Solutions to Bed BugsWe all grew up with the bedtime wish, "Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!" But just how harmful are these nighttime pests?
WHAT ARE BED BUGS?Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that are flat and oval in shape. They are a red-brown color, and they hide during the day in a variety of small, dark areas. They come out at night to find their meals, following the trail of carbon dioxide to find human blood, then leaving behind lesions that resemble mosquito bites. Bed bugs don't transfer diseases, so their itchy bites make them more of a pest than a health risk. However, if your pet is allergic to the bite, he may develop a severe reaction.
SYMPTOMSIf your pet gets bit by bed bugs, they will usually leave small, red bumps. These bumps are usually most visible on the stomach or limbs. Pets might scratch, itch, bite, or lick the irritated skin. They might also display patchy hair loss. In rare cases, the pet may suffer from an allergic reaction to the bug bites and suffer from severe swelling, vomiting or diarrhea.
Your first indication of bed bug infestation will be bites. Search the bedroom for more evidence – dark fecal spots on the sheets or insects hiding in dark crevices. The bed is the most common hiding place, but they will also invade furniture, walls, drawers and more. Though they prefer human blood to animal, your pets make good hideaways as well.
PREVENTIONUnfortunately, there's no way to prevent bed bug infestation. Your home is just as susceptible as a five-star hotel. Bed bugs are elusive, and they travel easily through clothes, secondhand furniture and more. Plastic covers can help keep them out of your mattress, but there's no piece of plastic that can cover every place they hide.
WHAT TO DOIf you find bed bugs, vacuum your rooms thoroughly, properly disposing of the bags by tying them securely in plastic bags. Eliminate clutter to give them fewer places to hide. Wash linens and clothes in hot water – bed bugs cannot survive in temperatures above 113°F. Bathe your pets with insecticidal shampoos, and thoroughly wash their cages and beds.
To treat your pet's bed bug bites, try using a gentle, topical ointment to reduce the irritation. Using Aloe Vera or baking soda might help relieve the itchiness, as well.
Using pesticides yourself should be your last option. Bed bugs may not transfer disease, but improper use of chemicals can cause serious harm. Remember, you spend 8 hours a day in your bedroom, and you'd sleep in those pesticide-treated sheets. If pesticides are necessary, call a professional to treat your house correctly.
One non-chemical option is Diatomaceous Earth. D/Earth attaches to the bed bug's waxy shell, piercing the protective coating and causing them to dehydrate and die. This means they die a physical death, not a chemical death. For effective control, you can sprinkle D/Earth wherever bed bugs may be hiding, including hard-to-reach cracks and crevices.
Though bed bugs may seem inevitable, there are ways to control and eliminate them. Knowing what to look for and keeping your house clean and organized is just the first step to getting rid of these pesky insects.
If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.
-The Revival Education Team
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.