Health and Wellness: Bed bugs are a menace

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department
Special to Dallas County News and Perry Chief

Bed bugs look like small flat apple seeds. They are nocturnal, blood feeding insects that are attracted to body heat and exhaled carbon dioxide. There is no evidence bed bugs carry infectious disease. However, their bites can create irritating bumps; excessive scratching could cause a secondary skin infection. 

There are preventive measures to reduce your chances of bed bugs. If you do get an infestation, it’s best to have a licensed pest management company exterminate them. Professionals often use very high heat, which is non-toxic, kills live insects and eggs and can penetrate deeply into cracks and crevices. Plus, bugs do not build up resistance to heat, as they do with insecticides. When choosing a pest control company, find out whether it is both licensed and insured, and ask for references (preferably from bed bug jobs). 

Bed bugs hitch a ride on anything from clothing in a public laundry to items found at a garage sale. Beware of used furniture, books, luggage and picture frames. Bed bugs can even hide in seams of wooden and plastic furniture. You can help stop the spread of bed bugs by not putting infested mattresses or furniture on the curb or near an apartment dumpster where someone else could claim them. See epa.gov/bedbugs for much more.