Although bed bugs are not known to spread disease, they do bite and draw blood. Bed bugs can cause several adverse health effects that include skin rashes, allergic reactions, infections, psychological distress, and economic consequences.
Once bed bugs infest your home, they can become a difficult pest to control and infestations can be very time-consuming to eliminate.
Bed bugs are small oval-shaped insects and are reddish-brown in colour and about 4 mm -5 mm in length before feeding. Bed bugs are wingless and have flat bodies that allow them to hide in cracks and crevices easily. Blood is the sole food source of bed bugs. Preferring human blood, bed bugs have also been known to feed on birds and other animals. Bed bugs don’t fly but can crawl rapidly over surfaces like floors, ceilings, and walls making it easy for them to travel from one place to another hitching a ride on upholstered furniture, backpacks, and luggage.
Adult bed bugs have a flat, oval-shaped body, wingless, and measure approximately 4 mm to 5 mm in length. Their colour varies from red to brown and they are similar in size to an apple seed.
Nymphs (baby bed bugs) are 2.5 mm in length, translucent and difficult to see until they feed for the first time. As nymphs mature into adults, they molt and take on the typical reddish-brown colour of bed bugs.
Bed bug eggs are off-white, about the size of a grain of salt, and often overlooked as they hide in cracks and crevices.
Bed bugs are nocturnal parasitic insects that hide during the day most commonly in bedrooms around beds, bed frames, and end tables.
Bed bugs can also be found in linens, bed frames, headboards, nightstands, dressers, tables, chairs, carpets, and baseboards.
Bed bugs feed when we are in our deepest rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. They instinctively know when we are in a deep sleep, and this helps guarantee an undisturbed feeding. For someone working nights that sleeps during the day, the bed bugs will shift their feeding to daytime. Or a person taking a midday nap or spending long hours sleeping in a lounger may also get bitten.
A female bed bug will lay hundreds of eggs throughout her lifetime. The eggs are very small, only about 1 mm in length, and she can lay up to five eggs a day and as many as 300-500 eggs in her lifetime.
Female bed bugs will produce a clear, sticky substance to attach each egg to the chosen surface, favoring cracks and crevices or rough surfaces.
Depending on the conditions, the eggs will hatch between 7 to 12 days. A nymph will go through five stages before full maturity—each stage requiring a blood-feeding, which takes approximately four weeks.
Depending on the environmental condition and food source availability, bed bugs can live from months to years.
Interesting Facts about Bedbugs
Are bed bugs a new pest?
No, bed bugs have been around for thousands of years, but their populations were severely depleted in the 1940s with control products like DDT.
The epidemic resurgence of bed bugs in recent years has been caused by a lack of effective control products, increased international travel, and several other factors including a general lack of awareness among the public.
Another contributing factor is that most strains of modern bed bugs are highly resistant to available control products, making them difficult to eliminate.
How did I get bed bugs?
Travel is the most common cause of bed bug infestations. Bed bugs will hitchhike onto traveler's bags and clothing and brought home.
Bed bugs can also be introduced into a home if used furniture or mattresses are brought in. They can travel unit-to-unit in multi-unit occupancy properties.
Are bed bugs difficult to control?
Yes. Traditional pesticide products have limited effects on modern bed bugs. These days, control involves a high level of professional training that also requires a combination of steaming, vacuuming, spraying, and a dusting of key areas—a very time-consuming process. But done correctly control of bed bugs is highly effective.
Do advertised bed bug sprays work?
Spraying for bed bugs will not kill them as most strains of bed bugs have become highly resistant to some pesticides, but it will spread the problem as it may cause them to disperse away from the bed to new hiding areas.
Bedbug prevention and control
How to Keep Bed Bugs from Entering Your Home
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