Q:

What do you do about bedbugs?

A:

Quick Answer

Though bedbugs are more of a nuisance than a health concern, most people prefer to eradicate the bugs if it becomes apparent there is an infestation. An integrated pest management approach, including cleaning and getting rid of clutter, daily vacuuming, sealing cracks and openings, and washing and drying linens, is the most effective way to deal with a bedbug infestation.

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Full Answer

While pesticides can be effective against bedbugs, they can be dangerous if not used properly. Pesticides must be registered by the Environmental Protection Agency and labeled for use on bedbugs. They must never be applied directly to the body. Pest control companies should have experience with bed bugs and use licensed exterminators.

Bedbugs feed on blood and can cause an allergic reaction that results in itching and welts. They are about 1/4 inch long, flat and reddish-brown. They prefer to come out at night, commonly hiding in beds and feeding on people as they sleep. Bedbugs are prolific breeders, laying hundreds of eggs and producing three or more generations per year. They can spread very quickly, hiding in used furniture or hitching a ride on clothing or luggage. Bites that appear overnight, blood stains and dark spots on sheets and mattresses may be signs of a bedbug infestation.

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