Bed bugs are small, flat, parasitic insects which feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. These insects have oval-shaped bodies with no wings. They are reddish-brown in color and own 6 legs. They also can live some months without a blood meal. After feeding, bed bugs will be more rusty red color. Bed bugs are nocturnal in nature and usually feed during the night with peak biting generally taking place just before dawn. They are able to get their meal in as little as 3 minutes and then drop off and hide to digest their meal.
The life of bed bugs is one year life span and during their life time, a female bed bug can lay 200 to 400 eggs depending on food supply and temperature. The eggs hatch in about 10 days. The eggs are whitish, pear-shaped and the size is about the size of a pinhead. Clusters of 10-50 eggs can be found in cracks and crevices. Some of you perhaps wonder how to identify the existence of bed bugs. One of the easiest methods to find out a bed bug infestation is by the bite marks on the face, arms, neck, hands, or any other body parts. Those bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people. So, it is important to search for the other clues when investigating if bed bugs have infested an area. Those signs include the following things.
- A sweet musty odor.
- The bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting.
- Bed bugs in the folds of mattresses and sheets.
- Rusty colored blood spots because of their blood filled fecal material which they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture.
Bed bugs bites affect everyone differently, so some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or the other visible signs of being bitten. The other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. The allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swelling at the bite site and on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
If you find bed bugs in your home, the best way to deal with them is Integrated Pest Management that combines a variety of techniques and products which pose the least risk to human health and the environment.
- Consult with the local health department or a professional Pest Control operator to confirm that you have bed bugs.
- Inspect your mattress and bed frame, especially the folds, crevices, and the underside and the other locations where bed bugs like to hide.
- Use a nozzle attachment on the vacuum to catch the bed bugs and their eggs.
- Wash all linens in the hottest water and place them in a hot dryer for 20 minutes.
- Remove all unimportant clutter.
- Seal cracks and slits between baseboards, on wood bed frames, walls and floors with caulking.
- Monitor daily by setting out glue boards or sticky tape to capture the bed bugs.
- At last, you can consult professional pest control services and discuss options that pose the least risk to humans and the environment.