Of course I’ve heard that catch phrase before, but I thought it was just something you said to young children before they went to bed. I had never stopped for a minute to think the awful truth hidden behind that line! In fact, I had never heard of bed bugs until I came to live in London. Even when I came to live here the first time -over 20 years ago- I have never encountered that issue, or maybe it was because I was too young and too careless? But then again, I’ve always had a sensitive skin.
Some basic information on bed bugs
The first time I got bitten was when I stayed in a hostel when I first arrived. I got up one morning and I had this rash on my legs. That was then that my roommate told me about bed bugs. They are parasite insects that feast on human blood (such as many others, like mosquitoes). The common bedbug, Cimex lectularius, is the most famous species of the family, which includes a number of different insects with lots in common. Their name comes from the fact that they are usually nocturnal creatures, and they tend to live in beds, or other places where people sleep in. This way, those little bastards can attack us at our most weak!
Bed bugs symptoms
How can you tell if you have been attacked by bed bugs? First, let me show you some pictures of what happened to me.
Those red marks on my arm are nothing more than bed bugs bites, and they are itchy and quite painful! Usually these marks appear on exposed skin areas, such as the arms and legs, the neck, or the hands. You won’t feel the bite, but your skin will look red, and swollen. You shouldn’t scratch the bites because you could cause yourself an infection! Bed bugs treatment includes steroid creams or oral antihistamines for the itching, but if the bites get infected you may need an antibiotic.
The awful truth: bed bugs in hotels
Since I have stayed in a few hotels in London, I know a lot now about those little insects that cause so much trouble. But lately, things got even worse: while working as a receptionist in a hotel, I have been put in a position where I had to explain to angry guests why there were bed bugs in a room. Once, I had a guest who came up to me asking me if there were mosquitoes in the hotel, showing me the rash on her arm. So I am not the only one that did not know about bed bugs!
The worst part was when my manager told me that bed bugs are mostly brought by Australians, because I just had to laugh. I lived in Australia for over 20 years and I have moved to several houses which have to be sprayed every 3-6 months because of insects such as spiders, ants, and cockroaches. Not once was I told about bed bugs extermination!
How to check for bed bugs
So, how to tell the enemy? If you arrive at your hotel room, would you be able to recognize a potential bed bug infestation before getting that awful bed bug rash? Start by checking the bed, running your fingers across the seams of the sheet and mattress. Bed bugs can’t jump or fly, so if there are adults you might as well catch them as a living proof! They are brownish or reddish, and the size of an apple seed: 4 to 5 mm. If you find some little black spots on the sheet, these are possibly bed bug feces, so there you have another proof of your room being infested.
If you find bed bugs in a hotel room, you have to tell the manager and demand a new room –of course you should double check such new room! Changing the hotel and asking for a refund is probably the best solution. Remember to wash all your clothes, otherwise you risk carrying bed bugs with you.
This means war! Getting rid of bed bugs
There are many different products for killing bed bugs. You need to find a method which can guarantee total extermination of the plague but, at the same time, safety to humans, especially considering it is something you’ll place on a bed which you’ll later sleep in.
If you are going for something natural, here is this Organic Bedbug Killer Diatomaceous Earth DE h. This is a dust which you can apply on your bed and other places, safe for children and pets. The powder remains effective until it is vacuumed or washed away. However, according to the reviews on Amazon, while some people found it amazing and very effective, others complain saying that it is messy and that it didn’t work.
There are all kinds of bed bugs spray, for instance, the Bed Bug 911 All Natural Bed Bug Spray, which I like not only based on the great reviews, but also because its convenient travel size makes it ideal for avoiding situations such as the mentioned hotel. It is unscented & stain free.
Of course, if you have a problem with bed bugs at home, you may need larger amounts of product for proper bed bug extermination. Most bed bugs sprays are sold in gallons at convenient prices, for example: Harrys Bed Bug Killer.
If you buy a gallon of a bed bug spray, you may find this Pest Pistol Mini Duster convenient as well.
If you are uncomfortable spraying your bed with any kind of product, you may consider catching the bed bugs before they nest and reproduce. In order to prevent bed bugs, here are some Bed Bug ClimbUp® Interceptors (pack of 12) passive traps for bed legs that trap bed bugs from crawling up beds and furniture legs. Personally, I don’t think they alone would solve a bed bug infestation, but they are good for preventing a new one after you have managed to remove those awful insects.
To sum up, bed bugs can turn your holiday night in a hotel into a potential nightmare! Now that you know about them, make sure you check for bed bugs next time you check into a room –no matter how clean or fancy the hotel actually looks (believe me). So for now it’s good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!