Bed bugs (not bedbugs) were largely eradicated in the United States during the middle third of the twentieth century buy using DDT and other organophosphates and organocholrines. These products are currently largely banned for use within the United States. The resurgence of bed bugs in the United States is currently attributed largely to the increase of foreign travel.
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularis) are easily transported from place to place by people, pets, clothing, luggage, laundry, etc. The basically look like a miniature cock roach without wings. They are about the size of an apple seed. The feed strictly on blood (pets, humans, bats, birds) and do not carry any known diseases. Humans and pets have varying degrees of discomfort (itch) from the bed bug bite just as humans and pets have varying degrees of allergic reactions to bee stings and flea bites.
Your pets can be bitten by bed bugs and have a moderate to severe local allergic reaction to the bite but the bed bugs do not live on your pet as fleas and ticks do. Bed bugs bite, feed on the blood, and then retreat to their hiding places – usually within a five foot radius of your bed or your pet’s bed. It is unlikely that you would ever see bed bugs on your pet even if they infested your home.
Bed bugs in a home does not identify nor suggest unsanitary conditions within the home. Bed bugs are not a “social disease”. Bed bug infestations have temporarily shut down some of the nicest and most expensive hotels within the United States.
Routine flea and tick treatments are not normally effective against bed bugs and commercially purchased aerosol pesticides do not kill bed bugs. A bed bug infestation requires professional pest control assistance.
Bed bugs are very adept at hiding during the day. They can hide in almost crack or crevice or fold of seam of material. The first signs of bed bugs in your home may be the allergic bite wounds on your body or the finding of tiny red blood spots on your bedding or tiny black spots (bed bug feces) on your sheets. Bed bugs do not jump or fly but are capable of moving (running) very quickly. A bed bug can live up to 300 days or so and the females can easily lay up to 500 eggs during her life time.
Your pet’s only response to bed bugs will the itch associated with a bed bug bite. If you examine your pet and see the small, red bite wound and you are pretty confident of your flea control, it is possible that you may be dealing with bed bugs. If you suspect such, do not waste time with “do-it-yourself” control – contact professional exterminators.