Bedbugs

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed on the human and animal blood. They are wingless, about 1mm to 5mm, reddish-brown in colour and turns to dark brown after feeding. The name “bed bug” is derived from the insect’s preferred habitat of houses and especially beds or other areas where people sleep.  Bed bugs, though not strictly nocturnal, are mainly active at night and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts. They are usually found in bedrooms and feed at night while people are sleeping. After feeding they hide in cracks and crevices and dark areas around the room.

Bed Bug bite signs and symptoms

Bed bug bites are often mistaken for mosquito bites or bites from other insects, and some people show no reaction at all to bed bug bites. So, it is no wonder they go undetected for long periods. But for those who do, bite marks may appear within minutes or days, usually where skin is exposed during sleep. The sign may vary from small flat (macular) spots to big blisters along with intense itching that may last several days. Their bites can result in a number of health impacts including skin rashes, psychological effects like anxiety, stress or difficulty sleeping, and allergic symptoms.  In some people bed bug bites may lead to skin changes ranging from small areas of redness to prominent blisters.

Typical bed bug bite on uncovered areas of the body often has three bites in a row colloquially referred to as “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” and rarely feed in the armpit or behind the knee which may help differentiate it from other biting insects.

Check for these signs of symptoms of a bed bug bite:

  • Raised, red welts
  • Burning and itching
  • Bed bug bite rash across localized area
  • Straight lines of multiple bites

 

Health effects of bed bug bites

Bed bug bites can be very itchy and irritating. Most bites heal in a few days but in unusual cases, the itchiness may persist for several weeks. Usually an anti-itching ointment will help, but if bites become infected, people should see their doctor.

 

Bed Bug harbourage areas

Bed bugs from all five stages of development group together, which means they may vary in shapes and sizes. Among these groups, remains of exoskeletons (bed bug shells), faeces and egg castings accumulate.

  • Bed bugs tend to congregate near beds or couches in clusters where their host (human) sleeps, creating aggregations.
  • They can also be found in clusters in luggage, inside of vehicles, within furniture, among bedside clutter even inside electrical sockets and nearby laptop computers, wood framing like that around a closet door, inside chipped paint indentions, around baseboards, curtain rods, air conditioners and personal belongings

 

How do I know if I have got bed bug infestation in my house?

Other than the human bites the other bed bug infestation signs (or physical evidence) include:

  • A characteristic smell of rotting raspberries or sweet musty odour
  • Faecal spots or droppings and eggs in several locations including mattress seams and tufts, sheets, pillowcases, and upholstered furniture
  • Adults and juveniles in the fold of mattresses and sheets
  • Blood stains on your sheets and pyjamas
  • Cast/shed bed bug skins, exoskeletons, or bed bug shells in or around harbourage areas,

 

Bed bug infestation signs

Where do they come from?

Bed bugs are spread by crawling between nearby locations or by being carried within personal items in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.

Some of the main sources of bed bug infestation are:

  • Adults and eggs brought in from other infested dwellings on a visiting person’s clothing or luggage
  • Bed bugs can move from one site to the next by traveling on luggage, clothing, bedding, boxes and furniture.
  • Proximity of infested dwellings or items, if easy routes are available for travel, e.g. through connecting pipes and wiring.
  • People visiting an infested area (e.g. dwelling, means of transport, entertainment venue, or lodging) and carrying the bugs to another area on their clothing, luggage, or bodies.
  • Though bed bugs will opportunistically feed on pets, they do not live or travel on the skin of their hosts, and pets are not believed to be a factor in their spread

How Fast do Bed Bugs Spread in the house?

Every day, bed bugs can lay between one and 12 eggs, and anywhere from 200 and 500 eggs in a lifetime. It doesn’t take them long to multiply into large populations and the situation can grow out of control, so the sooner you inspect and treat your house, the better off you’ll be.

 

How to inspect for Bed Bug Infestation?

Adult bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye. Look for the adult bed bugs or their droppings or cast skin around

  • Headboards
  • Bedside tables
  • Ceiling/wall junctions
  • Loose wallpaper or panelling
  • Wherever you find a crease or crevice near where a person sleep. This includes baseboards, mattress seams and personal belongings

 

Getting rid of Bed Bugs

Early detection and treatment are critical to successful control. The most commonly infested places are the mattress, box spring as well as nearby carpets, couches and baseboards. Female bed bugs lay eggs in batches of 10 to 50 which are white in colour and attached with any surface like a thin glue. Their eggs can remain undeveloped up to one year and then hatch in the proper environment. The adults can survive up to a year without feed. Thus, it becomes difficult to exterminate bedbugs quickly and permanently. Following techniques can help prevent and control bed bug infestations in homes.

Prevention

  • The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.
  • Never bring bed frames, mattresses, box springs or upholstered furniture found on the street into your home.
  • Check all used or rented furniture for bed bugs.
  • When traveling, inspect the bed and furniture. Keep suitcases off the floor and bed and inspect them before you leave.
  • If you suspect you have been around bed bugs, immediately wash and dry your clothing on hot settings or store it in a sealed plastic bag until you can.
  • Seal cracks and crevices with caulk, even if you do not have bed bugs. This will help prevent bed bugs and other pests from coming in
  • Mechanical approaches, such as vacuuming up the insects and heat-treating or wrapping mattresses, are effective.
  • Vacuum the bed, frame, headboard, and surrounding areas frequently. Use a stiff brush to release eggs from the mattress, especially around corners. Remove the vacuum bag outdoors. Place it in a plastic bag and put it in an outdoor trash can.
  • Get a mattress cover that is designed for bed bug control. They have a tight weave that does not allow the bed bugs to bite while you are sleeping or escape from the casing. Keep the casing on the mattress and box spring for up to a year because bed bugs can live a long time.

 

Treatment

Hawkeye Spider and Insect Spray is effective in controlling bed bug infestations. Please read instructions carefully and apply the product with an appropriate sprayer.

 

Interesting facts about Bed Bugs

  • Bed bug eggs can remain undeveloped up to one year in unfavourable environment and then hatch once the viable conditions are met.
  • Adult bed bugs can survive up to a year without feed.

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