They’re tiny, resilient, and they want to suck your blood. Bed bugs are a serious issue that isn’t going away any time soon. Here’s what you need to know about the microscopic monsters.
As this video from the SciShow YouTube channel explains, bed bugs are one of the fastest growing pest problems in the developed world—and it’s getting worse. If you’re unfamiliar with bed bugs, or Cimex lectularius, they’re tiny, blood-feeding insects that have acquired a taste for us humans over thousands of years. In the video, you’ll learn that bed bugs can live just about anywhere in your home, stuffing bedding and mattresses in plastic bags to starve out bed bugs doesn’t work, and the most efficient way to kill a bunch of bed bugs is heat. Adults and eggs will die within 10 minutes if exposed to temperatures of 115 degrees Fahrenheit (but don’t go lighting your bed on fire.) Fortunately, bed bugs don’t seem to pass on disease like most other blood-feeding insects, so you can take some solace in that.
There are some things you can do to fight off bed bugs, like freezing blankets and linens for several weeks, or calling an exterminator. But the best thing you can do is try to prevent them. Seal up cracks and crevices around your home so they don’t have anywhere to hide, check hotel rooms for them so you don’t any home, and set out traps.