A 13-year-old accidentally set fire to his entire apartment building while trying to kill a bed bug.
Emergency services arrived on the scene in Cincinnati at around 11pm on Tuesday.
The teenager caused around $300,000 worth of damage after dousing the bug in alcohol and throwing a match over it.
Eight people lost their homes. The Red Cross is working to find housing for three adults and five kids.
Bed bugs are small, brown, oval-shaped insects that feed off the blood of animals and humans.
Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, they have flat bodies meaning they can get into incredibly small spaces.
Once it has has fed, its body swells and gains a reddish color.
Over their lifetime, female bed bugs lay hundreds of eggs, which are the size of a spec of dust.
It is believed that bed bugs are a sign of dirtiness but because they feed on blood it doesn’t matter to them if the room is immaculately clean or absolutely filthy, it’s your blood they are after.
They are most likely found in your mattress, bed frame, box springs, or head board – any place where they can get a good blood meal while the person is sleeping at night.
Bed bugs feed by piercing the skin and sucking blood out of the person or animal through an elongated beak.
It takes them three to ten minutes to get engorged.
The area of skin they pierce turns into itchy an welt.
They can appear on any part of the skin that was exposed while sleeping.
In order to confirm you have a bed bug infestation you must find the bugs themselves and identify them.
How to spot bed bugs
There are some tell tale signs that you have a bed bug infestation.
- If you start waking up with itchy areas that you didn’t have when you went to sleep.
- If you are sleeping in a used bed or have other used furniture you could have bed bugs.
- Seeing blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases may be an indication of their presence.
- Bed bug excrement, dark or rusty colour, on your sheets, mattresses or bed clothes.
- Bed bug egg shells or their shedded skin in areas where they hide themselves.
- Musty odour coming from their scent glands.
If you think you have bed bugs you should remove all bedding and check carefully everywhere they might hide: seams in wooden framing, under bottom of box springs, under the dust cover, areas around the bed, inside books, edges of carpet, electrical outlets.
How to treat bed bugs
To get rid of those pesky blood suckers, you need to clean all the bedding, linen, curtains and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest temperature setting.
For items that you can’t wash such as some shoes, and stuffed animals, you should put them in the dryer on high for 30 minutes.
Using a stiff brush you should scrub your mattress seams, then vacuum your bed and the surrounding area.
When you are finished, take the vacuum bag and place it in an outdoor bin immediately.
You should put your mattress into a tightly woven zipper cover to prevent the bedbugs from getting in or out if they are still lurking in the box springs.
Unfortunately bed bugs can live for up to one year without feeding so that cover will have to stay on for one year to make sure the bed bugs are dead and gone.
Get rid of places where bedbugs could hide: in clutter around the bed and cracks in plaster.
It would be worthwhile to consider getting a new mattress, but take care to make sure that all bed bugs are gone from your room before you put a new mattress in.
If this all sounds too much you can hire an experienced pest control professional to carry out an extermination.