You can kill the bugs in people’s beds, but you can’t kill the bugs in people’s heads.” – Sandy Rubenstein, bed bug victim

Seeing a bed bug crawl across your bed or finding dark blood and fecal smears along the seams of your mattress or waking up to a rash of itchy, red bed bug bites is horrific enough; but, as bed bug victim Sandy Rubenstein so poignantly says on MSN Today Health online, the emotional trauma that bed bugs inflict on their victims far outweighs the physical problems these blood-feeding insects cause.

When a bed bug infestation is discovered, New Jersey pest control experts encourage bed bug victims to continue sleeping in their infested beds to avoid spreading the insects to other parts of their home. Bed bugs feed on human blood, usually at night when their unwary victims are immobile during sleep; but these small apple seed-size parasites do not live on their human hosts. Between feedings, bed bugs stay close to their food source (you!), hiding in tiny cracks and crevices near their victim’s bed. If you start sleeping on the couch or in a spare bedroom, bed bugs will simply follow you, spreading the infestation to additional rooms of your home and making it that much more difficult to eradicate these prolific insects.

The very thought of lying down on your bed knowing that bed bugs will soon be crawling under your covers and biting your body is enough to panic bed bug victims. Fear and desperation often provoke irrational behavior. NJ pest control professionals have seen bed bug victims coat their mattresses and pajamas with insecticides, rub agricultural pesticides on their bodies, and throw out their possessions in fruitless attempts to escape bed bugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that more than 100 people have become ill and one woman died from misusing pesticides while battling bed bugs.

Next time: How to get rid of bed bugs safely