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Creeped Out by Bed Bugs? You’re Not Alone

bed bugs on the box spring

With all of the recent media attention on bed bugs, Portland residents may find themselves becoming increasingly fearful of these bloodsucking insects. This specific entomophobia or insectophobia (fear of insects) is common among those who have already been victimized by bed bugs and their bites, even if a pest control company took care of the problem. Some individuals with obsessive-compulsive tendencies have also reported fears of bed bugs even if they’ve never encountered them; some will go to great lengths to prevent an infestation (for example, avoiding cities that are known to harbor the insects).

The Reality of Bed Bugs

Any Portland pest control service will tell you that bed bugs and their bites are not fatal. While they’re known to carry nearly 30 disease pathogens, no known human has ever contracted a disease from a bed bug. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the only bed bug-related illnesses and fatalities ever reported are those that involve the overuse and misuse of products intended to prevent an infestation or kill the bugs – such as sprays. In other words, the fear of bed bugs has driven people to unintentionally spray themselves sick.

Finding Peace of Mind

If you’ve had bed bugs (and even if you haven’t), it can sometimes be hard to shake the imagined sensation of insects crawling on your skin. This psychological phenomenon can be the cause of sleepless nights and behavior changes. If you have a fear of bed bugs, consider the following tips to help ease your mind:

Sleep with the light on, and invest in a comfortable sleeping mask. Bed bugs come out when it’s dark, so sleeping with the light on and your eyes covered may help you catch up on some much-needed ZZZs. Once you’ve mastered this, start dimming the lights – move on to a lamp and then a nightlight until you feel comfortable in the dark again.

Contact a Portland pest control service. The experts can do a professional inspection of your home to verify that you do not have a bed bug infestation. Consider setting up a scheduled inspection if you think this service can help calm your fears.

Seek professional help. It is okay to have a fear of bed bugs, especially if you’ve encountered them in the past. However, if this fear has affected your sleep and lifestyle for more than a couple weeks (for example, you never want to leave your house or visit with others in their homes for fear of bringing bed bugs home), it’s time to seek the services of a mental health practitioner.

[ Photo by: cuttlefish, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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