The Doctor Is In: Treating pesky bed bugs – WSAW

WAUSAU, Wis., (WSAW)-- Sleep away camp is great chance for kids to bring home memories, stories and possibly some unwanted friends.

To talk about preventing and treating pesky bed bugs was Sarah Brown, Environmental Health Specialist with Marathon County.

Adult bed bugs look similar to a tick and have flat, copper colored bodies. Young bed bugs (nymphs) are nearly colorless and very small. You can see adult bed bugs, nymphs (immature bed bugs), and eggs with the naked eye. An adult bed bug is about the size on an apple seed and a nymph is about the size of a sesame seed. Bed bugs are not associated with filth or unsanitary conditions. However, houses and rooms full of clutter offer bed bugs more hiding places.

Summer camp can be a breeding ground because bed bugs are most often found around areas where people sleep or rest. Bed bugs are most active between midnight and 3 am. They are rarely active during daylight hours, and only come out when attracted by the warmth and carbon dioxide released from a body at rest. Because of their small flat bodies, they can hide in the cracks and crevices of mattresses, bedding, furniture, and draperies, and are difficult to spot without careful inspection.

Bed bugs do not transmit disease. However, bed bug bites can cause large itchy welts on the skin. A persons reaction to insect bites is an immune response and can vary widely from person to person. The bites themselves are usually painless and rarely awaken a sleeping person. Some people will react immediately to bed bugs bites, while for others it may take a few days.

Before using pesticides or insecticides take care to read all labels before applying any pesticides. Brown says do not apply the product unless you understand all directions. Do not apply the product unless you have proper training or certification. Never apply pesticide or insecticide to a mattress or a surface that would come in direct contact with a person unless the label instructions state that the product should be used in this manner.

To stop the spread of bed bugs, Brown offers the following tips;

Wash bedding in hot water and then dry on a high heat setting on a weekly basis. Place pillows and other non-washable items in the dryer for 20 minutes on high heat. Keep bedding from touching the floor. Mattresses and box springs can be enclosed in a zippered mattress cover. Seal any tears with duct tape. Trapped bugs will eventually die. This should be left in place for a year or more as bed bugs can live for long periods without feeding. Remove clutter as it can also hide bed bugs. Scrub infested surfaces (mattress, box spring, bed frame, couch, etc.) with a stiff brush to remove eggs. Vacuum mattress, carpet, fabric drapes, and upholstered furniture often (paying special attention to cracks and crevices).Dispose of the vacuum contents carefully in a plastic bag that you can seal and remove from your home immediately. Affected item(s) may be discarded, although new ones may become infested if bed bugs are still present. When disposing of an infested item, destroy the item and mark as infested with bed bugs so it will not be acquired by someone else, infecting their residence.

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The Doctor Is In: Treating pesky bed bugs - WSAW

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