Bed Bug Knowledgebase

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Importance of Bed Bug Education

Bed bugs are back and with a vengeance!

We all know what ants, fleas, flies, ticks, termites, mosquitoes, and cockroaches are because they are common everyday pests but did you know that bed bugs are now being added to the list?

Don’t let the Bed Bugs Bite” is no longer the nursery rhyme we remember from years ago.

It’s time to learn about bed bugs.

 

Why are bed bugs back after being gone for so long?

  • International travel – Many more people travel nowadays to and from areas where bed bugs are on the rise spreading them everywhere!
  • They have developed resistance to commonly used pesticides
  • A large percentage of people show no allergic reaction to the bites
  • Bed bugs are great at hiding and people tend not to notice them
  • A whole generation of pest control operators that have never encountered or seen a bed bug
  • Lack of society education

Bed bug education…learn about bed bugs!

The earliest historical citations of bed bugs go back to 423 B.C. In the United States, bed bugs were thought to come over with the first explorers and were quite a problem until the first major advance in bed bug control was introduced in the late 1930’s – Chlorinated Hydrocarbon / known as DDT.

Prior to the 1950’s bed bugs were as common as an ant in many households throughout the United States. They were named after their preferred habitat in mattresses, couches, easy chairs and other soft furnishings where people relax.

Years ago DDT, Chlordane and Lindane (now restricted chemicals) were used for elimination of bed bugs. We got a break for 40-50 years until the late 90’s where they started to rear their ugly heads once again in hotels, apartment complexes, businesses and homes throughout many countries.

As the years continue to pass, the numbers of new sightings and the severity of bed bug infestations are continuing to grow throughout the world. Because of this, learning about bed bugs will have to be ongoing process until we all realize this is an insect we will be living with for a while.

Known for their “elusive and hitchhiking behavior”, until all living humans understand what they are, how to know if they have them, what to do if they have them and how to avoid them, they will continue to be the challenge they are today.

 

How to Identify Bed Bugs

It is very important to be able to distinguish bed bugs from other insects, since treatment options and costs may be very different, but people often mistake other bugs for bed bugs.

Adult bed bugs can be easily seen with the naked eye. They are reddish-brown in color and are approximately ¼ inch in length. Although they can move swiftly across horizontal and vertical surfaces, they don’t fly or jump. Unfed bed bugs resemble small flat disks, but after consuming blood they grow approximately 3 to 4 times larger. When fully fed, they are shaped like a torpedo with an elongated, brightly colored trunk. As their digestion progresses, their color darkens and their shape flattens out until their next blood meal.

A female bed bug can lay a few hundred eggs in her lifetime, but these are not deposited all at once; regular feeding and mating are required. Depending on temperature and other conditions, eggs hatch 3 to 10 or more days after being laid.

Eggs

Nymphs

Adult Bed Bug

Cast Skins

Blood Stains

Fecal Spots

The Physical Signs of Bed Bugs

Although bites can be a strong indication of bed bugs, they are not the best way to conclusively identify whether you have bed bugs. Bed bugs leave other signs that must be found to determine whether you have an infestation. Finding a live bed bug is best, but because of their amazing ability to hide, this may not always be possible. When inspecting for bed bugs, keep a look out for these other signs:

 Fecal Stains (Poop) – Bed bugs leave fecal (poop) droppings and stains. The larger the infestation, the more stains and droppings you’ll find. They appear as tiny “ink dots,” such as from a black marker or pen, and can be found just about anywhere. On surfaces that are impervious to moisture, such as tile, the droppings may bead up on the surface.

 Cast Skins – When bed bugs grow out of their skins, they leave the old ones behind. These normally look like paper-thin, opaque duplications of bed bugs. Depending on how long you’ve had an infestation, you may find different sizes of skin casts, since each growth stage before maturity is slightly larger than the previous one.

 Blood Spots – In addition to bite marks, you may find rusty-colored blood spots on your sheets, furniture, and surrounding walls.

 Peculiar Odor – You may notice a peculiar, rusty sort of odor. It comes from the bed bugs’ defecated blood and the oxidized iron in the digested blood. Odors are usually associated with bigger and longer bed bug infestations. However, like any scent, if you regularly spend time in the room you may become accustomed to the smell and not notice it.

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