Bed Bugs in Your Child’s Mattress, Part 1
I remember my dad tickling me as he said, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” But, really, no one thinks it’s funny to have bed bugs, lice, or other creepy crawly things in their beds! While bed bugs aren’t the only critters that could be lurking in your child’s bedding, they are definitely real and can be difficult to eradicate once they make themselves at home.
While there are many myths surrounding bed bugs, it’s important to know exactly what bed bugs are and how they can affect you and your children. Contrary to conventional wisdom, you can see bed bugs with the naked eye, and they aren’t necessarily a sign of filth: “Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth, blood and carbon dioxide. However, clutter offers more hiding spots.” While they don’t transmit diseases between or among humans, they are considered a public health pest, causing skin irritation and bothersome bites.
Bed bugs have distinctive characteristics, depending on where they are in their life cycle: eggs, young, or adults. Adult bed bugs typically grow to be about ¼ inch long, or about the size of an apple seed. They’re long and brown, with oval-shaped bodies. If they’ve recently fed, their bodies transform into a balloon-like, elongated shape and take on a reddish color. They do have wings but don’t fly, and they have short, golden-colored hairs lining their bodies. They produce an odor that can be described as musty but sweet.
Their younger counterparts, also called nymphs, are smaller and whitish-yellow in color. Their semi-translucent appearance can make them nearly invisible to the naked eye, providing some truth to the commonly held myth. Bed bug eggs are pearl-white in color and similar in size to the head of pin.
A major source of bed bugs is secondhand furniture. Before you consider that garage sale sofa a “great find,” you might want to think twice. Upcycling is a great way to save money and to be kind to the environment, but it’s best to reserve your DIY skills for non-upholstered pieces. Even new mattresses or cushions can become havens for bed bugs, though. Because of their small size, bed bugs can easily hide around the bed, and they particularly favor piping, seams, and tags of the mattress or box spring or cracks on the bed frame or headboard. Periodically checking these areas can be key to preventing a major infestation.
How do you know if you have bed bugs in your beds? You might think that you or your kids would show signs of being bit. However, because bed bug bites look a lot like other insect bites or rashes, you can’t depend on seeing bites. Instead, check for rust-colored stains on bed sheets or mattresses (these are caused by crushed bed bugs). Dark spots slightly larger than a pen would make could be bed bug excrement. You may also find tiny eggs and eggshells or pale yellow skins shed by nymphs as they grow. Of course, you may also find live bed bugs, as described above.
From The Bedroom Source Blog
- Finding a Safe Mattress that Delivers for Your Long Island Kids
- Maxtrix Children’s Furniture System & the Must-Have Ingredients in a Happy Childhood
- Smartstuff Furniture: Intelligent Solutions for Today’s Kids
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