Bed bugs: Unwelcome hitchhikers

Bed bugs: Unwelcome hitchhikers

(NewsUSA) - Your bed might seem like a respite after time spent away from home -- until you wake up covered in red, itchy bites. Unfortunately, this scenario is becoming more common; bed bugs are on the rise, and many travelers bring them home as unwanted souvenirs.
Bed bugs are insects that feed on human blood. Dark brown creatures the size of apple seeds, bed bugs bite sleeping humans -- they even inject anesthetics to keep people from waking. Although their bites itch and can produce allergic reactions in some people, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease.
In the 1990s, few Americans had ever seen bed bugs, but the ectoparasites have come back in a big way. In a survey of pest management professionals conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky, 95 percent of U.S. respondents said that their company encountered a bed bug infestation in the past year. Only 25 percent of them could say the same thing in 1999.
Bed bugs are accomplished hitchhikers. They travel in suitcases and furniture, or by attaching themselves to clothes. Bed bugs can be found in any place where humans gather in groups, including movie theaters, churches and libraries, as well as places that see many travelers, like hotels.
A visual inspection is the best way to detect bug bugs. Check beds and furniture when checking into hotels, and inspect your suitcase before bringing it into your house. If you suspect that you have bed bugs at home, call a professional, as bed bugs are the most difficult pest to treat.
Want to learn more about bed bugs? Visit the NPMA's Bed Bug Hub at PestWorld.org/bedbugs for fact sheets, FAQs, news and more resources.
For more information or to find a local pest professional, visit www.PestWorld.org.