The population of bedbugs are doubling each year in the UK and the US. This is because a bed bug infestation is almost impossible to discern until it's too late.
The old children's bedtime warning, "Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite" seemed like a quaint warning and not on par with reality, since many people hadn't ever seen or heard of a bedbug. Times have changed. As of 2010, reports of bedbug infestations have risen 71 percent over the past two years alone, in what most pest control experts have labeled a pandemic infestation of the 1/4 inch long parasitic creatures. Epidemiologist who specialize in bedbugs state that the high number of bedbugs in recent times is due to travel.
Bedbug females are able to produce more than 400 eggs, laying them inside mattresses, sofas, cracks in molding, and in clothing. This means that a full infestation is extremely quick. Once a bedbug is visible, it means that you have hundreds more eggs waiting to hatch to take its place.
Bedbugs are a 1/4 long and resemble fleas. Usually people are not aware of their presence until they are bit and red rashes and welts appear on their skin. The bugs most resemble a flat, broadened tick. Bedbugs which have recently been feeding appear bright red in color from the pigmentation of human blood.
Signs of Infestation
Aside from marks upon the skin, bedbugs are visible by the fecal matter left behind in material, most notably in mattresses. There will be small brown stains on the mattress's surface where they have excreted.
Bedbugs will die in temperatures over 120 degrees, so wash any and all new clothing or bedding that you can. Store and box any and all items and call a professional exterminator immediately. Bedbugs are notoriously hard to get rid of due to their high number of eggs per adult and their ability to hide in almost any crevice available. The best preventative measure is to check any hotel room for infestation, keeping your suitcase in a plastic garbage bag during your stay and washing all new clothing in hot water immediately after purchase.
Once you have experienced a bedbug infestation, empty any and all vacuum cleaners you have used in the house, as bedbugs can live in a vacuum cleaner bag and be deposited elsewhere in your residence. As of 2010, congress is working on legislation to combat the bedbug pandemic and some cities (including New York) are looking to provide supplemental funds to those victims who have to fight prolonged infestations as professional treatments are expensive. Experts suggest looking for an exterminator that uses trained dogs to root out the bedbug in its hiding places.