Talk about nightmares - Bed bugs, a bug that feeds on the blood of people, have been found throughout Pueblo.
Now the health department wants individuals to know how to identify bed bugs, prevent encounters with them and remove the bug.
The following is the advisory sent out by the Pueblo-City County Health Department:
"Feeding from the blood of mammals during the night, bed bugs may leave itchy irritations on an individual's skin" reported Heather Maio, environmental health division director at the Pueblo City-County Health Department. She added, "Bed bugs do not require unsanitary conditions, and bed bugs do not discriminate between economy and luxury as they can exist in the cleanest homes, apartments, hotels or motels."
Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease. The primary medical concern of bed bugs is an inflammatory response some individuals show to their bites.
Identifying Bed Bugs:
Adult bed bugs are about ¼ inch long, oval, reddish-brown, and wingless. Their body is very flat, and they possess long, slender legs and antennae. They have a long, segmented proboscis (mouth) that extends forward when the bug takes a blood meal. At rest, the proboscis lies beneath the body and projects backwards between the legs. Immature bed bugs are known either as "larvae" or "nymphs." They closely resemble adults, but are smaller and less deeply pigmented.
Bed bugs usually hide in cracks and crevices during daylight hours. They enter such areas easily because of their flattened bodies. Folds and tufts of mattresses are typical hiding places along with coils of springs, cracks and hollow posts of bedsteads, and upholstery of chairs and sofas. In extreme infestations bed bugs are frequently found in places such as behind loose wallpaper, behind wall pictures, under door and window casings, behind baseboards, and even in light fixtures or medicine cabinets. Frequently, even when the actual bed bugs cannot be found, their hiding places can be located by looking for the spots of fecal material and blood they often leave in visible places.
Preventing Bed Bugs:
Preventing bed bug infestations involves thoroughly searching for bed bugs or signs of infestation in any suitable hiding place, such as bedding, upholstered furniture, or packing materials that might be introduced into your home or apartment. You should search for feces, eggs, and shed "skins" of larval bed bugs, as well as for active bed bugs. Frequently, even when the actual bed bugs cannot be found, their hiding places can be located by looking for the spots of fecal material and blood they often leave in visible places.
When staying in a hotel room, it is good practice to inspect the room for bed bug infestation. Upon arrival in a guest room, check the mattress, box springs, and behind the headboard before using the bed. It is very important to report suspected bed bug infestations to the hotel management immediately so that steps to control the infestation and prevent subsequent spread can be implemented as quickly as possible.
Removing Bed Bugs:
Control of an infestation of bed bugs is very difficult and is best left to professional pest control companies that have both the approved insecticides and the application equipment to effectively treat the various places where bed bugs hide. The representative of the pest control company should examine the residence and describe any pre-treatment responsibilities of the homeowner. For example, eliminating or at least reducing clutter in rooms to be treated is a necessity and infested bedding may have to be discarded before the infestation is treated.
Additional information on bed bugs is available by contacting the Environmental Health Division of the Pueblo City-County Health Department 583-4323.
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