Where bed bugs hide in the home — Kenley’s student essay

Where Bed Bugs Hide In The Home?

Bed Bugs Are the Worst Bugs

It was in March 2012 that red, itchy spots appeared on my entire body. Was it poison ivy? Was I having an allergic reaction? After several months and countless visits to the dermatologist, they had finally reached a diagnosis of idiopathic dermatitis. Although the diagnosis made no sense, I began taking oral steroids and applied calamine lotion every night in hopes of relieving the terrible itching. Little did I know that their diagnosis would be completely wrong.

One interesting fact about me is that I react horribly to bug bites. Any type of bug or insect bite creates a very unpleasant skin reaction that can take days to treat.

Reactions include one or more of the following: huge welts, formation of pus pockets, swelling, and severe itching.

When the itchy spots began to appear on my body, they were itchy and multiplied each night. As a second grader, these red spots made me extremely self-conscious. I wore sweatshirts, long-sleeved shirts and jeans during the Texas Spring heat in order to avoid the embarrassing questions.

One night, I called for my Mom and asked if she could bring the calamine lotion because the itching was preventing me from sleeping. She opened the door, turned on the lights and let out the loudest gasp. I looked up and saw hundreds of brown bugs crawling all over my walls and ceiling. I immediately ran out of my room screaming. My parents did some online research and learned that those ugly, brown bugs that had invaded my room were bed bugs.

Everything was starting to make sense now. But why was I the only one in my family with bites? When the exterminators arrived the next morning, they tore my room apart. The bed bugs were hiding behind my picture frames, in my mesh toy holder that hung from the ceiling, in some of my toys, under my bed, in my mattress frame, and in my closet. But, the most interesting hiding spot was in my ceiling — inside the crevices of my textured, acoustic ceiling. Bed bugs are hide-n-seek experts.

It was that afternoon that the bed bug removal process began. Ironically, bed bugs do not just hide in your bed. The treatment and removal process was not easy for the exterminators. They used several different methods to treat our house. At some point, I even saw the exterminator using a special machine to freeze dry some of my toys. After about two months and thousands of dollars spent, we had successfully removed every bed bug, nymph and egg from my room. 

This infestation left us with many questions. The main question we had was how did these bugs get into our home and why were they only in my room? It was then that we realized that my Dad had taken a work-related trip to San Antonio about two weeks prior to the appearance of my bites. Since he traveled alone, he stayed in a cheap motel. He had used my small suitcase and when he returned from this trip, he returned the suitcase to my closet. 

After some research, we learned that the motel where my Dad had stayed received terrible reviews due to complaints of bed bugs. The bed bugs from the motel caught a ride in my Dad’s suitcase and made their way into my room.

Due to our costly encounter with bed bugs, my family is more knowledgeable about and super cautious regarding hotel and motel visits. Every time my family decides to rent a hotel, we first do our research by checking to see if that particular venue appears on the National Bed Bug Registry website. And, when we arrive at our destination, my parents make us wait in the hall while they enter the room to check under the mattresses, behind picture frames, in the closets, and in the ceilings.

Some may call us paranoid, but we call ourselves smart. The bed bug experience of 2012 completely changed our lives. The bedtime rhyme — “Good night, sleep tight! Don’t let the bedbugs bite” has a new, real and personal meaning in our house.

Author: Kenley Ferguson

UT Austin or University of Houston

Student Scholarships

Every year Thrive Pest Control hosts an essay contest and the reward is a 1-year scholarship at a 4-year university in the United States. This blog post is one of those scholarships.