Skin, Hair & Nails

Get Email Updates

Skin, Hair & Nails Guide

Rosa Cabrera RN

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Critter Crisis. The Bed Bug Epidemic.

By MC Kelby HERWriter

News reports across the country are reporting that bed bugs are being found everywhere from our homes to fancy hotels and it has nothing to do with cleanliness. In New York City, three major retailers temporarily shut their doors after a recent outbreak of the tiny blood-suckers. In Seattle, exterminators are reporting a 70 percent increase in bed bug-related calls in the last two years. In Fort Worth, Texas, bed bugs caused 200 people to move out of their apartment complex.

Bed bugs, no larger than an appleseed, live on blood and blood alone. They're super-resilient and can live just about anywhere. Bed bugs like to hide in crevices and cracks where people sleep or sit still for a long time (as it makes for easy feeding). Bed bugs can go without feeding for 80 to 140 days. Adults can survive without food for as long as 550 days. Bed bugs grow fastest and lay most eggs at about 80 degrees F.

The first sign of bed bugs are small red and brown spots on your sheets. Unfortunately, the next sign may be bed bug bites which occur on exposed areas of the skin. The bite itself is painless and is not noticed. Small, flat or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign; redness, swelling, and itching commonly occur. If scratched, the bite areas can become infected. The bites tend to be lined up in a row. Bed bug bites may go unnoticed or be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other types of rash.

Bed bugs can live anywhere in your home but most prefer to hang out in the bedroom. If you think you may have a problem, check your mattress. They can hide in mattress seams and behind your headboard.

Here are some tips to rid your home of these critters:
Arm yourself with gloves, a flashlight, magnifying glass, index card (for swiping bed bugs out of cracks), tweezers (to help grab the bug) and a ziplock bag. Place a few in the bag to send in for testing and vacuum the rest, disposing of the bag outside immediately.

Using the flashlight, work the mattress, inspecting the piping, sides and underside. Do the same with the box spring. If you can take it apart, do so, as bed bugs could be hiding in the joints.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

By the early 1950’s bed bugs were nearly eliminated from the North American continent as a result of the widespread use of DDT. Their numbers were so decimated that generations raised after that time thought they were a myth, perpetuated in a nursery rhyme. Unfortunately, bed bugs are very real. The banning of DDT and the marked increase in international travel, have rapidly given us a resurgence of these nasty pests. Their increase started slowly at first, sort of like the front side of a bell curve, but then accelerated and intensified. We now appear to be on the steep and rapidly rising back side of the curve, with no idea of when the population will peak or when the curve will flatten out.
Read the entire post at:

July 22, 2010 - 8:39pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy


1549 Health


573 Lives


430 Lives
0 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

When going out in the sun, what SPF do you put on?:
View Results