Bed Bugs eGuide
Bed bugs are the most annoying pests to ever share your bed with you. Not only are bed bugs a nuisance to a home and apartment, they are also found in most public places as well.
In New York City alone, its residents constantly have to deal with a serious infestation of the insect that is also known as chinches, cimex lectularius, red coats, or mahogany flats. It isn’t uncommon to find bed bugs in shared human dwelling such as hotels, motels, hospitals, dormitories, cruise ships, cabins or camps, or even on airplane and bus seats.
The bed bug situation in New York City is so bad that some exterminators are reporting that they get close to 100 calls each week from disgruntled homeowners. Reports have shown that in 2004, in New York City alone, there were close to 377 reported bed bug cases. This is indeed an epidemic. Fast forward July 2005, in which 449 bed bug complaints are reported. The growing bed bug problem is being blamed on the increase in international travel, and the ease with which bed bugs attach to travelers, and can infest new locations.
If one were to define bed bugs, it would have to be the fact that they are tiny insects that survive on the blood of warm-blooded animals. There are five types of bed bugs, which can mostly be found in West Africa and North and South America.
Feeding Habits of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs survive on the blood of warm-blooded mammals. They are known as nocturnal insects since they tend to feed and usually come out of hiding at night-time.
While humans sleep, bed bugs extract blood in a very painless fashion. During their feeding time, they inject their saliva into your skin. The saliva contains anticoagulants and anesthetics. Bed bugs usually only feed for five minutes at a time. Those five minutes of feeding can keep the bed bugs filled up for a long period of time, so even if they do not have another immediate host, they can survive. If they cannot find a human, they would then feed on the blood of next closest warm-blooded host, such as a dog, cat, or other pet.
They include the cimex hemipterus, which feed on poultry and bats, and the Leptocimex boueti, which feed on humans and bats. Also feeding off of bats are the Cimex pilosellus and Cimex pipistrella. Finally the Haematosiphon inodora species infests poultry.
Taking close to two weeks to hatch, these new bed bugs, or nymphs, begin their feeding process right away.
Reproduction of Bed Bugs
Reproduction of Bed Bugs are very different; they use traumatic insemination which the male pierces a females abdomen with his penis. Then it injects his sperm directly into the wound of the female bed bug through her abdoninal cavity. The sperm diffuses through and reaches her ovaries which results in fertilization.
This process isn't good for the females health because this is an open wound and it impairs the females health and leave her susceptible to infections. Bed bugs can only reproduce from traumatic insemination. Male bed bugs also mate with other male bed bugs; of course male bed bugs can not reproduce. This behaviour occurs because sexual attraction in bed bugs is based primarily on size, and males will mount any freshly fed partner regardless of sex
Life Stages of Bed Bugs
There are 6 stages of a Bed Bug life cycle; five immature and an adult stage in the cycle. Shedding of their skins happen throughout the molting process and this happens multiple times. The entire bed bug cycle usually takes about 32-48 days.
These discarded shells appear to have a clear like shell; empty exoskeletons of the bed bugs. The molting happens about 6 times before they can become fertile adults.
A Female Bed Bug will lay a small single, ovoid, milky white egg that has a "cap" at one end. These eggs are sticky and the eggs are cemented to rough surfaces by the female. This makes them very difficult to dislodge by simple cleaning techniques.
A single bed bug can produce a total of 300-500 eggs; these are deposited in small clusters. These clusters are attached near adult harborages with a sticky epoxy-like substance.
Bed Bug Bites
It’s easy for one to confuse a mosquito bite for a bed bug bite. So how do you determine if a bite on your skin is a bed bug bite? Research has said that bed bugs bite in a linear pattern of three bites so if you have three consecutive bites about your skin then you have been bitten by a bed bug. Some people even refer to these bites as "Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner". Bites from bed bugs are usually red in appearance and can be either flat or raised bumps.
Many people react differently to bed bug bites. Some bites might show up immediately where as others may not see signs up to nine days after being bitten. In some people the bites do not show up at all. This makes it hard to determine if there is a bed bug infestation present in the home or not. To many, bed bug bites may even eventually lead to moderate to severe allergic reactions. Other symptoms of bed bug bites may include going into a state of shock, nausea, and even feelings of illness. Luckily these allergic reactions are not very common.
The itch from a bed bug bite is indeed excruciating and usually last longer than a common mosquito bite. One way to alleviate the itch is to use All Stop™ Healing & Protection Spray to soothe the itch and repair any skin that may have been broken, due to excessive scratching, safeguarding against infection.
It is suggested that since bed bugs feed on human blood, they could be potential disease vectors, spreading diseases between people, similar to mosquitoes. However, only in very rare cases, bed bugs have transmitted Chagas disease and hepatitis B.
Physical - What Does Bed Bugs Look Like
These ectoparasites vary in size. While adult bed bugs are close to ¼ of an inch in length, the hatchlings, also called nymphs, are roughly the size of a poppy seed. Some research has supported the fact that bed bugs can lay close to 500 eggs in their lifetime, and five eggs per day. One can easily see these eggs faster than they would see the bed bugs as they are of milky-white in color and are 1mm in length.
A bed bugs range in color from tan to brown, burnt orange and even white. While they don’t have wings to fly, bedbugs are very mobile, and get around pretty well. Bed bugs are so clever that they can flatten themselves enough to hide in dark corners when they are in your home or other places.
How do bed bugs enter your home?
One would be surprised to know how easy it is for bed bugs to enter your treasured living space. A person can move into a new apartment that has been made clean by the landlords and still find bed bugs present. This is what differentiates bed bugs from cockroaches. While cockroaches dwell in dirty spots, bed bugs can be found even in clean places.
Aside from already being present at a new home or business, bed bugs can travel from one place to another while being hidden in furniture, clothing, moving boxes and luggage. Bed bugs are more prevalent in nooks and crannies of used furniture and usually lay their eggs there. That’s why people have to be very cautious when purchasing used furniture, since they never know when they would be inheriting bed bugs. Another way in which a bed bug can enter joining apartments, dorms or even hotels are through pipelines, holes and spaces in the walls.
Detection & Signs of bed bug infestations
Since bed bug infestations can occur quickly and easily, one may be wondering how to confirm the presence of bed bugs in the home, before an infestation gets to unmanageable sizes. One sign would be their cast skins, which they usually leave behind.
This should signal an alert from the homeowner to immediately start looking around their home to see if there are any bed bugs that are crawling in site. Some of the known hiding spots that should be checked for signs of bed bugs include bed frames, box springs and mattresses. Bed bugs are also known for leaving behind blood stains, which are usually visible on your sheets.
By now it is clear that bed bugs love to breed on beds, sofas, or other places that people sleep or spend extended amounts of time. So it would be best for you to also check for them within your drapes, closets and dressers in your bedroom. In places where the bed bug situation is out of control, it isn’t unlikely for you to get an odor that has been compared to strawberries or coriander.
Bed bugs have a distinct characteristic smell of rotting raspberries.
Dogs have been trained (as police dogs have been trained) to pinpoint infestations from the smell. Research
Tests have shown that these dogs have an accuracy rate of about 97.5%; this doesn't necessarily say that dogs from pest control companies have the same accuracy rate.
These dogs work very quickly; while pest control companies might need an hour or so to perform their own techniques.
Controlling the bed bug problem
While bed bugs can infest any human dwelling, clean or dirty, they prefer breeding in locations with many hiding places with many cracks and crevices. One way to combat this is reduce clutter, to limit hiding places for bed bugs.
One way in which you can commence the cleaning process is by thoroughly scrubbing the infested area to get rid of the eggs. Spraying Dead Bed Bugs Contact Killing Spray on any visible bed bugs and eggs on your mattress, bed frame, and box spring can stop any free-roaming bed bugs and eggs that come into contact with the spray.
Taking a vacuum to every nook and cranny would also get rid of the bed bugs that may be hiding in these corners and dark places. Remember too that aside from your bed frames, bed bugs can also be hiding in your drawers and dresser even your sofa. Using the All Stop Professional Steam Cleaner to eradicate bed bugs and their eggs can help get rid of bed bug infestations. Again you should check for them and clean the aforementioned spots using the cleaning methods that we have described above. One surefire way of keeping bed bugs out of your bed is by removing the frame of your bed away from the wall, and applying a thin layer of DE-Stroy Pest Control Eco-Dust, using a Pest Pistol.
In multi-unit dwellings such as apartments and hotels, bed bugs may enter the home through cracks and crevices in wall outlets or pipe or wire lines. Applying a thin layer of Eco-Dust around these areas can help deter bed bugs from entering your dwelling from a neighbors home.
If you are traveling and have to stay at a hotel or motel, always take along a flashlight so that you can check for bed bugs infestation. During your stay, keep your suitcases closed as much as possible to keep them out of it and from traveling home with you. Also, using an All Stop Disposable Mattress Bag filled with DE-Stroy Eco-Dust, will create a bite-proof tomb for any bed bugs infesting the mattress.
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