You must have heard the phrase “don’t let the bed bugs bite” in everyday parlance. However, bed bugs are more than just part of a commonly-used phrase. In reality, they are nothing short of a nuisance.
Bed bugs are tiny, but visible, flat and wingless insects with half a dozen legs. Like mosquitoes, they feed on the blood of humans and animals. Other characteristics include their color, which may range from white to different shades of brown. They also turn scarlet in the aftermath of feeding. The average bed bug does not grow beyond 0.2 inches in size, which means they generally escape the attention of most people.
As their name implies, they seek refuge in beddings and tapestry and in so doing, they wreak havoc with a priority to feed upon human blood. These nocturnal insects are in hiding during daytime and feed on humans overnight. Their optimal activity is carried out just before the break of dawn.
Once they get their fill, bed bugs detach themselves and retreat to their hiding places to digest their meal. Upon not finding a human host, they rely on their innate capability to survive weeks without feeding. They may emerge weeks later, which makes them even a bigger threat.
Bed bugs are commonly found in areas that attract plenty of visitors, such as hotels, hostels, and apartments. They can easily conceal themselves in crevices and cracks of furniture and may emerge from their hiding spots at the right time.
These insects are a global phenomenon, most notably in developing countries. Their presence was thought to be a novelty in the United States in the past. However, owing to their increase in other parts of the world, they have gradually found their way into American homes. They are able to do so by latching onto objects like luggage, apparel and the like.
For the most part, these insects are not harmful, except for the itching of course, but in rare cases, diseases can materialize.
Signs of Bed Bugs
We’ve already mentioned the difficulty of locating bed bugs. It is important to note that despite their size, or lack thereof, they are detectable by the naked eye. Equipment such as a microscope is not required. Also, their prevalence notwithstanding, most people are still unaware of how a bed bug might be in appearance, due to their varying forms.
The various stages of their evolution include molting repeatedly in their infancy and changing color when they feed. Another contributing factor which explains why they remain undetected for long periods is that residents often mistake their bites for those made by mosquitoes.
However, those who know precisely where to look are able to locate them. Generally, checking your bedside tables, ceilings and paneling can lead to the recognition of these pests. Additionally, any crease in proximity to where a person sleeps is susceptible to infestations, including baseboards, mattress seams, and sundry objects also.
Also, there are ways to gauge the physical presence of bed bugs. They often leave a trail which can be traced back to them. For instances, clues which indicate the presence of bed bugs are shells or carcasses that they leave behind as they molt.
Moreover, they may leave fecal spots on your mattress or bedding. If you see stains of blood on your sheets or clothing, it may be another indicator that bed bugs are at play. To corroborate any suspicion, occupants must remove their bed sheets, examine the edges of their furniture and closely monitor the crevices of their tapestry.
Unfortunately, bed bug bites may resemble bites sustained from any other insect. Thus, their bites are not the ideal indicator of their infestation. For instance, their bites may resemble rashes which are the result of eczema or fungal infections or reddish marks that are the consequence of mosquito bites.
Individuals should understand how exactly a bite from bed bugs would look. Typically, they appear in the form of red welts. The victim also experiences a burning or itching sensation. They sustain a rash across the localized area and these bites often resemble straight lines. One indication would be that there may be a line across your body (as shown in the picture above). In addition, they may last longer than your average mosquito bite. If these signs are discernible, then it is a sure shot signal that bed bugs are active.
Treating the advent of bed bugs is imperative since the presence of a solitary pregnant female can lead to the emergence of more than 300 adults and over a 1000 larvae in just a three month period! If anything, this emphasizes the importance of entirely exterminating bed bugs for a sanitized household.
Typically, bed bug treatment begins with a conscientious cleansing of objects that were affected. This means any area or object where bed bugs resided should be cleaned thoroughly. Inhabitants should look to clean their bedding, linens, curtains as well as their apparel in hot water and then set these items out to dry either outdoors or expose them to the highest degree of the dryer setting. Extreme heat will kill them.
Another technique they should employ is to scrub mattresses with rigid brushes since this is likely to eliminate bed bugs as well. These accessories should then be vacuumed just to be sure. The surrounding areas should also be vacuumed.
Another precautionary measure is to encase the mattresses and box springs in tight zip covers since this would keep the bugs from entering and/or escaping. Last but not least, cracks that may appear on the walls or any crevices on tapestry should be amended at the earliest instance as well.
Ensuring that busy areas of your household remain clean is pivotal in controlling bed bugs and essentially eliminating the chances of an infestation. In case they succeed, then their extermination may require chemical treatments. As opposed to using a DIY method, it is better to consult professionals for doing the needful. It is the safest and also the most effective option. Pest control services have the requisite skills and knowledge to execute wholesale eradication of these blood-sucking hemipterans.