Editor's note: It's Bug Bed Awareness Week.
Bed bugs were rare in the United States from 1930 to about 1980. Since 1980, most U.S. cities and even many small towns have become infested with bed bugs with the rate of bedbugs doubling every five years or so.
There are many theories about why bed bugs were absent and why they have come back, but there is no actual facts other than that this phenomena is going on all over Europe, U.S., Canada, and Australia. One interesting theory is that the war against cockroaches is responsible for the increase in bed bugs since cockroaches naturally eat bed bugs and prevent them from infesting the home.
Bed bug eradication has become a big business. Large hotel chains regularly employ bedbug sniffing dogs that are brought into each room in the building to alert management as to which rooms need bedbug eradication. Both traditional pest management companies and many newcomers have sprung up all over the U.S. to rid your premises of this dreaded creature.
Other than being disgusting, why do we care about bed bugs? Because bed bugs bite human beings to live. They take tiny amounts of human blood and leave painful, very itchy bites mostly in straight lines on shoulders, backs and arms. They do not directly cause disease, but when their victims scratch the wounds—it can result in serious infections and scarring of skin.
So what can you do if you find bed bugs in your home? The treatment can be complex and sometimes quite expensive because bed bugs are very small (the largest adult is about 1/5 of an inch) and can hide in almost any kind of crevice. Remember that essential plant oil insecticides work as well as commercial grade products and are a lot safer for your family.
About 70 percent of bed bugs hide in your bed and 30 percent in crevices in the walls, floors and any clutter you have around your bed. Here's how you can handle it on your own: