Bed bugs are formidable foes. They feed on human blood, usually when the host is asleep. These resilient parasites attach to clothing or luggage and often take up residence in mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs were all but eradicated nearly 70 years ago, but have made a resurgence in the past 20 years. They are found in all 50 states, including Florida, and can affect anyone, even those who keep a tidy home. Florida bed bug bite symptoms including red welts, itching, redness, and swelling. Some victims contract diseases and many experience adverse psychological effects.
Inspecting for Bed Bugs in Florida
The best way to deal with bed bugs is to spot them before being bitten. Bed bugs can be identified by the naked eye. They are roughly the size of an apple seed and characterized by their reddish brown color and flat, oval-shaped bodies. Their small size makes them hard to notice, so it’s important to go out of your way to inspect your bed every so often. Bed bugs primarily feast when the host is asleep, so oftentimes victims won’t realize they are infested until after someone has been bitten.
Bed bugs multiply quickly, with female bed bugs laying as many as 12 eggs a day. These eggs are milky white and approximately twice the size of a grain of salt with about a two week hatch time. For this reason, Florida bed bug infestations can turn into bed bug outbreaks in a matter of weeks.
Bed bugs feast on their host’s blood, so you should check bed sheets if you think you’ve been bitten. Bed bugs are also prone to leave fecal stains. These stains are small, dark and look like marker prints. Be sure to call an exterminator immediately if you find bed bugs in a property you own.
Identifying Florida Bed Bug Bites
Bed bug bites are not always immediately noticeable as victims will often times not notice their bites for 24-48 hours. Bed bugs bites are usually tightly grouped red bumps in a straight line. These red welts are usually in groups of three and will vary in size depending on the victim. Sites of infestation are itchy, but itching only exacerbates the problem and increases the risk for further infection, bleeding, or swelling.
Face Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs will bite wherever they can, including the face. The face is exposed when we sleep and bed bugs can bite without waking up the host. Red welts on the face will be tightly grouped, oftentimes in groups of three. Bites on the face will be itchy and easy to scratch. Though itching bed bug bites is tempting, it will cause swelling and redness of the face.
Legs and Ankle Bites
Legs and ankles are common sites for Florida bed bug bites. It’s very important to monitor your bed bug bites and pay close attention to your symptoms. Itching, redness, and swelling are normal reactions. You can buy over-the-counter histamines to mitigate the symptoms of your bed bug ankle bites or leg bites. If symptoms worsen or persist, you should seek medical attention, as the bites should not be taken lightly.
Bed Bug Bites on the Arms
Bed bugs aren’t picky eaters. They’ll harvest blood from anywhere they can access. We expose our arms when we sleep, making arms vulnerable to bed bug bites. If you notice red welts on your arms, you should examine your bed and furniture for bed bugs.
Over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl should relieve normal itching caused by bed bug bites. If the itching and swelling persist, you may be suffering an allergic reaction and should visit the doctor immediately. Bed bug bites are often misdiagnosed as skin diseases and rashes. You should visit a dermatologist if you’re unsure about whether you’ve been bitten by bed bugs.
Many people assume that bed bugs cannot transmit disease, but this is false. A 2014 University of Pennsylvania study concluded that bed bugs can transmit Trypanosomacruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease. The parasite is found in the fecal matter of bed bugs and kissing bugs. Chagas disease is treatable but can be fatal if it isn’t dealt with in time. There are 6 to 8 million cases of Chagas disease annually causing 20,000-50,000 deaths. The symptoms in the early stages of Chagas disease include rash, fever, swelling at the site of infection, eyelid swelling, and body aches. You should visit a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms after being bitten by bed bugs.
Psychological Effects of Bed Bug Bites
Bed bug infestation is often accompanied by psychological symptoms in addition to the physical discomfort. Bed bugs represent a violation of our peace-of-mind. This violation can cause adverse psychological symptoms like insomnia and anxiety. Physical symptoms are a nuisance but will usually subside in time, while Psychological effects may require further treatment. Bed bugs attack when we’re sleeping, a time when we’re at our most vulnerable, making it understandable to have difficulty sleeping after exposure to an infestation. Pest Control Technology conducted a survey in 2010 of 474 people with confirmed bed bugs cases and 29% of the respondents reported suffering from insomnia after the infestation. The same survey saw 22% of the respondents say they suffered “emotional stress” following infestation and 20% suffered “anxiety.”
Options for Florida Bed Bug Cases
Bed bugs can cause severe harm when they feed upon a human host. You can contract a disease, suffer an allergic reaction, or experience psychological trauma. You have options if you bought bed bug infested furniture or slept at a hotel or rental property with bed bug infestation. Property owners are responsible for the bed bugs on their property. You may be entitled to a settlement if bed bug infestation has cost you money in some way. We specialize in Florida bed bug cases at Kley Law. Call us at 954-526-9888 for a free consultation.