What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs belonging to the family of Cimicidae are small parasites that feed on warm-blooded animals. Human beings, being warm blooded, are great sources of survival of bed bugs since times immemorial. These flat and oval-shaped bugs are general nocturnal insects – being heavily active in nights. These often dwell in the nests of birds and the homes of human beings. They love the darkness in the upholstery of sofa, furnishings, floor, walls and mainly beds, hence, the name bed bugs. Bed bug infestation is quite common in apartments, homes, movie theaters, public transport, schools, hospitals, dormitories, hotels, laundries and office building. Infestation of bed bugs is a major concern since they cause numerous physical and psychological ailments.
Origination of Bed Bugs
Cleanliness is not really the cause for bed bug infestation. There is no specific cause for its origination. They move from one place to another through clothing, baggage, old furniture, mattress and other items. Bed bugs infest where there is maximum human occupation. Even the clean hotels have the population of bed bugs. These insects survive on animals and birds as well. Hence, when there is a bed bug infestation at home, pest-control professionals also examine the presence of such animals or birds that can encourage dwelling of bed bugs. Bed bug clusters are found in crevices, holes, pipes and perpetrate into other apartments and dwellings through hollows present in the wire or pipe tubes.
The bed bug bites using two hollow tubes, which pierces through the skin to suck the blood. One tube infuses anesthetic saliva into the spot while the other tube draws the blood.
Diagnosing a bed bug infestation
- Look for small itching swellings on the body, especially on the skin that is largely exposure while sleeping – neck, arms, face, legs, back and shoulders.
- Fecal spots of bedbugs are red or dark brown in color. These are often present in the linings of mattress, corners of furniture, headboards, box springs etc.
- Heavy population of bed bugs gives out a distinct buggy smell.
- Blood smears on bed linen or furniture due to crushing of the bed bug are another sign of the bed bug infestation.
- Look for tiny eggs that appear like poppy seeds, brown skins, and eggshells in its normal hiding places.
- Bed bugs are active during the night and seen creeping out of mattress, furniture, carpets, moldings etc.
How to Know When Your Home Is Infested with Bed Bugs
What a fitting name for the little buggers. They hide in the bedding and when you sleep at night, they creep on you and suck you dry, well, almost. Bed Bugs are just that; biting bugs that stay in the dark and they feed on blood. That means that when you are not looking they will give you a nip. Scientifically known as Cimex lectularius, they are small and wingless, but they are fast on their feet. They feed on the blood off mammals, including human beings. Although they come in different colors, only one color can define a bed bug that has fed and is full of blood, and that is scarlet.
Bed bugs are mostly nest parasites, that is, they do not live on their host like lice, but they will want to stay close to their source of food. That is why they are found in bed and bed linen and in bat and bird nests too. When they are full grown, they can grow to the size of a quarter of an inch. While this many sound small, there is nothing small about the bite of this bug and the pain that it will cause you, not to mention that it will also leave red angry splotches on your clear skin.
Today, there is a lot of information on the internet about bed bugs. Of late, they have become very common with many households being infested. The good news is that it is easy to get rid of them. Although many people say that bedbugs are mostly caused by low standards of hygiene but the truth is that if you have them, you could have collected them or their eggs from anywhere. If you have stayed in hotels, you could have collected the bed bug eggs from there. You could also collect them from animals if you are a hunter and therefore when the conditions allow, the eggs hatch and you have bed bugs. Therefore, if you have seen symptoms of infestations at home, then it does not help anything thinking where you could have got the bugs from. The smart thing is to start thinking how you are going to get rid of them. Luckily, you will not be disappointed.
Look out for symptoms for bed bugs
Have you seen strange bite marks on your skin? Is there are an allergic reaction on your skin that you cannot explain? Are you spending an uncomfortable night, perhaps in the early hours of dawn? Then, even if you know nothing about bedbugs, you are most likely infested by the buggers. The first thing is to ascertain that indeed, you have bed bugs in the house. You can do that just by looking for symptoms of bedbugs. Are you hearing about the bed bug infestation for the first time? If yes, then you probably do not even know what symptoms to look for. Therefore, research is paramount. The more that you know about bedbugs, the easier that you can know when you are infested and so you can seek bed bugs treatment quickly. Look out for symptoms like:
- If you have bite marks on the skin, then you can start looking for bed bugs. Bites are the first tell tale signs of an infestation.
- Look for bed bug feces on the bed linen. Usually this fecal matter is just splotches of dark red, undigested blood. If you see such, know without doubt that you have the bugs at home.
- Look for the bug itself. It will be hard to miss this especially if your timing is right. You should know that they hate light and will scamper to dark places anytime that you uncover them. However, if you must ascertain that indeed you have bedbugs, just look for them in the linings of the bed linens.
- The bed bug will attack before dawn or in the early hours of dawn. It will attack the sleeping host and mostly, it will do this in the dark. Therefore, if you have been waking up itching and scratching in the early hours of dawn, you have the little critters in the house.
- If you are having trouble identifying whether you have bed bugs, then you can just call an expert to help you. Usually they will also advise you about the best products to use to get rid of the bed bugs from home.
- Look for information about bedbugs on the internet. You are not alone in this because studies carried out in New York and elsewhere show that this is a rising problem, where to some extent, some people cannot even switch off the lights at night. This has led to prolific research into the issue.
Do bed bugs cause diseases?
Now, this question is debatable. They may cause no disease directly, but then you will not have peace of mind knowing that you have bugs on your bed, waiting for you to fall asleep so they can feast on your blood. When they bite, they inject little saliva in the bite wounds. This saliva later causes an allergic reaction especially when the same place is bitten twice. Again, you will not have enough sleep and this will affect your productivity at work. They will make you stressed because when you do not sleep well, you become fatigued and cannot reason. The only remedy is to get rid of them as fast as you can.
Studies indicate that bedbugs are not carriers of any infections or disease. However, a bed bug bite can trigger allergic skin reactions such as, swelling and irritating. The victim does not feel the bite immediately, but the reaction sets in after a while. Certain people get skin infections and scars and there are cases when people have fallen sick and nauseous. Continuous exposure to bed bug bites can cause psychological stress, anxiety, tension, insomnia and fear among the patients. Children are at risk of developing anemia, digestive and nervous disorders. Rare cases also experience anaphylactic shock reaction because of bug bites.
You can get rid of the bed bugs yourself, or you can call experts to do it for you. They have several hiding places and it may not be easy to get rid of all of them with just one treatment. You need as many as you will be advised to give your home by the professionals. Note that the bugs may also be resistant to insecticide and therefore you need to know what is new in the market.
To ascertain whether you have bed bug infestation at home, you can use the bed bug monitors. They are many and you need to know more about them, even as you find out what are bed bugs