Bed bugs infestations have been reported in hotels, apartment buildings and even in movie theater seats. As their name implies, bed bugs are small insects that are most often found living in beds including the box springs, mattress and bed frame.
But they can take up residence anywhere, inside the cracks in furniture, under peeling edges of wallpaper and in most textiles, including bedding and upholstery fabric.
Bed bugs are small, oval and brown in color. Adult bed bugs resemble an apple seed. After feeding, their bodies appear more red and swollen.
An adult female can lay hundreds of eggs which are the size of a speck of dust. Immature bed bugs, known as nymphs, are smaller and may appear clear or pale yellow.
Bed bugs feed on human blood. They are most active at night, so many people with bed bugs wake with bites that that look like small bumps on the skin that may be mistaken for a rash.
Bed bug bites may turn red, swell and itch. Typically no treatment is needed for bed bug bits. Steroid cream or oral antihistamines can help reduce itching.
Although they are not known to carry any diseases, no one wants to share their bed with bed bugs. But getting rid of bed bugs can be a challenge, especially if you want to avoid using chemical bug killers in your home.
Researchers from Rutgers University tested 11 products marketed as alternatives to synthetic chemical bed bug controllers to find out if they really work. The results of their study were published in the Journal of Economic Entomology.
Two of the products were detergents. Nine products were based on essential oils including geraniol, rosemary, mint, cinnamon, peppermint, clove, lemongrass and eugenol.
Other ingredients included sodium lauryl sulfate, 2-Phenethyl propionate, potassium sorbate and sodium chloride.
The products were sold under these brand names:
• Bed Bug 911
• Bed Bug Bully
• Bed Bug Fix
• Bed Bug Patrol
• Ecoexempt IC2
• Green Rest Easy
• Rest Assured
• Stop Bugging Me
Researchers sprayed the 11 products directly onto bed bug nymphs.