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Do bed bugs only feed on humans? Bed bugs are also pests in poultry operations, and they're known to parasitize bats. Some labs that study bed bugs rear them on guinea pigs and mice. The bugs might feed on cats and dogs. Fur is probably a barrier to them, but they could feed at any place on the body without fur. Bed bugs are not specific to humans, but they are adapted to parasitizing us. That's very possible. I have heard of couples reporting that only one partner is getting bitten.

The truth is that both are getting bitten, but only one has a reaction to the bites. Thirty percent of people or more don't react to bed bug bites at all, and the elderly are less reactive than the rest of the population. Among those people who do react to the bites, most of them don't respond to early bites, but develop a sensitivity to subsequent ones.

Those individuals who are not sensitive to bed bug bites may not know they have an infestation. Because bed bugs are nocturnally active, it's hard to see other signs of their presence—unless you're accustomed to waking up at 3 A. With a huge infestation, bed bugs start to move away from the bed, so you're more likely to see one in an exposed place during the day. In very severe infestations people can become anemic.

That takes a lot of bugs though—maybe , feeding once a week or more.

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Another clue to infestation is odor. Like many species of bugs, bed bugs release odors called alarm pheromones. When a group of bed bugs gets disturbed, you may get a whiff of that odor, which is similar to the odor stink bugs give off. At higher concentrations the odor is unpleasant.

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Some people say at low concentrations it's a pleasant smell—like coriander. In fact, older literature refers to the bed bug as the coriander bug. I've tried to smell the coriander scent in bed bug alarm pheromones and have not been able to make the connection, however. What can one do to avoid getting bed bugs? The first thing is you have to be able to recognize and distinguish a bed bug from any other insect. Everything starts to look like a bed bug if you start to worry about them. An adult bed bug is about the size and shape of an apple seed. If it has not fed recently it will be flattened and brown.

If it has fed it will be round in circumference and reddish. Immature bed bugs have a similar appearance to adults, with the smallest being the size of the head of a pin. You can then learn to look for their fecal spots, which can be easier to detect than the bugs themselves. Check your hotel rooms when you travel.

And think twice before bringing home used furniture. If you are purchasing used furniture, ask the furniture store how they deal with bed bugs. If they have no plan whatsoever, that's probably not a good sign.

If you purchase used clothing, put it through a clothes dryer on a medium to high setting for a cycle as soon as you bring it home. And before you move into an apartment, ask the landlord whether there has been a bed bug infestation, or whether the building has ever been treated for bed bugs. The first question I would ask that person is, what makes you think you have bed bugs?

A skin reaction alone does not necessarily indicate the presence of bed bugs. Other bugs, allergies and irritants in the environment can produce similar skin reactions. And it's hard to confidently identify a bed bug bite because reactions vary from person to person. My next question would be, have you seen an insect in an area where you sleep and, if so, was it the correct size and shape to be a bed bug?

Carpet beetles in an immature stage are commonly mistaken for bed bugs. The carpet beetle actually doesn't look anything like a bed bug, but it is the right size.

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And it's another common insect to have indoors around the bed. If you find an insect that you think is a bed bug, save it in a pill bottle or another container so its key characteristics won't get crushed and a professional can identify it. I wouldn't try to get rid of an infestation on my own.

I would call a pest control operator. A good pest control operator will spend a fair amount of time inspecting the place for evidence of bed bugs, and will educate the person on what makes it clear that it's a bed bug infestation. Once you have a suspicion or a confirmed infestation, do not spread things outside of the bedroom. Don't take linens off the bed and go to sleep somewhere else—that will just move the infestation to other rooms. Ultimately pest control operators will tell you to put everything you can through the washer and dryer, since bed bugs cannot withstand high temperatures.

I don't think bed bugs would be able to survive solvent-based dry cleaning, but I don't have any first-hand knowledge that that's true. Brave the fierce winds of the eternal blizzard. Only with the aid of Helping Spirits will Nuna and Fox have any chance of survival in a land where survival seems impossible. Unlock fascinating video insights — Elders, storytellers, and other members of the Alaska Native community share stories and wisdom about their culture, values and the amazing Arctic world encountered by players in over 30 minutes of interviews.

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