Do you see this beautiful sanctuary, a.k.a. my bedroom, I recently created for myself? Well, it is a sanctuary no more. I seriously feel like I am currently living in a horror movie. I am 90% sure that we have the beginnings of a bed bug infestation occurring!
I grew up thinking that bed bugs were mythical insects dreamed up by teasing parents, but now I am sadly enlightened to the truth. While at dinner at a friends’ home, I was casually sipping my shiraz and mentioning these horribly itchy bites I received several nights ago on my wrist and neck.
My friend joked that they might be bed bug bites. At first I laughed it off..and then I panicked. And what do I do when panic sets in? I hit the internet and read every scary article on the topic until I could easily receive my Masters degree on said topic. Seriously. Do you want to know the latin name for bed bug? It’s Cimex lectularius. How long can they happily survive in your home without eating? Over a year! Their mating habits? It is disgusting and in no way can be enjoyable for the female. I could go on and on here! The worst thing to know about these bugs is that they come out at night, violate you several times while you’re asleep, suck your blood, and then run off.
(Image of my neck a week after several initial bites. Beautiful seaglass necklace won in giveaway from Scarborough Seashells.)
Uh, yeah Beth that is pretty gross. Sorry you’re dealing with yet another thing on your plate…or in your bed as the case may be…but why in the world do we need to know any of this? Because they travel into your homes on used objects! Hello?! All of those great thrifty treasures you highlight each week could be hosting more than you bargained for! Bed bugs are hitch hikers and will often be brought home from luggage from a recent trip, but also can be brought in from used furniture, clothing, and even electronics. That great free headboard you found on the curb? Those fantastic used chairs you found in the dumpster? Even those bargains at Goodwill and yardsales are all potential bed bug modes of transportation. Before bringing any of these items into your residence make sure you scrub them down with a brush and vacuum and/or steam vac them. Clothing should be brought into the home in a sealed plastic bag and immediately washed in the hottest water possible and dried on high heat.
I don’t know how these bugs came into my home, but I am guessing the old doors, antique dresser, or free throw at the end of my bed might be the culprits. I washed the throw, of course, before putting it on my bed, but it was lying on the floor waiting to be washed for several days.
Most articles I read indicated that bed bugs will hide in the creases of your mattress and will leave fecal matter stains on your sheets and mattress where they reside. These stains look like mildew stains. I went over my entire mattress and boxsprings and found one, 1 inch area that looked just like they described! It wasn’t nearly as bad as anything seen on the internet, but it can’t be ignored. Needless to say the mattress is getting replaced tomorrow. That might seem extreme, but we need a new mattress anyhow, and I’m not sleeping a wink on this thing right now. We need a new one and it will be sealed in bug proof covers this time!