Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are one of the worst offenders when it comes to pest infestations. They can crop up anywhere, from rural to urban settlement, resulting in very itchy sheets wherever they reside.

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

What Are Bed Bugs?

Adult bed bugs measure approximately 5mm in length, oval, reddish brown, and wingless. Their body is very flat, and they possess long, slender legs and antennae. They have a long segmented beak that extends forward when the bug takes a blood meal.

Bed bugs require blood in order to reproduce and complete their life cycle, and it only takes one full blood meal for their nymphs to move on to the next stage of their five-stage development. It is also worth noting that bed bugs can survive many months without feeding

Naturally, their reproduction plays a significant part in the scale and rate of infestation. After “traumatic insemination” bed bugs will lay their eggs on surfaces, which can be transported passively onto other materials, luggage and so on. In this same way, the bed bugs themselves (who cannot fly) can be moved.

This is one of the most efficient ways for the population, and, therefore, for the infestation to spread. In fact, bed bugs will travel anything between five and twenty feet to find a host on which to feed. And being nocturnal feeders, sleeping humans make easy meals, but they will also feed on other mammals, birds and rodents.

Typical Signs You Have Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs are found in virtually every place people tend to gather, including homes, hotels, schools, offices, retail stores and even public transportation; they travel easily and are transported via luggage, clothing, bedding and furniture. This is because bed bugs can be brought home through your luggage, clothes, bags etc. and by carrying just a single surviving female bed bug home, it can spell disaster.

If you have a bed bug infestation, it is best to find it early, before the infestation becomes established or spreads. Treating a minor infestation, while an inconvenience, is far less costly and easier than treating the same infestation after it becomes more widespread.

To identify a possible infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for:

BITES

Bed bugs prefer to bite exposed skin, so your arms, shoulders, neck, face, the bottom of your legs, and any other areas that aren’t covered by blanket or wearing are their easiest targets. Bites typically come in clusters and sometimes there can be a distinct zigzag pattern. The bite itself isn’t painful, but you can experience itchiness, redness, and swelling once your skin reacts to the bite.

DROPPINGS (SMALL DARK SPOTS)

Since bed bugs feed on blood, this means their droppings are dark and have a similar appearance to coffee grounds. If you poke it with your finger, you may even be able to smear old blood. Bed bugs don’t like to travel far from their food source, so you’ll most likely find their droppings on your sheets, pillowcases, bed frame, nightstand, and any other furniture that’s close to your bed.

EGGSHELLS AND OTHER BODY PARTS

The bed bug life cycle involves the nymph shedding many shells as they continue to grow. Bugs have exoskeletons, which means the shells they moult look the same as a live bed bug. Bed bugs and bed bug shells are reddish-brown, round, and around 4 mm long. Bed bugs have a shape, colour, and size that’s similar to an apple seed, which can make identifying them and their shells easier.

LIVE BED BUGS

When not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places. Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard. If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs:

  • In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains.
  • In drawer joints.
  • In electrical receptacles and appliances.
  • Under loose wall paper and wall hangings.
  • At the junction where the wall and the ceiling meet.
  • Even in the head of a screw.

Since bed bugs are only about the width of a credit card, they can squeeze into really small hiding spots. If a crack will hold a credit card, it could hide a bed bug.

Other unpleasant effects of a bed bug infestation include the distinctive, musty, almond-like smell emitted by the insects, as well as the speckled excrement they leave. However, these same things are a good indication as to whether or not you have an infestation.

BE A FREQUENT TRAVELLER OR YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO’S HAD AN INFESTATION

Bed bugs won’t invade your home unless you travel or know someone who’s had bed bugs, you can help prevent an infestation by being cautious. Now that you know where bed bugs like to hide, you should start getting into the habit of inspecting your hotel rooms whenever you travel. Whether you’re staying in an old motel or a luxurious 5-star resort, any room can have bed bugs.

If you do find bed bugs in the room, your luggage could now be a transportation vessel. This means you should never bring your luggage inside your home once you return. If you can’t discard some belongings, you’ll have to unpack outside, inspect carefully, and sanitize as best as you can. Washing your clothes in hot water with detergent then drying on your hottest setting should be enough to kill any hitchhikers.

Solutions To Bed Bugs

Off-the-shelf DIY solutions may look more affordable at first glance, but incorrect application may cause the infestation to worsen, and cost you even more time and money to exterminate later on.

Bed bugs can be very difficult to eliminate, therefore consultation with an experienced pest control professional is recommended.

This not only saves you precious time and effort, it also gives you priceless peace of mind knowing that it is less likely for bed bugs to return to your home or workplace.

INSPECTION AND FLUSHING OUT

Successful control depends on finding every crack or void where the insects are harbouring and removal of the bugs by vacuuming or treatment of the harbourage with an appropriate product. Overlooking even the smallest crack in furniture may lead to a persistent infestation, therefore beds, nightstands and related furniture often require disassembly and careful inspection. Carpets may need to be gently lifted along the edge and the space beneath treated. Baseboards, door and window frames, and any visible crack will require treatment in infested rooms. Should furniture be moved from an infested unit to another unit, it should be carefully inspected and cleaned or treated as necessary to prevent the spread of bed bugs to the new room. Residual chemicals and space dispersion techniques are used to treat the infected space effectively. Treated surface stay effective for a period of 2 weeks before breaking down naturally. A follow-up visit to ensure extermination.

Non-chemical treatment using only heat techniques to kill bed bugs is available for any concerns of sensitive skins and allergies.

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING PRACTICE

Good housekeeping practices is important to help protect your premises against bed bugs infestation if it happens. This will make it easier for to track them down.

HAVING TROUBLES WITH BED BUGS?

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