What do I need to know about the bugs in my home?
While bugs can be common in homes, dealing with them is never fun.
Here is how you can deal with the pesky pests found in your home.
Bed bugs are back
An April 1st report in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms that the blood-sucking bed bug is making a comeback. The research shows an increase of up to 500 percent in reports about the wingless, reddish-brown insect, which hangs out on your mattress and waits for you to go to sleep before nipping at your skin. The reason: More of them are hitching a ride in and out of countries on the luggage and clothing of international travelers. Plus, they’ve become resistant to traditional treatments, so they don’t die off easily.
You’ll know it if you have them because you’ll wake up with welts on your body. Don’t fret, though; the new research shows that they’re more of a nuisance than a danger and apparently don’t cause any diseases.
You can try to get rid of bed bugs by replacing your mattress and setting sticky traps for any that jump off. Or you can try to vacuum your mattress and zip it into a plastic cover. Be sure to check your fabric upholstery and carpet, too. However, this may not be a cure all for your issue.
Dust mites are still mighty
These microscopic mites don’t carry diseases, but if you’re allergic to dust, you’re probably allergic to dust mites. Their favorite food is dead skin cells, and you shed yours at a rate of one-third of an ounce a week. So they live in the places where you spend the most time: your bed and your favorite sofa. In fact, a used mattress can contain 100,000 mites. They also live where it’s hot and where we live, is hot!
Get rid of the dust in your house and you’ll get rid of much of your problem. Also, zip mattresses into airtight plastic mattress covers; wash your sheets, pillows and blankets—and your child’s fabric or stuffed toys—at least every other week in super-hot water; crank the a/c to above 70 degrees; and change the a/c filter every single month.
Roaches make your nose run
You know you can be allergic to cats, dust and pollen. Did you know cockroaches cause allergies, too? They also can trigger asthma. Once you see a roach in your kitchen, it’s likely there are nearly 1,000 more around the house. They like to live under the kitchen sink and in closets. And they’ve become so resistant to bug spray that you’ll probably need to call a pest-control company to get rid of them. Plus, if you try to kill them with chemicals, you could aggravate your asthma; be sure to wear a face mask to protect yourself from breathing in chemicals when spraying for bugs.
Once they’re gone, keep them out. Inspect everything you carry into your house, including grocery bags and suitcases. Take out your garbage every evening and fix plumbing leaks around the house.
Crickets are gourmet food for spiders
If you don’t want scorpions and black widows in your house, get rid of the crickets. That’s what these predators like to eat, so they’ll follow them right into your house, usually through the baseboards. If you treat the crickets, the scorpions will die as well, after they eat them. You can spray insecticide around baseboards, but don’t overdo it; if you need serious chemical treatments for bugs, call a pest-control pro to do the job.
Your best bet: Keep the crickets out by using expansion foam and caulk to seal the gaps and cracks around windows, doors and your home’s foundation so they can’t squeeze their way indoors.