Bed Bug Control
Bed bugs, the tiny parasitic insects that feed exclusively on blood (usually human blood), get their name from their habitat preference.
They like to live in warm houses, in or near beds and bedding. They are mainly active at night and usually feed on their human hosts without being noticed.
Bed bug is the term used to refer to members of the cimicid insect family, particularly Cimex lictularius, the best known of the genus Cimex, which has a particular preference for the blood of humans.
Because bed bugs normally feed on humans without attracting attention, hosts may not be made aware of their presence for some time. In addition to bites, adverse symptoms include skin rashes, allergic symptoms and psychosomatic symptoms and diagnosis usually involves finding the offending insect in bedding together with the presence of physical symptoms.
Bed bugs have been a known parasite for centuries. They were almost completely eradicated in the Western world at one point in the 1940s, but their prevalence has increased in recent years, particularly since the mid 1990s.
Bed Bug Appearance and Feeding Habits
Adult bed bugs are light to reddish-brown in appearance and have a flattened oval-shaped body which is approximately 4-5 mm long.
They have no hind wings. After consuming a blood meal, the bug's translucent abdomen will be a bright red colour.
Though they resemble small cockroaches in appearance, their movements are more like ants. As with most true bugs, when crushed they emit a disagreeable odour.
Bed bugs are attracted to humans by carbon dioxide, warmth and various chemicals.
They like exposed skin, particularly the face, arms and neck of a sleeping individual. Under cool conditions, the adult bed bug can live for more than a year without feeding.
In warmer conditions, they will normally feed every five to ten days, but can actually survive for around five months without a meal of blood. Interestingly, for forensic purposes, DNA from meals of human blood can be recovered from bed bugs for up to three months.
Bed bugs enter semi-hibernation below temperatures of 16 °C, but can survive in this state below freezing. At temperatures above 45°C, however, they die.
Bed Bug Infestation
Bugs can spread through air ducts, false ceilings and other direct routes from adjacent buildings. You can also bring the bugs in yourself after visiting infested areas and transporting the little parasites on your clothes or luggage.
Wild animals, including birds and bats, also act as hosts and any birds or bats living in your attic are a potential source of infestation. The cause of the recent resurgence in bed bugs is unknown, but may be due to complacency, increased international travel and resistance of the bug to pesticides.
Bed Bug Symptoms
If you think you may have a bedbug problem call a professional pest controller urgently to stop them from quickly multiplying. Call us on: 0800 158 3885 or send us a quick message through our Quick Contact Form.
Bed Bug Detection
Bed bugs often hide in dark cracks and crevices and their small adhesive eggs, grouped in their hundreds, can be hidden in the seams of sheets and bed covers.
Bite symptoms are the first usual indication of their presence. Other tell-tale signs include small, dark droppings which are sand-like in appearance and normally occur close to their nests, smears of blood on bedding and moulted exoskeletons scattered around the area.
Once a habitat has been established, bed bugs like to congregate. Unlike other parasites, they actually spend just a small proportion of their life cycle on their hosts and once they have got their fill of human blood they retire to somewhere comfortable nearby until their next meal.
They particularly like bedding, couches and other soft furnishings, the lining of suitcases, electrical sockets, laptop computers and anywhere else that's warm.
They will cluster there with other adults, juveniles and eggs in what the experts call a 'harbourage'. Bed bug harbourages can be detected by their smell, which is somewhat similar to rotting raspberries — a smell which dogs used in bed-bug detection have been trained to follow.
Bed Bug Management
Over time, the bugs have developed a resistance to common pesticides. Mechanical approaches have been offered as an alternative and common steps include vacuuming up the insect harbourage, heat-treating bedding and wrapping mattresses.
In the interest of public health, you are encouraged to enlist the services of a professional and reputable service which deals with pest control, rather than attempt to get rid of the bugs yourself.
Because they do not groom, some pesticides which are used to kill other insects are ineffectual on bed bugs.
Cockroaches, spiders, ants, centipedes and mites are natural predators of the bed bug, but use of biological pest control is not practical in human dwellings.
The next time you say 'good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bits' and your little ones wake up with insect bites, investigate if the bed bugs have in fact bitten.
Our qualified and experienced pest control technicians and support staff will be able to help. With a network of over 20 local branches and a national advice helpline, there is always somebody close at hand to talk to.
Call us today on: 0800 158 3885 or fill in our Quick Contact Form.