What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bed Bugs

No we do not have bed bugs!  I thought this would be an interesting posts because across Canada there have been more reports of bed bugs with Simon Fraser University dormitories being recent in the news. Bed bugs have been growing in frequency in the developed world since 1995.   In fact one report I read said bed bug incidence had increased by 5,000 per cent world wide.  So what are bed bugs, how do you get them, implications and how do you get rid of them?

  • what are bed bugs -  Bed bugs are small mainly nocturnal, parasitic insects of the family Cimicidae that feed off of warm blooded animals.  Their preferred habitat is indoors mainly in beds hence their name or other places that people sleep (eg. couches).
  • how do you get beg bugs - We live in a very mobil society that unfortunately helps some bugs and other critters get from point A to point B by hitching a ride in suit cases, travel bags, fruit and vegetable containers, in camping equipment, wheel wells, car trunks and so much more.   That means if you stay at a motel that is infested with bed bugs while traveling you could accidently bring them home with you in your luggage.  Bed bugs can enter your house via use furniture that came from an infested dwelling.  Pets can also be host to bed bugs that hitch a ride into your home.  In general multi-unit dwellings like motels, apartment buildings, condos and dormitories are more prone to any insect infestations simply because once introduced to one unit the insects can easily move and become established in other units. 
  • prevention of bed bugs - If you have been traveling shake out all the clothes in your suitcase outdoors and set the suitcase out in the sun to air dry.   If you buy used upholstered furniture leave it outdoors, clean and vacuum well before bringing indoors.  Both are good practices to prevent other insect hitch hikers from entering your home in addition to bed bugs. 
  • implications of bed bugs - Bed bugs feed off of human blood so that means bites that can be itchy, swollen and become infected especially in children.   
  • how do you get rid of bed bugs - Some bed bugs can be eliminated by dropping the indoor temperature below freezing but in general this is not an effective solution.  Bed bugs can survive about a year without feeding as well.  So that eliminates one of the main ways of controlling indoor insects.  Mattresses should be covered with a zippered plastic or hypoallergenic mattress cover that does not allow bed bugs in the mattress to get out so they will eventually die off.  Wash linens in hot water and dry on hot setting to kill any bed bug nymphs or eggs.  Vacuum, vacuum and vacuum on the bed, in, under and around the bed including the frame and anywhere else bed bugs can hide.  Each time you vacuum you will get bed bug eggs as well as bed bugs at various stages of life lowering their population simply by vacuuming.  The more you vacuum the less bed bugs.  There are specialized pesticides for bed bugs but bed bugs are developing resistance to pesticides compounding the problem.  There are natural predators like centipedes but they are not an effective solution for bed bug infestations. 

Garden Gnome