By Yvonne Salcido M.H.
I love animals just like most of you but bed bugs are not my favorite of the animal kingdom. There has been much coverage the last few months on bed bugs in the media. Several states are having significant problems having an economic impact on the citizens and local government. Yet this problem is not new. People have been sleeping with bed bugs for centuries. Hence the saying "sleep tight don't let the bed bugs bite". Shortly after World War II, the pest in America and Western countries was virtually annihilated with toxic chemicals such as DDT. They continued to flourish in less developed nations. Reported infestations in the U. S. have increased 500% since the 1990's. All 50 states have reported infestations and this is not a lower income problem, bug bugs don't know the difference between anyone's tax bracket they just need a host. Many five star hotels, theaters, and upper end retail stores have had to shut their doors to deal with extermination.
So why back? We have created an environment for them to flourish! Many people travel the globe more than any generation before us. Detection and prevention are critical you must know what to look for. You can't fight an enemy you don't even know is lurking about. Here are a few guidelines and home remedies that could help in the battle with these pesky pests.
Are they Dangerous?
- Feed on our blood
- Mental health aspect (if in your home make you crazy)
- No evidence of transmitting disease? (This is according to doctors, but they do carry 24 different pathogens. I wonder?)
- Like clutter and crevices
- Vacuum often
- Hot water to clean clothes in washer (heat and freezing kills)
- Dry clothes in the dryer (again heat kills)
- Sheets that cover mattress completely (you can get plastic covers that cover entire mattress and pillows)
- When traveling be careful where you put your suitcase, best to put in the closet
- Blood Stains on clothing or sheets (from bites, itching)
- Black spots that look almost like mold on mattress, sheets, or furniture
- Bites patterns of three (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) can be mistaken for mosquito bites
- Look like lentil or apple seeds reddish brown (very close to an jalapeno seed in size)
- Prefer humans (but will take any mammal typically mice or birds)
- They do have electronic monitoring devices and trapping devices available now.
- 5 different stages of molting (go to www.epa.gov/pesticides/bedbugs/index.html to view the different stages)
Elimination: To eliminate bed bugs you can use heat or freeze methods. You can find many companies that use these methods. To eliminate by heat they bring in huge heaters seal up the house and basically cook the inside of your home. The freeze method uses Cryonite this is liquid carbon dioxide, in minus degrees. This is food safe no chemicals!! The EPA warns against companies using pesticides that are not to be used indoors. Of course we don't ever want to use toxic chemicals. Bed bugs are attracted to the smell of carbon dioxide (that is what we breathe out, and larger amounts while sleeping). Here are some herbs that repel bed bugs: Black Walnut, Eucalyptus, Garlic, Lavender, Black Cohosh, Cayenne, Mint, Lavender, Guyabano, Thyme, Neem.
Traveling: be prepared make an herbal sachet that repels bed bugs. Take 4 leave two in your suitcase (so you don't take pests home). Then place one under your bed and one on your bed. Eat plenty of garlic while traveling it will keep you from getting food poisoning and repel other creatures you wouldn't want to bring home.
Herbal Sachet: (use cut herbs) this not only has bed bug repelling herbs, but will be pleasantly aromatic - 3 parts Black Walnut, 3 parts Thyme, 2 parts Sweet Flag, 1 part Lavender, 1 part Mint.