaking to representatives from hotels and motels, Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties, and public and housing personnel from 11 a.m. to noon Friday, Dec. 7, at the Glenwood Springs Community Center; and from 2-3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at 405 Castle Creek Road in Pitkin County. The event is sponsored by the Colorado Pest Control Association.

This information is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by a medical professional. Information was gathered from the Harvard School of Public Health, the Mayo Clinic Web site, and the Colorado Pest Control Association.

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