Most people find bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) a most disagreeable houseguest. These parasites are usually no more than ¼ inch in length in their adult state and can engorge themselves with human blood in less than 15 minutes causing their bodies to fill to as much as three times its usual size. Fully engorged bed bugs bear little resemblance to their original state and are often thought to be a different insect altogether.
Bed bugs can lay between one and five eggs per day with an incubation period of 10 days in warm weather (slightly longer when cool). These newly hatched bed bugs will require five significant blood feedings to reach adult size. They will molt in between feedings by shedding their exoskeleton. One mature they will begin the process of laying new eggs.
Adult female bedbugs can lay more than 200 eggs during their lifetime and the new generation of bed bugs will immediately seek a blood meal and they might be looking at you through hungry compound eyes. When they are finished eating they leave tiny sores to remind you of their midnight binge.
There are other types of bed bugs including the bat bug, the chimney swift bug and the swallow bug. All of these relatives survive on blood feeding, however these secondary parasites thrive on either bats or birds as their primary victims.
Bed bugs feed on the blood of human beings but can suck blood from other animals as well. Birds and mice are the most common animals. Bed bugs most often feed at nightime when people are asleep. When they feed, they inject a salivary secretion into the wound to prevent coagulation. The fluid can cause a person’s skin to itch and even become swollen. Scratching can cause sores which often become infected. Bed bugs are not known to transmit any human blood-borne pathogens.
An adult bed bug is about 1/5-inch long, oval in shape and flat. They’re generally brown except after sucking blood. Their body then becomes swollen and the color changes to a dark red.
Bed bugs like to hide in the cracks and electical outlets in walls, behind wallpaper, base boards and picture frames, between beds and around the creases of mattresses and in bedding materials. They have a rather pungent odor which is caused by an oil-like liquid they emit. Bed bugs are often carried into houses by clothes, luggage, furniture, and bedding. Or sometimes even by humans.
Bed bugs seek harborage in cracks and crevices. Common harborages in hotel rooms and cruise ship cabins include: folds & creases in bed linens, seams, tufts & under buttons on mattresses, in drapery pleats & hems, beneath loose wallpaper, in headboards, desks, entertainment centers and nightstands, behind base molding in wall-mounted artwork, etc.
Using a flashlight carefully inspect for bed bugs. Search for crawling insects, blood spots, and excrement and/or cast skins. Confirm that suspected insects are bedbugs prior to treatment. Make efficient use of your time by combining inspection with vacuum cleaning. Use a canister vacuum with crevice attachment. Remove mounted artwork from walls. Inspect backside of artwork.
Working in conjunction with vacuum tool, brush and vacuum crevices to remove loose dust from artwork and mounting hardware. Using a brush in conjunction with vacuum’s crevice tool to remove dust, cast skin cases loose and bed bugs from cracks and crevices.
Bed Bug Bites
The words "bed bugs" are enough to send most of us running with skin all aquiver at the thought of little blood-sucking creatures crawling all over us as we sleep. These little bugs are pests, to be sure, and they can be difficult to get rid of once they have decided to make your house their home, hiding during the daylight hours in cracks and crevasses where they are almost impossible to excise.
Because of this, you may not realize right away that bed bugs are the source of the annoying sores on your legs when you wake up in the mornings. Bed bugs are attracted by both warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide, which is what we exhale in breathing. The bugs climb up onto your skin and pierce you with two hollow tubes, one of which injects anti-coagulants and anesthetics. The other tube is used to withdraw your blood, feeding for about five minutes before returning to their hiding places.
There may be a cluster of bites instead of singular ones when you awake, and this is typically caused by disturbing the bugs while they feed, causing them to detach and return to feed momentarily. A well fed bedbug can live anywhere from four to six months, while a dormant one might live without feeding for up to 18 months.
The bites can be found just about anywhere on your body, with exposed bits of skin being the preferred feeding ground for the bugs, making your face a target along with arms and legs. The bits cannot be felt at first, but as the anesthetics wear off and the skin begins to react to the injections, the bites can make themselves felt minutes or even hours after the bedbugs have returned to hiding.
If you have bedbugs, your infestation can get worse very quickly since a female bedbug can lay up to five eggs per day, and up to around 500 eggs in her lifetime. Since it takes only five weeks for hatched nymphs to grow to maturity, your problems could expand exponentially within a relatively short period of time, and infestations can be hard to control.
Home remedy for treating bed bug bites
We recommend calling your doctor, especially if you suspect your bites are infected. If you’re not sure, call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately!
Suggestions for home treatment:
- Step 1: Wash skin with soap and hot water.
- Step 2: Liberally apply an anesthetic cream or lotion
- Step 3: Apply ice to avoid swelling/welting
- Repeat every 6-8 hours until symptoms subside.
The History of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs have been around for centuries. Documentation reaching as far back as the 17th century has told about infestations of bed bugs. In the United States, bed bugs were very common until about World War II. With the introduction of such pesticides as DDT, a great decrease in infestations occurred. It was not until the last decade that reported cases gave an indication of a possible rise in bed bug infestations.
Authorities believe that the rise in reports can be attributed to the extermination tactics of pest control today. Today, many pest control experts use baiting tactics for in home infestations of such things as ants, roaches, and spiders. These baiting tactics work well for their intended subjects, but since bed bugs are blood feeders, they do not fall for the baiting tricks used. This change in exterminating technique has contributed to the rise in reported bed bug infestations. More on the history of bed bugs.
Identifying a bed bug
Adult bed bugs are generally flattened and reddish brown in color. They resemble apple seeds in appearance and size. Newly hatched nymphs look very much like adults. Although they are almost colorless, they gain their reddish brown color as they mature. The adult bed bug may lay up to 5 eggs daily. These eggs are almost impossible for humans to see with the naked eye, and resemble a flake of dust on a dark surface.
Knowledge is Power
When you learn that children have become anemic due to multiple and ongoing feedings by bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) , you begin to understand that a combination of defensive options may be in the best interest of your family.
Good sanitation and hygiene habits will help prevent the infestation of bed bugs. The entire room or house should be searched and inspected frequently for indications of bed bugs infestation. This will aid in preventing a severe bed bug infestation. Be sure to use a pro-quality bed bug spray for frequent treatment in any hotels, motels, personal dwellings and anywhere bed bugs are a potential problem.
How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
First, a quick look at the facts:
- Bed bugs are small bloodsucking insects that feed on humans & other warm-blooded animals.
- Bed Bugs often hide in mattresses but they can also survive in furniture, behind wall coverings and pictures/paintings. They will crawl and nest inside tiny crevices anywhere indoors, as long as there is a source of food (blood).
- While bed bugs do not transmit any pathogens or diseases, their bites usually result in swollen red, itchy welts.
- Bed bugs are typically nocturnal insects (they creep about at nightime).
- There are other types of bed bugs including the bat bug, the chimney swift bug and the swallow bug. All of these relatives survive on blood feeding, however these secondary parasites thrive on either bats or birds as their primary victims.
- Small reddish or brownish spots on one’s linens are often the first sign of an infestation. These spots are the bed bug’s droppings. Another sign is swelling where you’ve been bitten.
- Bed bugs are not necessarily a sign of unkempt/dirty homes or buildings.
- A female bed bug can lay as many as 500 eggs during her lifetime.
- Bed bugs are less than 1/4? in length, flat, and oval-shaped like; a bit like a sunflower seed.
- Bed bugs can go up to a year without a blood meal
- A bed bug’s saliva features an anesthetic to numb the pain as it’s biting. It also contains anti-coagulant to keep the blood of it’s meal host flowing.
Furniture that is inspected should be inspected thoroughly. Remove pull out drawers and inspect any and all small creases and openings.
Taking apart furniture is often advised you want to get at the source of the bed bugs infestation. Doing this in a garage or outdoors is preferred if possible.
The covering on the bottom a box spring bed should be taken off for inspection and treatment measures. If the infestation is severe, you may want to dispose of the mattress.
Bed bugs are many times also found underneath the edges carpets, where ceilings and walls meet, behind light switch covers and outlets, in clothes, inside appliances, and behind baseboards and carpet stays.
If possible, it is usually recommended that you hire a professional pest control company. They will know where and how to look for bed bug infestations and will have the equipment required to remove the critters. Homeowners should get rid of any clutter (boxes, clothing, papers and junk) in order to help the process.
It often takes a professional 4-6 hours to do a thorough inspection and initial treatment. Please be advised that additional inspections and treatments are usually necessary.
Bed bugs infested bedding materials and cloths will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Take them to a laundry mat if you don’t want to bed bugs in your washer and dryer. But never use insecticides on materials that would come in contact with your body. Also, if you have pets, be sure to understand the possible affects chemicals may have on them.
A thorough vacuuming effectively removes both bed bugs and their eggs from mattresses, walls, and carpeting. Special attention should be given to creases and crevices. Be sure to get rid of the vacuum bag/contents in a sealed garbage bag. A professional hot water carpet extraction is also recommended if possible.
Bed Bugs Lawsuits
The idea of sharing a bed with bed bugs can make anyone feel queasy. After all, when one is totally unaware of being bitten (bed bugs’ saliva has an anesthetic effect), and then awakens with welts on their body, it’s pretty shocking. What’s even worse is when that person believes they are sleeping in fairly clean surroundings-such as hotel chain whose rooms aren’t cheap, or on an expensive cruise liner. The majority of individuals who may encounter bed bugs in lodgings are satisfied to receive a refund and another room-without bed bugs. But ever since a lawsuit involving bed bugs was publicized over two years ago, insurance companies have seen a glut of bedbug-related claims, and lawyers are receiving calls almost daily from people reporting physical, emotional, and mental harm from bed bugs. Consequently, those victims want to sue someone. More Bed Bugs Lawsuits Information.
There are a number of things you can do to stop the itching.
- Apply a calamine lotion to each bed bug bite of area of bites.
- Do not scratch the bed bugs bites. Everyone will react differently to bed bug bites. Some people may not even notice them. Others will have a very intense itching sensation. Scratching only makes the itching worse and can actually cause an infection.
- REMOVE THE BED BUGS! Wash or dispose of all of your bedding materials and call an exterminator. Do not attempt to apply an insecticide yourself. Some chemicals, if not applied properly, can actually cause more problems than the bed bugs do.
Bed bugs dangers
When a bed bug bites it injects an anti-blood clotting chemical into the skin. Some people may actually be allergic to bed bugs and the degree of itching is determined by how allergic a person is. If you notice any signs of infection, call your physician IMMEDIATELY. Scratching the bites can also result in an infection. If you do not get an infection, the bites are simply an irritating nuisance. It may take a few weeks for the itching to subside and for the welts to disappear. BED BUGS DO NOT CARRY PATHOGENS as mosquitoes or ticks do!