Bed Bugs

What Are Bed Bugs? - Bed bug is the common name for Cimex lectularius. They are small parasites that feed on a human’s blood during the night. During the day they hide in the walls and floors and cracks and crevices. The insects get their name through their association with being found in beds or areas where people tend to sleep. You will be able to find many stories on the internet about how people find bed bugs in hotels around the world. These insects are rarely seen without a close inspection. There are several species which not only target humans, but also chickens and bats. However, the majority of species suck the blood of humans to feed. The Bed bug is attracted to humans through our exhaling of carbon dioxide and the warmth that surrounds us (certainly in bed). Adults are a reddish brown color, unable to fly and grow to around 5 mm in length and up to 3 mm in width. Newly hatched nymphs are slightly lighter in color and become browner as they mature. How long these parasites live depends on their specie and the living conditions, however unlike fleas they are able to withstand a wide range of temperatures and still survive.

About Bed Bugs - Bed bugs have been around for quite some time and apparently date back to as early as 400 B.C.! It doesn’t look like we’re be able to get rid of them completely anytime soon either. In fact, recent global reports have claimed huge jumps in the number of incidents. The reasons behind the increase in cases is linked with unhygienic places, international travel, new control methods and pesticide resistance. It is also not known how big the increase actually is, due to infestations being so difficult to track as they are not an easily identifiable hindrance - so it may be even worse than is reported in the media. London have apparently reported increases every year for several years on the trot and the pest control firms are inundated with requests for assistance.

about bed bugs

How do I get Bed Bugs? - The tiny insects are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly wild animals such as bats, rats, mice) are nesting on or near a home, but they can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread (hence hotels, hostels and bed sits being linked). Humans can unknowingly be spreading them through infested clothing, luggage (suitcases), furniture and bedding. The bedbugs spread by crawling and can live in mattresses, sofas, curtains, carpet and inside a range of furniture (where eggs can be stored). Even when insecticides are being used in rooms, they can hide in cracks and crevices (hibernating) until a time that a host returns to the room, where they will come out of the cracks and start feeding again.

How can you get Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs Bites - Bedbugs pierce the skin of their host with the use of two feeding pipes. One injects its saliva, while the other withdraws the blood. The bedbug can feed for up to five minutes. However, they can survive without food for up to a year. An interesting fact is that these parasites could actually be used in investigations on who has stayed in a certain bed, as the DNA taken from a bed’s host could be retrieved up to 90 days after…! These small insects are most active at night and can feed off any exposed skin while the host is asleep. The hands, arms, neck and even face aren’t uncommon areas for bites and these are often painless. The bites differ from person to person. Some people do not even come up in a mark, whereas other can get red marks varying in size and itchiness. They can also be mistaken for bites from other insects such as fleas or mosquito’s. They do not transmit disease like fleas do. One good thing is these pesky parasites do have their own predators. It is recorded that certain types of ants, mites, cockroaches and spiders are animals that eat bed bugs. Although I’m not sure how comforting it would be to leave it to these creatures to rid you of an infestation?

Bed Bugs Extermination

If you have reason to believe you have bites from bed bugs on your body, treatment is not necessarily required unless infected. If the itchiness is brutal then a trip to your local pharmacy would be a good start to see if they can suggest a relief cream. If the bites are at an advanced state then you may need to visit your doctor for some antibiotics.

To identify the signs of bedbugs, you could look for fecal marks and shed skin, although seeing live examples is all the confirmation you need. You should also be sure to investigate other areas nearby in case the bedbugs have moved into new dwellings close by. When you stay away from your home in hotels be sure to check for bed bugs, as you don't want to pick them up in your luggage and take them back to your home.

There are bed bugs pest control professionals able to advise you on how to get rid of these pests. There are even bed bug dogs to assist you with the clearing of infestations, trained to locate the parasites! The treatment is usually by insecticide after an initial inspection. Recently in New York, bedbugs shut down the Nike Town and even reached the basement of the Empire State Building (reported in October 2010). Bed bug exterminators would have been needed to resolve this infestation.

If you believe your bedding has been infested in an uncontrollable way, it may be an idea to trash the furniture and replace it if you’re able to afford it. However the pest control people can help you with this decision. Other historic control techniques for these parasites include black pepper, however the sneezing may keep you awake too…

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