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Bed Bug Facts, Biology, and Preparations for Treatment

 

Description and Habits Bed bugs are small, brownish, flattened insects that feed solely on the blood of

animals. The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, is the species most adapted to living with humans.

It has done so since ancient times.Adult bed bugs are about 1/4 inch long and reddish brown, with oval,

flattened bodies. The immature bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and somewhat

lighter in color. Bed bugs do not fly, but can move quickly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces.

Female bed bugs lay their eggs in secluded areas, depositing up to five a day and 500 during a lifetime.

The eggs are tiny, whitish, and hard to see without magnification (individual eggs are about the size of a dust spec). When first laid, the eggs are sticky, causing them to adhere to surfaces. Newly hatched nymphs are no bigger than a pinhead. As they grow, they molt (shed their skin) five times before reaching maturity. A blood meal is needed between each successive molt.Under favorable conditions (70 - 90° F), the bugs can complete development in as little as a month, producing three or more generations per year. Cool temperatures or limited access to a blood meal extends the development time. Bed bugs are very resilient. Nymphs can survive months without feeding and the adults can survive for more than a year without food. Infestations, therefore, are unlikely to diminish by leaving premises unoccupied. Although Bed Bugs prefer feeding on humans, they will also bite other warm-blooded animals, including pets.Bed bugs are active mainly at night. During the daytime, they prefer to hide close to where people sleep. Their flattened bodies enable them to fit into tiny crevices - especially those associated with mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. Bed bugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but do tend to congregate in habitual hiding places.Bed bug infestations are characteristically marked by dark spotting and staining, which is the dried excrement of the bugs. Also present will be eggs, eggshells, molted skins, of maturing nymphs, and the bugs themselves.Another likely sign of bed bugs is rusty or reddish spots of blood on bed sheets or mattresses. Heavy infestations are sometimes accompanied by a "buggy" or sweetish odor, although such smells are not always apparent.Bed bugs prefer to hide close to where they feed. However if necessary, they will crawl more than 100 feet to obtain a blood meal. Initial infestations tend to be around beds, but the bugs eventually may become scattered throughout a room, occupying any crevice or protected location. They also can spread to adjacent rooms or apartments take a look at    Bed Bug Hiding Places

Bed bug control Devon & Cornwall

Bites and Health Concerns

 

Bed bugs usually bite people at night while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin with an elongated beak through which they withdraw blood. Engorgement takes about three to 10 minutes, yet the person seldom knows they are being bitten. Symptoms thereafter vary with the individual. Some people develop an itchy welt or localized swelling, while others have little or no reaction. Unlike fleabites that occur mainly around the ankles, bed bugs feed on any bare skin exposed while sleeping (face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, etc.). The welts and itching are often attributed to other causes such as mosquitoes. For these reasons, infestations may go a long time unnoticed, and can become quite large before being detected.A common concern with bed bugs is whether they transmit diseases. Although bed bugs can harbor pathogens in their bodies, transmission to humans is considered highly unlikely. For this reason, they are not considered a serious disease threat. Their medical significance is mainly limited to the itching and inflammation from their bites. The usual treatment prescribed is topical application of antiseptic or antibiotic creams or lotions to prevent infection.

 

How Infestations Start

 

It often seems that bed bugs arise from nowhere. The bugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually brought in on luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, etc. Outbreaks can often be traced to international travel from countries where the bugs are common, such as Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, or Central/South America. This is a particular problem for hotels, motels, and apartments, where turnover of occupants is                                                                            constant. Bed bugs are small, cryptic and agile, escaping detection after crawling into suitcases, boxes,                                                                        and belongings. The eggs are almost impossible to see when laid on most surfaces. Purchase or rental of                                                                    secondhand mattresses, box springs, and furniture is another way that the bugs are transported into                                                                          previously non-infested dwellings.Once bed bugs are introduced, they often spread from room to room                                                                      throughout a building. Unlike cockroaches that feed on filth, the level of cleanliness has little to do with                                                                      most bed bug infestations. Pristine homes, hotels, and apartments have plenty of hiding places and an                                                                      abundance of warm-blooded hosts. Thus, they are almost as vulnerable to infestation as are places of                                                                        squalor.Bed bugs are challenging pests to control. They hide in many tiny places, so inspections and                                                                            treatments must be thorough. The challenge is to find and treat all places where bugs and eggs may be                                                                      present. Bed bugs tend to congregate in certain areas, but it is common to find an individual or some eggs scattered here and there.

 

Preparing for Bed Bug Treatment

 

Bed Bugs are tough to control. They hide in many places such as beds, closets, furniture, behind pictures, in tiny cracks in the wall, baseboards, and more. A young bed bug can fit in a crack the width of a piece of paper. So inspections and treatments must be done thoroughly and by a skilled professional. Pest Management Professionals need the cooperation of the customer to effectively control this pest. Before a licensed technician can treat a home for Bed Bugs, the client must:Organize any Clutter in bedroom and living room areas such asBoxes, news papers, shoes, luggage, etc. Throw out items that you don't need. Leave the remaining items in the middle of the room for treatment.Remove all linens from beds couches, sofas, windows etc. andalong with all the clothing, launder all items in Hot water and dry thoroughly, and then store in fresh plastic garbage bags tied tightly.(Try to leave as much in these bags after treatment until 2 weeks of no activity has occurred, this will save you the trouble of redoing these preparations if we need to return for the free second visit.) ( Also, clothing items that are clean can be put in the dryer for 1 hour eliminating the cleaning process)Take down all picture frames or hanging items and lean them upagainst the walls for treatment. Leave down 24 Hours and then put back. Move all furniture one foot away from walls; empty each piece offurniture in bedroom and living rooms as well as all closets. ( In rare occurrences, some items may need to be discarded, which would be determined at time of service) Vacuum any and all carpeting and sofas and throw vacuum bags outimmediately. Any visitor, traveler or furniture can reintroduce bed bugs toa structure and pose the possibility of re- infestation if not addressed or avoided.

Heat Treatments Kill Bed Bugs

Pesticide-based indoor bed bug control methods raise concern over the safety of occupants. Our affordable heat treatment systems offer you the ability to perform bed bug control work without relying on toxic chemical residues. Heat can be used to kill every type of bed bug and their eggs. Additionally heat can kill bacteria and viruses.

Read more on heat treatment 

 Bed bug control Devon & Cornwall 

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