Nasty little critters

I have had a particularly nasty problem recently – bed bugs. I was left with a rash and spots all over my leg before I discovered what was causing it.

So I thought I might share a few nasty things and heopfull helpful thinsg I have discovered the ‘hard way’ about bed bugs.

Bed bugs are small and flat parasitic insects that exclusively feed on the hosts’ blood (animals or people) while they’re asleep. They’re reddish-brown, between 1mm-7mm in size, have no wings and can survive for several months without feeding. To find out more about these nasty insects visit

Where are they found?

The insects are found all over the world; from South America to North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Although infestation of bed bugs has traditionally been a problem in third world countries, it has been rapidly spreading to United States, Europe, Canada and the UK.

There have been reports of bed bugs found in exclusive resorts as well as five star hotels, since their presence is not necessarily determined by cleanliness (or lack thereof) of living conditions where they’re found.

Infestations generally occur near or around places where people sleep, such as; apartments, dorm rooms, shelters, trains, rooming houses, buses, hotels and cruise ships, among others.

During the day, they hide in places like; seams of mattresses, behind wallpapers, box springs, inside crevices/ cracks, bed frames, dresser tables and headboards.

According to scientists, the insects have capacity to travel more than 100 feet at night, but they generally live within a radius of eight feet (of where their hosts sleep). See natural ways to get rid of vermin

Do bed bugs spread any diseases?

According to scientists, the insects do not spread any diseases. However, they cause great discomfort since their bites cause loss of sleep and severe itching. The itching often causes excessive scratching which significantly increase chances of secondary skin infection.

Bed bug bites affect people in different ways. Some people exhibit no physical signs, while others exhibit small bite marks. Others suffer from serious allergic reactions such as enlarged bite marks, anaphylaxis or painful swellings that may require medical attention.

bed bugs
bed bug bites

How to identify infestation

Infestation of the insects can be identified by bite marks on faces, hands, necks, arms and other parts of the body. However, development of the bite marks may occur after a long period (up to 2 weeks).

Therefore, it’s advisable to look for other tell-tale signs when there’s need to establish whether or not bed bugs have infested a particular area. Some of the signs are;

  1. Presence of exoskeletons (after molting process).
  2. Sweet musty odor.
  3. Presence in sheets and mattresses.
  4. Rusty blood spots (because of excretion of blood filled fecal matter).

According to scientists, the insects are extremely good in hiding. They have slim bodies which enable them to fit into very small places where they can effectively conceal themselves.

They are transported from one place to another by people who are travelling. They also travel in folds and seams of luggage, furniture, overnight bags, bedding, folded clothes and many other places. See link to find out How big are bed bugs? – see pictures to compare their size

Prevention and treatment

The most effective way of treating bites is by application of antiseptic lotions or creams. Antihistamine drugs are administered to people who suffer from serious allergic reactions as a result of being bitten by the insects.

Infestation can be prevented by regular inspection in places they love hiding. If infestation has already occurred, then they can be eliminated by spraying insecticides in affected areas.