My dad's apartment is infested with bedbugs, specifically their ridiculously expensive designer couch. They'd been worried about the critters since he'd reported numerous bites, but after inspecting their bed time and time again, they'd found no evidence of bugs... until ThirdStep actually saw a criminal bloodsucker as it fled the scene.
They immediately chucked the couch, no matter the expense, and proceeded to self-fumigate the apartment, which is supposedly one of the worst things you can do according to Jeff White of Bed Bug Central TV.
Now, I know a few things about the critters from hearing tales of my friends in NYC, which is utterly infested. So I'm prepared for anything to happen, considering all it takes is for one traveler here in this apartment building to bring home some nasty friends and the whole structure could be overrun.
First off, they like wood, and hide in the daytime more often in the cracks of your bedframe than actually in/around the mattress. Unlike dust mites, you can see them quite easily with the naked eye, fully grown adults are compared to 'apple seeds' and can run about as fast as ants. They can't fly, but they are smart enough to climb a wall and fall on you from above if all other avenues are blocked.
So what should one do if suspecting bedbugs? First off, DON'T PANIC. While bedbugs are gross and do suck blood, there have been no known cases of disease proved to be spread by bedbug. So you probably won't catch anything other than a nasty bite.
Pesticides are generally not recommended because if you spray a known infested area, they simply move... and then they hide EVERYWHERE around your home. Your best bet is to clean up dirty laundry and clutter around nighttime sleeping places, this includes both beds and sofas where people like to spend time snoozing during nocturnal hours. Then, find a NON-HEPA vacuum, and vacuum the suckers up. Bedbugs can actually live inside the HEPA filters in your vacuum, so you really want an old-fashioned one with a disposable bag. Maybe a dustbuster? Spraying them directly with rubbing alcohol is supposed to kill them.
Other methods include containment. Look specifically for mattress and pillow covers that say 'bed bug bite resistant'. The ones for dustmites aren't necessarily enough. Use double-sided sticky tape around bedposts, the sides of beds, etc, and don't allow bedclothes to drape all the way to the floor. I shouldn't need to tell you to wash all bedding regularly in hot water. Finally, call in the pros, onces with experience and knowledge of the latest cryogenic techniques to freeze out bedbugs.
Just writing this post makes me feel itchy all over again, and we don't even have a bedbug problem here.
Biting Bed Bugs Run Rampant In DC
Bed Bug Central TV