What are the origins of bed bugs

Successfully fighting and preventing bed bugs

Status: 08/25/2020 10:05 a.m.
Bed bugs are very small and can hardly be seen with the naked eye.

With the end of the holiday season, bed bug infestations are increasing in German households. The tiny animals hide in suitcases and clothing as unwanted souvenirs from the trip - and then nestle in our bedrooms. Bus or airplane seats as well as second-hand clothing can also be hiding spots in which bed bugs lurk for a new host.

It is sufficient for a female animal to enter the apartment, because a single female can carry eggs for up to 300 offspring. Often the blood-sucking parasites are only noticed when they have already multiplied and the many animals then sting every night. The good news: bed bugs are not harmful to your health. These tips can help prevent or end domestic invasion.

VIDEO: What helps against bed bugs? (8 min)

Bed bug bites: cortisone for swelling and itching

During the day, bed bugs can hardly be seen with the naked eye; they hide, for example, behind wallpaper and heating pipes, in the edges of mattresses or behind light switches. The nocturnal bed bugs only come out of their hiding places in the dark. In contrast to a mosquito bite, people do not feel a bed bug bite at first, reddening and itching only appear days later. Some people hardly react, others get strong allergic reactions up to blistering.

Several stitches next to each other are typical because an animal stabs several times. Bed bugs crawl under clothing when they suckle blood. The stings can be excruciatingly itchy. Most of the time they go away on their own. If there is a severe allergic reaction, cortisone ointment helps. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases themselves, but it is not uncommon for those affected to scratch the itchy puncture sites and risk an infection.

Pest controllers look for traces of droppings

In the event of an infestation with bed bugs, the exterminator must use insecticides.

If an apartment is infested with bed bugs, pest control professionals have to deal with it. You can recognize bed bug infestation by traces of excrement, the sweet smell and animals that are caught in attractant traps. For further successful measures, the first important thing is the reliable diagnosis. Catching the bugs on your own with double-sided adhesive tape or combating them with insecticides from the hardware store is useless. The sooner the animals are fought professionally, the better. Because if the infestation becomes too strong, sofas or beds may even have to be disposed of. Special chemicals help against bed bugs. All nests must be sprayed and the poison must act for several hours. Usually between two and four applications are necessary. Even heat above 55 degrees and cold below minus 18 degrees can kill the animals.

Bed bugs are more resistant to insecticides

The Federal Environment Agency is watching the dramatic spread of bed bugs across Europe with concern. Scientists have found that more and more bed bugs have developed resistance to common insecticides. This means that they can survive the exterminator's visit - poison has to be used more often or a combination of active substances has to be used. The researchers are working on a rapid test so that exterminators can immediately determine on site which insecticides they can use to specifically destroy the animals.

Control with insecticides, heat or cold

Until the test is available, a combination treatment must help against the pests: Insecticides plus heat or cold:

  • Warmth at around 60 degrees: Everything that can be put in the washing machine should be washed at 60 degrees. Heat treatment is also possible for about an hour in the oven or tumble dryer. Pack laundry and items in bags for heat treatment outside the washing machine. When using plastic bags, pay attention to the melting point.
  • Heat tent: Large, bulky objects - such as suitcases, sofa cushions or duvets - can also be treated with heat for a few hours in a heated tent.
  • Cold at minus 18 degrees: As an alternative to heat treatment, store infected objects in the freezer or freezer for three days. If a vacuum cleaner is used to clean infected areas, then also freeze the filter bag wrapped in plastic and then dispose of it.

But no matter what combination of measures are taken, all bedbugs must be destroyed. If even a single female survives, everything starts all over again.

This is how a bed bug infestation can be prevented

It is of course best that the bed bugs do not even get into your own apartment. These tips can protect vacationers from an infestation:

  • Check clothing: Check used clothing (including second-hand purchases) for infestation; excrement residues and a sweet smell can also be an important indicator. A magnifying glass can be of great service here.
  • Look at the hotel room before moving in: During the routine check, also look under the sheets and mattresses, request another room if necessary.
  • Do not leave laundry lying open: Fresh or worn laundry is best kept in a locked bag or suitcase. If a closet is used, check carefully whether bed bugs can be found before sorting. Do not leave suitcases and bags open.
  • Use the bathtub to unpack: If you suspect that bed bugs have lodged in your luggage, unpack the laundry in the bathtub and knock it out. The animals can be easily recognized on the white surface. To be on the safe side, wash unworn laundry at 60 degrees. When you arrive in a hotel room, first put your luggage safely in the bathtub until the inspection of the hotel room has been completed.

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My afternoon | 06/24/2019 | 4:20 pm