~ February 29, 2012
In last week’s blog I talked about ladybugs and Asian Lady Beetles. Bed bugs are another insect that will become more active as temperatures rise and days lengthen.
Adult bed bugs have received a lot of attention in recent months as reports of their appearance have spiked. The adult bed bug is about ¼ of an inch long (1/2 cm) and they are flat as paper. They have oval shaped bodies with no wings. They bite. In addition to feeding on human blood they will bite mammals and birds. They attack at night and survive for up to 6 months.
No wonder no one wants them inside their home.
Bed bugs get into your home through clothing, luggage (never put travel bags on your bed) and furniture. Once they are in your house they make themselves at home in mattress seams, creases, and folds. They will hide in cracks in the head board and bed frame. In short they are quite at home wherever it is dark during the day and where they can hide. When your body is as thin as a piece of paper, you can hide most any where!
Getting rid of bed bugs is a process.
Inspect your mattress and bed frame, particularly the folds and other places that they like to hide.
Wash all linens in the hottest water possible and place them in a hot dryer for 20 minutes.
Remove all unnecessary clutter (great excuse to purge your kid’s room!)
Seal cracks and crevices between baseboards, on wood bed frames, floors and walls with caulking.
Monitor daily by setting out glue boards or a trap/monitor. Place the monitor/trap on the bed frame near the mattress. Green Earth makes one called Crawling Insect Trap and Monitor.
Spray using an environmentally responsible insect killer that contains pyrethrins. Green Earth makes one called Biomist Insect Killer that can be diluted for application and that will do the job.
Naturally, if either bed bugs or lady beetles get out of hand I would encourage you to call a local pest control company.
If you have been bitten by bed bugs see your doctor. While most bed bug bites go away by themselves some people do get allergic reactions to them. Scratching the bites can lead to trouble in the form of infection, too.
One last word on the new bug season that is ahead of us: the vast majority of bugs in your garden are beneficial. They play a vitally important role in the decomposition of raw, organic material and the general renewal of your garden each spring. For the most part, I welcome them into my garden each spring. The aforementioned bugs excepted.