Bed bugs are blood sucking insects in the family Cimicidae. Both nymphs and adults feed on humans mostly at night, a time when it is difficult to detect their stealthy habits. Until recently, bed bug infestations were thought to be associated primarily with crowded and dilapidated housing. However, such infestations have undergone a resurgence and can be found even in the finest hotel and living accommodations. The reasons for the increased activity and spreading worldwide at a faster rate are not totally understood. However, it would appear to involve increased human travel, ease of movement of infested luggage and items, and changes in the pesticides available to control this pest.
Adult bed bugs are oval, wingless, about 1/5 inch long, and rusty red or mahogany. Their bodies are flattened, they have well-developed antennae, their compound eyes are small, and the area behind the head (the prothorax) expands forward on either side of the head. The immatures appear identical to the adults except for their smaller size, thinner outer skeleton (cuticle), and lighter, yellowish-white color.
Female bed bugs lay 200 to 500 tiny, white eggs in batches of 10 to 50 on rough surfaces such as wood or paper. Glue-like material covers the eggs, which hatch in about 10 days. After hatching occurs, the eggshells frequently remain stuck in place.
Bed bugs feed on humans, usually at night when they are asleep. They feed by piercing the skin with their elongated mouthparts, which consist of two stylets that normally fold under their body when at rest but fully extend during blood-meal feeding. One stylet has a groove that carries saliva into the wound, while the other has a groove through which body fluids from the host are taken in.
Distinguishing bed bug bites from the bites of other arthropods such as mosquitoes, fleas, and spiders is difficult. People often confuse itching bed bug welts for mosquito bites. The only way you really can confirm bed bugs are the cause is to find the bugs in your bed or bedroom. Often people are bitten when traveling, making diagnosis even more difficult.In addition to the direct injury to humans, bed bugs have stink glands that leave odors. They also leave unsightly fecal spots on bed sheets and around their hiding places.
The latest information is coming to our website very soon!Stay Tuned! They are here to stay...A single feeding may take up to 10 minutes, and feels like a pin prick, but because feeding usually occurs at night when people are asleep they are not aware they have been bitten until afterwards. However, saliva injected during the feeding can later produce large swellings on the skin that itch and may become irritated and infected when scratched. Swelling may not develop until a day or more after feeding, and some people do not show symptoms. Bed bugs currently are not considered to be disease carriers.These spots are darkish red in color, roughly round, and can be very small.
You can detect a bed bug infestation by searching for the pests or their fecal spots, egg cases, and shed skins (exuviae). Current research reports more than 85% of bed bugs are found in or near the bed, so inspections for infestations should focus on the mattress, bed frame, and headboard areas. Lift the mattress and inspect all seams and surfaces as well as the box springs. You may need to dismantle the bed. Use a flashlight to aid the inspection process.
How to Detect the bugs
Remember, these nocturnal insects are small. Although you can see adults and aggregations of nymphs with the unaided eye, seeing the eggs requires a hand-magnifying lens. It may be easier to detect dark spots of dried bed bug excrement or the insects’ light-colored shed skins. A foul, rotting, bloody-meat smell might be present in heavily infested areas.
In addition to the bed area, the remaining 15% of infestations usually are in upholstered furniture other than beds, in bedroom cabinets, along baseboards, under wallpaper, and in carpets, wall hangings and similar hiding spots. Bed bugs prefer fabric or wood surfaces to metal or plastic. For heavy infestations, adjoining rooms, filing areas, and clutter can be out-of-way shelters. It takes patience and perseverance to find low-level infestations of such a persistent, nagging problem.
Are Do-It-Yourself Treatments good?
"Although over-the-counter pesticide products that have “bed bug control” written on the label can be found on store shelves, they generally are not recommended. Performance of these products under actual field conditions is not known. If you need to use a pesticide, you are better off hiring a licensed, professional pesticide applicator with experience in treating bed bugs."
- University of California
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