Over the past few years, there has been a 700 percent increase in bed bug infestations across the country. Indiana is starting to see more and more cases, while other cities have seen large outbreaks.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued guidelines on bed bug control and prevention in HUD insured and assisted multifamily housing. The notice provides guidance on the rights and responsibilities of HUD, owners/property managers and tenants concerning bed bug infestations. It also provides information and best practices concerning preventing and controlling bed bug infestations. The National Apartment Association/National Multi Housing Council are reviewing these new guidelines.
Click here for a copy of the HUD Guidelines>>
There are a myriad of resources on bed bugs, but here are some frequently asked questions:
Q. What are signs of infestation by bed bugs?
A. Look for a raised, red, welt-like bite that itches. The welts generally appear in a line or in clusters. They usually appear from one to 24 hours after a bite. Other bugs can cause similar conditions, so it it is imperative that you look for the bugs once you have a reported bite. When searching for bugs, look for eggs, molted skins, dark brown rusty spots (feces) on the bedding, mattress, and box springs. Begin looking at the head of the bed and work your way outward in the room. Look at all furniture, sofas, carpeting, drapery, picture frames, baseboards, electrical outlets, and electronic equipment. Also, look for blood smears on the walls from squished bugs.
Q. What do bed bugs look like?
A. Adults bed bugs are reddish-brown in color with oval shaped, flattened bodies. After feeding, the body becomes swollen. They hatch about the size of a pinhead and look like walking poppy seeds. They grow to about a quarter of an inch in length. You may first notice them when they are the size of an apple seed and may be mistaken for a cockroach or a tick.
Q. Where are bed bugs found?
A. Bed bugs are found anywhere people are. They are more likely found in locations with a high rate of occupant turnover, such as hotels, cruise ships, dormitories, multifamily housing, nursing homes, or movie theaters.
Q. Where do bed bugs hide?
A. They hide in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, night stands, dressers, upholstered furniture, cracks, crevices, behind switch plates, electricial outlets, behind baseboards, window and door casings, under carpet, seams in wallpaper, behind pictures, and in draperies and blinds. They prefer a semi-dark environment and rougher surfaces such as wood, paper, or fabric.
Q. How do they spread?
A. The bed bug (Cimex Lectularius) climbs easily up any fabric, wood, or paper surfaces. The spread by attaching themselves to household items, such as bedding, furniture, luggage, clothing, backpacks, purses, briefcases, animal cages, picture frames and electronic devices. They hide in crevices as thin as a credit card.
Q. When do they feed?
A. Mainly between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.. They have been known to feed in the daytime, however.
Q. How do I treat bed bug bites?
A. Always seek medical attention. There are ant-itching medications, as well as antibiotic salves, which have been helpful if applied to the bites.
Q. What should I do in response to finding bed bugs?
A. Getting rid of bed bugs often requires an approach involving professional exterminators, as well as cleaning an apartment.
Q. What types of treatment options are available?
A. Insecticide applications are most common. These may include vacuuming, steaming, and freezing. This treatment takes multiple treatments over a period of weeks. Dry heat is pesticide-free, and requires much less preparation.