I thought mosquitos were bad! For the last few days on WLS 890 AM Talk Radio's Don Wade and Roma Show, one of the subjects has been bed bugs.
The Chicago Tribune newspaper reports a significant rise in United States sightings of these evil bloodsuckers, which attack unsuspecting victims in their beds at night.
Are you itching? Not yet? Keep reading.
These tiny little insects are camping out in hotel beds, on cruise ships, in nursing homes, hospitals and other likely spots. Click this link for a story about them in the New York Times. In this article entomologist Louis Sorkin mentions they're so small they're hard to find. If you see something a quarter inch long and it's reddish-brown, you may have found one, but there are many types. They not only feed on people, but also pets.
These nocturnal critters release some kind of nerve agent when they bite, numbing their victims during their feeds, until the damage is done. Afterwards, the fun and itching begin. If you scratch too much, you risk infection.
Why have they become so prevalent? Some people blame it on our shrinking world. Travelers are visiting more places where these tiny critters dwell and the nasty little things hitch a ride back on clothes or shoes, in suitcases, etc. Another reason is poor hygiene, with people being too busy or unable to spend money to wash sheets and pillowcases.
If you're traveling, what measures can you take to be safe? A few suggestions I heard on WLS were to check your sheets for little splotches of blood (that sound icky, doesn't it?), keep your covers tucked in, and make sure your bed doesn't rest against the wall.
Have you ever seen a bedbug or gotten bitten by one? Have you ever included bedbugs in a book you've written? Do you feel like doing so now? Did I make you itchy?