August 23rd, 2010 Categories: Real Estate News
I’m sure many of us think of bed bugs as something from the past (like good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite) or something that only happened in “those” kind of places or to other people.
Unfortunately none of that is true and bed bugs are no laughing matter.
In fact, the United States is experiencing an unheralded infestation of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) with reporting up 5000% in the past year. Shortly after WWII, bed bugs were almost universally eradicated with DDT. But now that DDT has fallen out of use as a toxic agent, bed bugs are back with a vengeance.
Entire office buildings (the Time Warner Center), residential buildings, retail stores (Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret), movie theaters (AMC’s Empire 25), in New York City have been invaded and reports are coming in from all around the country.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed solely upon the blood of warm-blooded animals.”
- Bed bugs are not socio-economically oriented
- Bed bugs are not hygiene related
- Bed bugs like to hide in the dark – particularly under furniture, in your mattress, and in any cracks or crevice
- Bed bugs are “hitchhikers” – they like to travel with you.
Kinda of scary isn’t it?
How can you tell if you have bed bugs?
- Because bed bugs are small (like an apple seed) and are active only at night, the first indication may be bites that occur while sleeping. The bites are usually in a pattern of three and leave big, bumpy welts.
- Look for dark brown/reddish fecal spots on mattresses, mattress covers, other bed linens on walls near the bed.
- In some heavily infested areas a coriander like odor may be present.
What do you do if you have bed bugs?
First, don’t panic. Second, try and find a specimen (crack and crevices are your best bet) and have it tested. Third, read everything you can and develop a plan from there. Both the Harvard School of Public Health and Medicine.Net are excellent resources.
As a real estate agent I would tell you that bed bugs are no laughing matter. Just because a property looks clean doesn’t mean that it is free of infestation.
Bed bugs can survive for months without ‘feeding’, just waiting for someone new to take up residence.
Whether you are a renter, a buyer, a seller or a landlord, consider the steps you need to take to insure that your property is properly maintained and bed bug free.
Bed bugs really are no laughing matter.