Identifying Bed Bugs
BEDBUGS – LITTLE VAMPIRES OF THE INSECT WORLD have invaded homes even five star hotels with a vengeance and at lightning speed. These grisly little bugs only come out at night searching for a blood meal. Their residence is our beds and bedrooms. These creepy crawling night stalkers feast and feed by sucking human blood. They pierce the skin with their elongated beak -like a hypodermic needle. Bed bugs inject their victims with their saliva, which contains a numbing agent, like Novocain. They drink until they become engorged with a person’s blood – crawling away satisfied – until the next night.
The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius Linnaeus) received its name from its close association with human bedding. Bedbugs often hide in bedding during the day and feed on the bed’s occupants at night. They will also lay eggs on clothing, particularly garments that are not clean. ATTENTION! According to recent research, bedbugs may be carriers of hepatitis B!
BED BUG FACTS
Bed bugs are annoying and persistent. Getting rid of them requires persistence. Bed bugs hide in extremely small cracks, crevices and corners, making it difficult to locate breeding sites. These vampires of the insect world venture from their hiding spots at night. Life Span! Bed bugs can live a year or longer without food (blood) and thus stay in their hiding places. Bed bugs can travel long distances and survive in suitcases, clothing, vehicles, aircraft, amd cruise ships. Bed bug females lay about 300 eggs. Bed bugs hatch from eggs in 10 days.
WHERE DO THEY HIDE?
In early infestations the bedbugs are found only about the tufts, seams, and folds of mattresses and daybed covers; later they spread to cracks and crevices in the bed and mattresses. If allowed to multiply, they can be found behind baseboards or woodwork, window and door frames, pictures, and moldings, and in furniture, loosened wallpaper, and cracks in plaster and partitions. OTHER HIDING PLACES: Mattresses Box Springs, Wall Sockets, Old Books and Papers, Behind Wallpaper, Clothing, Dresser Drawers, Behind Curtains and Drapes, Cracks, Crevices or Corners of Floors or Walls, Upholstered Furniture, Day Beds, Behind Pictures, Covers and Bedspreads.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY BITE?
Bed bugs feed (sucking human blood) by piercing skin with an elongated beak (like a hypodermic needle). Saliva is injected into the feeding spot of the sleeping human, containing an anesthetic (like Novocain) to reduce pain, and an anticoagulant to keep blood flowing. The reaction to bed bug bites varies, from no reaction to severe skin inflammation, irritation and itching. A small, hard, swollen, white welt may develop at the site of each bite. Severe itching can lasts for several hours to days at the irritated, inflamed bite area. A bedbug generally feeds at night, but if it is hungry and the area has a dim light, it may feed during the day. If left undisturbed, a full-grown bedbug becomes engorged with blood in 3 to 5 minutes. It then crawls into hiding, remaining there for several days to digest its meal. When hunger returns, the bug emerges from hiding and seeks another blood meal.
THEY FEED ON HUMANS!
While bedbugs feed primarily on humans, they also feed on other mammals, poultry, and other birds. Their host range is confused by the fact that the insect family Cimicidae, of which the common bedbug is a member, has several closely related species with similar habits and appearance. They are spread mainly by clothing and baggage of travelers and visitors, secondhand beds, bedding materials, furniture, laundry and even moving company blankets. Nesting birds, rodents, squirrels, poultry can be carriers and can enter through open windows. The mature bedbug is a brown-to mahogany-colored, wingless insect. Its size depends on how recently it has eaten a blood meal. An unfed bed bug is between 1/4 and 3/8 inches long. The upper surface of its body has a papery, crinkly, flimsy appearance. When engorged with blood, its body becomes elongated and swollen, and its color changes from brown to dull red. The color, size, and shape change from an unfed to a full bug is remarkable. Bedbug eggs are white and about 1/3-inch long. Under favorable conditions the female bedbug lays about 200 eggs at the rate of 3 or 4 per day. Eggs have a sticky coating and stick to objects where they are laid. It usually takes the eggs 6 to 17 days to hatch, and the newly emerged nymphs will feed immediately. A bedbug goes through five molts (shedding of its skin) before it reaches maturity. Depending on environmental factors and the availability of food, there can be considerable variation in developmental rate. Bedbugs may live for several weeks to several months without feeding, depending on temperature.
BLOOD SPOTS ON SHEETS AND OFFENSIVE SICKLY SWEET ODOR
Heavily used hiding places are evident by black or brown spots of dried blood excrement on the surfaces where the bugs rest, like your bed. Eggs, egg shells, and cast skins may be found near these places. Usually there is an offensive sickly sweet odor where bedbugs are numerous.
Most bug problems are not detected until someone has been bitten. A bed bug infestation can be recognized by blood stains from crushed bugs or by blood (sometimes dark) spots of their droppings on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls. Fecal spots, eggshells, and shed skins may be found in the vicinity of their hiding places. An offensive, sickly sweet, musty odor from their scent glands may be noticeable with severe bed bug infestations.
Lice Squad Canada 2015