I just returned from a conference where one presenter talked about the Bed Bug Epidemic. The epidemic seems to have started on the east coast and spread to the west coast. Major cities are the hottest spots. Major hotel chains are affected, although many will deny it. Expensive hotels are not immune. Bed bugs must eat a human blood meal each time they molt to the next nymph stage. They start as a translucent 1mm long egg, then molt through 5 stages, each looking like a bigger version of a bed bug until the adult stage which is 5mm long. They are flat like an apple seed and can go through small crevices between walls from one room to the next, thus an infestation in one hotel room, dorm, apartment, can “go next door”. They are becoming a problem in library books because people often take books to bed with them. They are infesting movie houses. They travel around on used furniture, not just mattresses. Mattress stores usually take your old mattress and put it in the same delivery truck with the new mattresses, thus spreading bed bugs. A big problem area is halfway and homeless areas. Although the CDC claims that they do not spread diseases, and the CDC also claims that Morgellons is delusional. It is known that bed bugs carry 20 some human diseases and MRSA (methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus) has been associated with spread via bed bug. Bed bugs become most active between 1 AM and 5 AM, they detect carbon dioxide (your breath) and heat, moving toward their next blood meal. First they inject you with an anticoagulant, then an numbing agent so you won’t feel it when they bite to suck blood. Since they are injecting fluids it seems possible they could transmit disease. Often the bites will not be noticed for a day or so, so you may not connect where you got them. Some people will have all their old (healed) bites become re-inflamed when they get a new bite. Children from infested homes may spread them to new homes via “sleepovers” or school backpacks. Airline travelers can have their luggage infested via carry on or checked baggage. Dorm rooms because of the high turnover of used furniture are now a hot spot. Bed bugs have become resistant to the Pyrethroid insecticides that used to control them.
If traveling and staying at motels it pays to inspect behind the beds headboard where bed bugs congregate, there you may see the blood feces (black spots) where they poop after eating. Also they like to get between the mattress and spring set. In order not to infest your clothing it is advisable to place your luggage on the ironing board or other surface above the floor or bed and never put your shoes on the floor, instead also put the high up like on the table. Wearing long sleeved pajamas will help keep them off your arms. The bathroom is a fairly safe area, they do not like water or smooth surfaces. Seventy percent of bed bugs stay around the bed while another 23% are within five feet of the bed, but they can move 100 feet easily. Typically they can migrate under walls and get behind wall outlets. A more cluttered environment can make the problem worse.
Bed bugs can survive up to a year without feeding if it is cold (like a summer cabin in the winter), or 70 days at 70 degrees. Bed bug problems can be found at all levels of society. They are very hard to detect and eliminate.
I found the bed bug bite photos to be reminiscent of Morgellons lesions.
Some photos of bed bug bites:
Kathryn adds these links