Author: Teresa Stewart
Published: Feb 10 2014
Have you recently noticed a straight line of small red marks on your skin that look like insect bites? Are you feeling itchy? Then chances are you might have a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are nasty little critters that literally hide in your mattress waiting to jump out and suck your blood as you sleep. Bed bug infestations are currently on the rise in the United States, and it’s fairly easy to bring them home without even realizing it.
According to Bedbug.com, bed bug complaints to pest control companies in the United States have increased by approximately 500% since 2000. In fact, in a recent survey of American pest control companies 91% reported having been asked to deal with bed bug infestations. That number was only 37% two years ago. While some of this may be to greater awareness of the problem, the simplest explanation is that bed bugs love to travel, making them an easily obtained and deeply unwelcome souvenir from your travels both at home and abroad. How do you get bed bugs? And more importantly, how do you get rid of them once they’ve taken up residence in your bed?
There are laws in place to protect residents of apartment communities and hotels from bed bug infestation. The implied warranty of habitability is such a law and it states that a landlord is liable for maintaining premises that are fit for human habitation. That means the property must be well maintained including prevention of pest manifestations. If you believe that your bedbug infestation was caused due to landlord negligence you should contact a personal injury attorney.
The website of Auger & Auger states, "A person who broke a safety rule or who was unreasonably careless can be considered negligent and in breach of a legal duty. This gives rise to a personal injury claim."
Figuring out if your bites are from bed bugs can be relatively easy with just a few simple checks. If you’ve noticed red bug bites on your skin, check to see how they’re placed. Bed bugs tend to bite in a straight line, whereas fleas and other bugs bite randomly. Inspect your sheets for small dark red spots, as this is your blood and a sure sign they’ve been out hunting and making a meal of you. You can also inspect your box spring and mattress for signs of dead bugs.
You don’t have to be a dirty person to get bed bugs. In fact, some of the cleanest, nicest 5-star hotels can suffer from bed bug infestations. Bed bugs love to travel, and can jump into your suitcase to hitch a ride to their next destination. They can also hide in clothing. A particular favorite of these creatures is hiding in the folds or seams of suitcases, where they can remain dormant for quite awhile, even without getting a meal. Though bed bugs can travel up to 100 feet in a single night, they generally tend to stay within 8 feet of where people sleep.
Getting rid of bed bugs will require a visit from a pest control professional, who can spray an insecticide on your bed and also provide you with covers o prevent future infestations. If you live in a rented apartment, contact your landlord as they will generally have someone they regularly use to deal with the problem. Homeowners should get all of their beds treated if infestation is found in one, as bed bugs can travel quite easily from room to room.
Getting rid of bed bugs is an intricate process. While an exterminator is treating your home for bed bugs you must also take an integrated approach where you must prevent the bed bugs from spreading to any other areas of the home. You must also isolate any linen or clothing that has been affected and quickly launder them in hot water. Finally you want to vacuum the entire home, paying special attention to the mattress, curtains, walls and other furniture.
If you are reasonably sure that your infestation came from a stay at a hotel and you can provide evidence to prove that, then you may have a case for a personal injury attorney. You may also have a case if your apartment building suffers from an infestation and the landlord knowingly rented it to you without making you aware of it or attempting to solve the problem These cases are difficult to prove, but not impossible. One woman was recently awarded $800,000 after her personal injury claim against her landlord in Maryland. Be sure to gather as much evidence as possible, including photos and affidavits from other tenants or guests.
As bed bugs become more and more problematic and more information gets out there, people will be quicker to recognize the signs and deal with a possible infestation sooner rather than later. If you suspect you have bed bugs, contact a pest control professional for advice on how to deal with it. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled and try not to scratch too much.
Teresa Stewart is a freelance writer who frequently researches personal injury claims. She has found that Auger & Auger successfully represents all types of personal injury cases.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/medilldc/5407193471/ & http://www.flickr.com/photos/lawro/3996896687/
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