Bed bugs stay with you

Bed bugs spread: how to protect yourself

Experts warn of the spread of bed bugs. Tips on how to recognize them, protect yourself from them and fight them effectively.

© dpa

Bed bug alarm: The little bloodsuckers are spreading in Germany.

It is an unpleasant side effect of the globalized world and the booming tourism industry: bed bugs, which hardly played a role as pests in this country, are appearing more and more. They are usually brought in from other countries, in luggage and souvenirs, but most of all the parasites travel with them in boxes and packaging of imported goods. The infestation is also increasing again in North America, Australia, Denmark and Switzerland; in New York and Vancouver they are already considered a nuisance.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are nocturnal, flightless bloodsuckers that are attracted by body heat, carbon dioxide and body odor. The parasites preferentially attack humans. Other warm-blooded animals such as dogs or cats are only sought out in exceptional situations. The blood suction act takes between 3 and 10 minutes. Bed bugs can live between 9 and 18 months, depending on the temperature and food availability.

What do bed bugs look like?

The pear-shaped bed bug (Latin name Cimex lectularius) is 5 to 6 millimeters in size when fully grown, has a flat body and six legs. Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, younger ones are pale. Soaked in blood, bed bugs are thickened and up to 9 millimeters in size. They are red to black in color.

How do you recognize a bed bug infestation?

An unmistakable sign of bedbug infestation are their traces of excrement: Small black dots on the wallpaper and bed frame. You can also tell whether an apartment or a room is infested with bugs by its smell, because bed bugs have glands that give off penetrating and slightly sweet-smelling secretions.

What do bed bug bites look like in humans?

When stung, bed bugs secrete a substance that can cause severe allergic reactions as well as sleep disorders. Most people respond to the stings with small bloodshot pustules on their skin. There is almost always severe itching at the injection site. In particularly sensitive people, stronger allergic reactions occur, while other people show almost no reactions.

Do bed bugs, like ticks, transmit disease?

Unlike ticks, bed bugs usually do not transmit pathogens through their bite. In rare cases, Q fever can be passed on, which can cause flu-like symptoms. It has not been conclusively clarified whether bed bugs can be infected with the hepatitis B virus and become carriers of the disease. Scratching the stitches can lead to inflammation.

Where are bed bugs hiding?

Bed bugs live where a potential host is regularly, so mostly in the bedroom. They leave their hiding places to "eat" and return to their hiding place after sucking blood: especially in bed, behind pictures, protruding wallpaper edges, rubbing strips, light switches, furniture joints, cracks and crevices. As long as a potential host is around at regular intervals, bed bugs stay where they are. It spreads to other areas when there is no longer any source of food available to them.

How do bed bugs spread?

The bugs are passively transmitted, i.e. through objects such as used furniture, pictures, CD covers and luggage. You can travel unnoticed in suitcases and bags, but especially in cardboard boxes on trucks, ships, trains and airplanes.

How can you protect yourself from bed bugs?

Bed bugs cannot fly and therefore spread passively. When traveling, this means: Do not put suitcases in the immediate vicinity of the bed and check someone else's beds for bug marks such as feces, eggs or skins beforehand. The same applies to the purchase of used items such as mattresses, furniture, pictures, CDs or books.

How do you fight bed bugs?

In the event of an infestation, you need a professional pest controller who fights the parasites with insecticides. Furniture would have to be dismantled, cracks plugged with silicone and possibly the mattress replaced. Because not all bed bugs are killed in a single treatment and the eggs are also very resistant, several treatments are necessary. Caution: Bed bugs can go hungry for months, so that rooms that are uninhabited for a long time can still be infested with bed bugs.
Items with bedbugs must be removed from the apartment immediately. They should be packed in a tight plastic bag beforehand and taped shut.

Is there an alternative to insecticides?

Bed bugs cannot tolerate extremely low or very high temperatures. Therefore, smaller contaminated objects such as picture frames, books, CDs or bags can be wrapped in foil and frozen. Three days at minus 18 ° C kills bugs and eggs. Or the bugs are fought with temperatures of 50-60 ° C. In summer, therefore, you can put infested objects in a plastic bag in the sun, where the temperatures that arise will kill the insects.

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Source: kra / BerlinOnline / dpa

| Updated: Wednesday October 24, 2018 10:07 am

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