A number of U.S. cities have reported a rise in bed bug numbers over the past few years and yet the general public still remain largely unaware of the problem.
It might sound like something out of a horror novel, but bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on human blood during the night, while their hosts are sleeping. The bugs can feed from a duration of three minutes up to a whopping 10 minutes. Only when they are full will they crawl on their way. When you wake up in the morning and discover small red welts on your skin, you will know you had a visitor in the night.
Because bed bugs are small, flat and very adept at hiding, it can be easy to overlook them at first. Bed bugs can survive for a long time without feeding too, so they can disappear just as quickly as they arrived. This means it can be difficult to get rid of them. However, the more bed bug infestations are reported, the more the problem can be solved. That is where bed bug registries come in. They can help you to live a bed bug free life.
What is The Bed Bug Registry?
Because bed bugs are hard to spot, people can end up renting or buying homes or apartments with an existing infestation. They can exist in any type of property. An infestation of bed bugs is not necessarily a sign of an unclean home. They can be found in luxurious five-star hotels just as much as they can be found in cheap rentals. By gaining more knowledge about bed bugs and using The Bed Bug Registry, you can learn how to avoid sharing your home with these unwanted guests.
The Bed Bug Registry is an online public database that is free to use. Anyone can submit a bed bug report from across the United States and Canada. The site currently has approximately 20,000 reports that cover about 12,000 locations. Not only can you report bed bugs with the registry, you can also search the database to locate infestations in properties and hotels. If you are looking to rent an apartment, you can therefore use The Bed Bug Registry to see if there are any reported infestations in the neighborhoods you are considering. In addition, you can run a check for a specific building by entering its address into the registry’s database. Simply type in an address, or a more general location such as a city or state, to find reports associated with your chosen location. You can then click on the reports that come up to find further details. A helpful map also appears next to the reports.
If you want to report an infestation, begin by searching the registry’s reports for the address in question. Then view the existing reports and click “Report Bed Bugs At This Location.” Next, all you have to do is complete a form to add your own report. You can post your report anonymously if you wish to.
You can use The Bed Bug Registry to create alerts as well. By entering your street address and email address, the registry will notify you weekly if any new reports regarding your approximate location have been entered into the database. You can unsubscribe from the alert system at any time.
Other Bed Bug Registries
There are other bed bug registry platforms online too, which tend to offer the same tools as The Bed Bug Registry. They may contain less reports though. The Bed Bug World Registry is a helpful site because it allows users to report bed bug infestations from all over the world.
It is a free online service, so if you are moving outside of the United States or Canada, you can easily use it to help you find bed bug infestation-free accommodation. Simply enter an address into The Bed Bug World Registry’s site to find reports of infestations in your selected area.
Signs of Infestation
If you wake up with new itchy bites on your skin, it is a sign you may have bed bugs. It is even more likely to be a bed bug infestation if you recently got a used bed or secondhand furniture around the same time the bites began to occur. Other signs that show you may have a bed bug infestation include:
- Bed bug excrement on sheets, bed clothes, mattresses and walls. These look like tiny dark or rust-colored spots.
- Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases.
- A musty odor, which comes from the bed bugs’ scent glands.
- Bed bug egg shells in areas around your bed.
Bed Bug Treatments
Bed bug registries may be very helpful in identifying the locations of the parasitic bloodsuckers, but what do you do when you find you have an infestation? First, you could clean up the areas where the bed bugs live. Despite their name, bed bugs are not only found in beds. Follow these steps to clean up your infestation problem:
- Clean all bedding, curtains, linen and clothing in your washing machine on a hot setting. Then use the highest drying setting.
- Scrub your mattress with a stiff brush and then vacuum the mattress. Vacuum all other infestation areas too. As soon as you have finished vacuuming, place the bag in a plastic bag and put it in the outdoors garbage can.
- Encase your mattress and box springs with a tight, zippered cover, to stop the bugs entering or escaping.
- Repair cracks in plaster and re-glue peeling wallpaper, where bed bugs tend to hide.
- Get rid of clutter.
The second option is to hire a professional. By using an exterminator, you can be sure the bed bugs will not return. You could use chemical treatments like insecticides yourself but they can be harmful and not all products can be safely used in bedrooms. It is therefore best to get an experienced pest controller to do the dirty work for you. The best bet is to avoid them all together by being aware of outbreaks in your area, or the prevalence of them in the area, apartment complex or neighborhood in which you are planning to live.
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By Melanie Henson –