Bed Bugs

Immature bed bugs, called nymphs, are 1 mm in length and get larger with each developmental stage (they shed skins like a snake, which can be one indication of infestation).  Adult bed bugs are brownish, oval and somewhat flat, and are just less than 1/4” or 7 mm long — slightly smaller than a lentil.

Immature bed bugs have the same characteristics as adults, but are lighter in color, and newly hatched nymphs are translucent and very small. Young bed bugs may appear bright red after feeding. The eggs are white or light colored and very, very small (approximately 1mm).  They are extremely difficult to detect without a magnifying glass or a specially trained dog.

Bed bugs are members of the Cimicidae family, in the order Hemiptera, and feed exclusively on blood. They cannot grow or reproduce without blood meals.  Related species in this family feed on birds, bats and other animals. Immature bugs pass though five developmental stages on their way to maturity, and at least one blood meal is required between each stage. Under the right conditions and right temperature, between 70 and 90 degrees farenheight, bed bugs reach adulthood in six to eight weeks.  It takes longer if the bugs do not have access to blood, or if the t temperature is cooler than 70 degrees.

Adults will live for nearly 12 months, and — this is a key to the problem — adult females typically deposit up to five eggs every day in a large area around a bed. The bugs live in cracks and tight enclosures on and around the bed, including the box spring, headboard, surrounding floor area and in furniture.  They can be under carpets in lamps or under wallpaper — any tight hiding place in the general vicinity of the bed. They come out to feed only at night, and since their bites frequently go undetected, they can remain undiscovered for months.  It is commonly thought that bed bugs can survive a year or more without blood.

Bedbugs:

Bedbugs or bed bugs are small parasitic insects of the family Cimicidae (most commonly Cimex lectularius). Bed Bugs feed on human blood. All insects in this family live by feeding exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals. Bed Bugs prefers habitat of houses and especially beds or other areas where people sleep. Bedbugs, though not strictly nocturnal, are mainly active at night and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts.

A number of health effects may occur due to bed bugs including skin rashes, psychological effects and allergic symptoms. Diagnosis involves both finding bed bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms. Treatment is otherwise symptomatic.

Bedbugs have been known by a variety of names including wall louse, mahogany flat, crimson rambler, heavy dragoon, chinche, and redcoat. Eventhough bed bugs have been eradicated, bedbugs have seen a resurgence since about 1995.

Recently there is an increase in the population of Bed Bugs in North American houses, hotels, motels, restaurants, airports, offices. If bed bugs are not controlled and exterminated then it may spread rapidly from one place to other place and cause significant danger in the dwelling places.

Beware – “Bed Bugs feed on Human Blood…”

Bed Bugs: Past, Present & Future

“Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” It is a saying that had lost its meaning because so few people in the current generation, especially in the United States, have had any personal experience with this creepy little bug, known to scientists as Cimex Lectularius.  But things have changed.  Bed bugs are back with a vengeance.

Cimex Lectularius, from the Latin “bug of the bed,” has certainly captured America’s attention, including most recently the Centers for Disease Control, which issued a document labeling the current state of infestation in the U.S. a “pandemic.”  CDC’s attention is remarkable considering that the bug and it’s bites are not known to spread disease. The lack of disease transmission is actually somewhat surprising considering that this family of bugs, when not in human beds, has historically been a nest parasite, biting swallows, bats and certain other birds that are known to carry disease.  A bed bug bite can lead to infection, however, and in rare cases bed bug bites have led to anaphylactic shock in hyper sensitive individuals.

Bed bugs were a relatively common pest in the United States in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, until the 1940s and subsequent decades with the arrival of aggressive pesticides such as DDT, malathion, diazinon, lindane, chlordane and dichlorovos.  These different pesticides were used in succession when resistance to earlier poisons developed. They were very effective, nearly eliminating bed bugs in the U.S., but they also created significant environmental and health problems in some cases.  The use of DDT was banned in the 1970s, and during the past two decades bed bugs have been reintroduced the U.S., spreading widely.  Bed bug behavior facilitates its spread from one home and workplace to another, and while the problem remained quiet for a long time, partially due to the associated stigma, the recent surge of infestations has caused widespread discussion and a little bit of panic.

Bed remained much more widespread in other nations around the world during the latter half of the 20th Century (in particular in South America, the Middle East and Africa), so it is not surprising that they have spread, in large part, through travel.  A bed bug in Egypt can easily find its way into luggage that is then transported to a major U.S. city, where it takes up residency in a hotel, spreading its offspring to future domestic visitors.  And so on.  So while resistance to pesticides and the overall reduction of pesticide use has created an environment in which the bed bug population was able to take hold in the U.S., the recent surge is likely the result of multiple causes including increasing populations of the bug overseas and the increase in international travel.

Bed bugs reproduce very rapidly and by now many people, and most frequent travelers, have heard stories of how bed bugs hitch a ride on luggage and spread to homes and to other hotels and workplaces.  Once a bed bug population is entrenched, it can spread by moving from one office or dwelling in a building to another, and it can also find new homes when people purchase used (and infested) furniture, clothing or other household items, or take items discarded on the street. Now bed bugs are found not only in hotels.  It is possible to pick up bed bugs in schools, dorms, public transportation, shopping stores, movie theaters and other public spaces.

Since it can sometimes take weeks or even months before a resident realizes their home is infested, bed bugs often have an opportunity to multiply. Bed bug habits are one of the reasons their presence can go unnoticed for so long.  They come out only in the dark and bite when people are asleep.  In most cases, their bite is painless (they secrete an anesthetic when they bite), and after feeding they hide until their next meal, which could be a week later.  Pictures of people with bed bug welts can be found all over the web these days, but some people never react to the bites and others must be bitten multiple times before they react.  People often ascribe the bed bug bites to allergic reactions and other causes before realizing that bed bugs are firmly entrenched in their home.

So, will bed bugs be an even bigger problem in the near future?  Sadly, it seems that the answer is yes.  The population of bed bugs is spreading very quickly and unless there is a swift increase in public awareness combined with a corresponding increase in detection and elimination, the bed bug population could continue to rise exponentially.

I Have Bed Bugs!

You move into a new apartment. You love the place: the view offers an amazing perspective of your area; the neighbours are the typically cool young-yet-professional people who know people and go on tour and are hardly ever home; the rent is affordable even though your building is located in the middle of a bustling city like NY or Vancouver, and you are living the life you’ve always dreamed.

Until you scratch yourself awake one morning or notice some little dried droplets of blood on your sheets and tiny markings on your legs and arms which were left exposed by your practical summer nightwear (I know your type). Totally sexy, right? Not your pajamas — I’m talking about the weird little blood droplets or the markings on your body. Not cool.

So, where do you turn for help? Do you even know how to check for bed bugs? How do you know if you have the infestation that dare not speak its name? Are you too embarrassed to tell your landlord or call the exterminator lest your neighbours find out and make unfair judgments about your lifestyle? I would be, too. Just kidding. I’m sorry I made fun while you’re feeling vulnerable.

Bed bugs are in da haus.

First of all, relax. I’m here to show you how to prevent bed bugs from making a home of your bed in the first place. If you’re here because you’re at the point where you’ve noticed some symptoms of bed bugs in your apartment or home, I have solutions for you, too.