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Bed Bugs are coming to a Bedroom near you? 

" Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite! "

 

Ever wonder where that saying comes from? Bed bugs have been with us since our ancestors lived in caves and sucked the blood of bats. They followed us out of the cave and into our bedrooms. Bed bugs can detect the carbon dioxide that you exhale while you are sleeping and follow it like a roadmap to their next meal. The favorite feeding time for bed bugs occur between about 1:00 A.M. and 5:00 A.M.

Bed bugs first inject you with a cocktail of anesthetics and anticoagulants, so you won't feel it when they bite you and so that your blood flows steadily into their sucking mouthparts. Bed bugs can suck down more than three times their own body weight in your blood. If a major infestation exists, you can be bitten several hundred times by bed bugs in a single night.

What makes it even worse is that bed bugs are extremely difficlut to control on your own. We strongly recommend you use a professional to get rid of a bedbug infestation, but if you must do it on your own - we have some very specific advice on how to control them. Because they are resistent to many pesticides and application must be extremely thorough, your results may vary. In just about every case, you will need at least several treatments for any chance at permanently getting rid of a bed bug infestation.
 
Adult bed bugs are a reddish brown, flattened, oval, and wingless, with microscopic hairs that give them a banded appearance. A common misconception is that they are not visible to the naked eye. Adults grow to 4 to 5 mm (one-eighth to three-sixteenths of an inch) in length and do not move quickly enough to escape the notice of an attentive observer. Newly hatched nymphs are translucent, lighter in color and continue to become browner and moult as they reach maturity. When it comes to size, they are often compared to lentils or appleseeds.

Bed bugs are generally active only at dawn, with a peak attack period about an hour before dawn, though given the opportunity, they may attempt to feed at other times. Attracted by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide, the bug pierces the skin of its host with two hollow tubes. With one tube it injects its saliva, which contains anticoagulants and anesthetics, while with the other it withdraws the blood of its host. After feeding for about five minutes, the bug returns to its hiding place. The bites cannot usually be felt until some minutes or hours later, as a dermatological reaction to the injected agents.

Although bed bugs can live for a year or as much as 18 months without feeding, they typically seek blood every five to ten days. While bed bugs that go dormant for lack of food often live longer than a year, well-fed specimens typically live four to six months. Low infestations may be difficult to detect, and it is not unusual for the victim not to even realize they have bed bugs early on. Patterns of bites in a row or a cluster are typical as they may be disturbed while feeding. Bites may be found in a variety of places on the body.

 

Life Cycle of the bed bug

Bed bugs may be erroneously associated with filth in the mistaken notion that this attracts them. However, severe infestations are often associated with poor housekeeping and clutter. Bed  bugs are attracted by exhaled carbon dioxide and body heat, not by dirt, and they feed on blood, not waste. In short, the cleanliness of their environments has effect on the control of bed bugs but, unlike cockroaches, does not have a direct effect on bed bugs as they feed on their hosts and not on waste. Good housekeeping in association with proper preparation and mechanical removal by vacuuming will certainly assist in control.

While bed bugs have been known to harbor pathogens in their bodies, including plague and hepatitis B, they have not been linked to the transmission of any disease and are not regarded as a medical threat. Some individuals, however, can get skin infections and scars from scratching bites. While bed bugs are not regarded as a vector of transmissible diseases, they may be a significant source of alarm or distress.

There are several means by which dwellings can become infested with bed bugs. People can often acquire bed bugs at hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfasts, as a result of increased domestic and international tourism, and bring them back to their homes in their luggage. They also can pick them up by inadvertently bringing infested furniture or used clothing to their household. If someone is in a place that is severely infested, bed bugs may actually crawl onto and be carried by people's clothing, although this is atypical behavior � except in the case of severe infestations, bed bugs are not usually carried from place to place by people on clothing they are currently wearing. Finally, bed bugs may travel between units in multi-unit dwellings (such as condominiums and apartment buildings), after being originally brought into the building by one of the above routes. This spread between units is dependent in part on the degree of infestation, on the material used to partition units (concrete is a more effective barrier to the spread of the infestation), and whether infested items are dragged through common areas while being disposed of, resulting in the shedding of bed bugs and bedbug eggs while being dragged. In some exceptional cases, the detection of bedbug hiding places can be aided by the use of dogs that have been trained to signal finding the insects by their scent much as dogs are trained to find drugs or explosives. A trained team (dog and handler) can detect and pin point a bedbug infestation within minutes. This is a fairly costly service that is not used in the majority of cases, but can be very useful in difficult cases

 

bed bug image

Bed bugs are very flat, which allows them to hide in tiny crevices. A crack wide enough to fit the edge of a credit card can harbor bed bugs (even in the ceiling). In the daytime, they tend to stay out of the light, preferring to remain hidden in such places as mattress seams, mattress interiors, bed frames, nearby furniture, carpeting, baseboards, inner walls, tiny wood holes, or bedroom clutter. Bed bugs can settle in the open weave of linen; this will often appear as a gray spindle a centimeter long and a thread wide, with a dark speck in the middle. Bed bugs can be found on their own, but more often congregate in groups. They are not social insects, however, and do not build or stay in nests. These groups of bed bugs are very often found in beds, usually either in the seams of a mattress (usually the seams closest to the sleeper such as those on the edging of a mattress or box spring), in the boxspring, or within the structure of the bed itself. They can also be found in a wide variety of locations in a home, such as behind baseboards, behind a picture frame, within books (near the bed), in telephones, or radios near the bed, and within the folds of curtains. When not feeding, bed bugs are likely to be found hiding in shaded areas such as the seam along which the floor and wall meet, or under the edge of the carpet. One may find a group of bugs in the seams, usually surrounded by black fecal matter and sometimes a reddish brown stain.

Bed bugs are capable of travelling as far as 100 feet to feed, but usually remain close to the host in bedrooms or on sofas where people may sleep. They feed every five to 10 days. The manner in which infestations spread throughout a home or within an apartment building is not entirely understood and differs from case to case.

It is important to inspect all adjacent rooms for infestation, as bed bugs travel easily and quickly along pipes and boards. In treatment, it is important to consider the insides of walls as potential places for bedbug infestation.

The numerical size of a bedbug infestation is to some degree variable, as it is a function of the elapsed time from the initial infestation. With regards to the elapsed time from the initial infestation, even a single female bedbug brought into a home has a potential for reproduction, with its resulting offspring then breeding, resulting in a geometric progression of population expansion if control is not undertaken. Sometimes people are not aware of the insects, and do not notice the bites. The visible bedbug infestation does not represent the infestation as a whole, as there may be infestations elsewhere in a home, however, the insects do have a tendency to stay close to their hosts (hence the name "bed" bugs).

Confirmation of the presence of bed bugs may be through identification of the insects collected. Some individuals use the internet for insect identification, or they may take the sample to a university extension laboratory, or to a professional pest control firm. The insects may be difficult to find, but infestations are typically concentrated on or about bedding or upholstered furniture, and clusters of the insects, their eggs, and immature stages may be found on seams of mattresses, box springs and in folds of upholstered furniture.

 

Evidence of Bed Bugs

The pattern of bites as noted earlier is another means of confirming that the infestation is indeed that of bed bugs. Though bedbug bites can occur singly, they often follow a distinctive pattern of a linear group of three bites, sometimes macabrely referred to as "breakfast, lunch, and dinner". These patterns of bites are caused when a bedbug is disturbed in feeding by a person moving, and then the bedbug resumes feeding. Bedbug bites also often occur in lines marking the paths of blood vessels running close to the surface of the skin. The effect of these bites on humans varies from person to person, but often cause welts and swelling that are more itchy and longer-lasting than mosquito bites. Some people, however, have little or no reaction to bedbug bites. Those whose bodies do not initially react may subsequently develop symptoms, however, due to an allergic reaction caused by the development of antibodies. Bed bugs never crawl under one's skin and markings implying this may be signs of other skin infections or a severe allergic reaction to bedbug bites.

bed bug bites look like this.

A technique for "catching" (detecting) bed bugs is to have a light source accessible from bed and to turn it on at about an hour before dawn, which is usually the time when bed bugs are most active. A flashlight is recommended instead of room lights, as the act of getting out of bed will cause any bed bugs present to scatter. Bed bugs can also sometimes be viewed during the day. The flashlight method is best; if you awaken during the night, leave your lights off but use your flashlight to inspect your mattress. Bed bugs are fairly fast in their movements, however, this can vary depending on how recently they have consumed a blood meal, and if treatment has been performed. Some have described their speed of travel as being about that of ants. Immature stages are quite small. A few seconds staring at a patterned sheet may be needed to notice them.

Some individuals have used glue traps placed in strategic areas around their home (sometimes used in conjunction with heating pads, or balloons filled with exhaled breath, thus offering the carbon dioxide that bed bugs look for) in order to attract and thus detect bedbug infestations. This method has varied reports of success. It likely depends on extent of infestation, and given the choice of a heating pad and low carbon dioxide, it is not unreasonable to presume that the bed bugs will go for a person preferentially -- they have had a long time to evolve in their abilities to find hosts. There are also commercial traps like "flea" traps whose effectiveness is questionable except perhaps as a means of detection, but traps will certainly not work to control an infestation.

Perhaps the easiest method for detection is to place double-sided carpet tape in long strips near or around the bed and check the strips after a day or more. This is also useful in detecting insect presence in general.

Veterinarians may mistake bed bugs' leavings on a pet's fur as "flea dirt".

Bed bugs are known for being elusive, transient, and nocturnal. For many, the only way to detect and identify with certainty an infestation is to contact a pest control professional, however, this pest was largely absent as a significant part of pest control services for decades, so the pest control industry is in process of ensuring staff are well-trained.

Controlling Bed bugs

With the widespread use of DDT in the 1940s and '50s, bed bugs all but disappeared from North America in the mid-twentieth century. Infestations remained common in many other parts of the world, however, and in recent years have begun to rebound in North America. Reappearance of bed bugs in North America has presented new challenges for pest control and, without DDT and similarly banned agents, no fully effective treatment is now in use. The industry is only beginning to develop procedures and techniques.

Another reason for their increase is that pest control services more often nowadays use low toxicity gel-based pesticides for control of cockroaches, the most common pest in structures, instead of residual sprays. When residual sprays meant to kill other insects were commonly being used, they resulted in a collateral insecticidal effect on potential bedbug infestations; the gel-based insecticides primarily used nowadays do not have any effect on bed bugs, as they are incapable of feeding on these baits.

The National Pest Management Association, a US advocacy group for pest management professionals(PMPs) conducted a "proactive bed bug public relations campaign" in 2005 and 2006, resulting in increased media coverage of bedbug stories and an increase in business for PCOs, possibly distorting the scale of the increase in bedbug infestations.

If it is necessary to live with bed bugs in the short term, it is possible to create makeshift temporary barriers around a bed. Although bed bugs cannot fly or jump, they have been observed climbing a higher surface in order to then fall to a lower one, such as climbing a wall in order to fall onto a bed. That having been said, barrier strategies nevertheless often have beneficial effects: an elevated bed, for example, can be protected by applying double-sided sticky tape (carpet tape) around each leg, or by keeping each leg on a plastic furniture block in a tray of water. Bed frames can be effectively rid of adult bed bugs and eggs by use of steam or, used with caution, by spraying rubbing alcohol on any visible bugs (although this is not a permanent treatment). Small steam cleaners are available and are very effective for this local treatment. A suspect mattress can be protected by wrapping it in a painter's disposable plastic dropcloth, neatly sealing shut all the seams with packing tape, and putting it on a protected bed after a final visual inspection. Bedding can be sanitized by a 120 �F (49 �C) laundry dryer. Once sanitized, bedding should not be allowed to drape to the floor. An effective way to quarantine a protected bed is to store sanitized sleeping clothes in the bed during the day, and bathing before entering the bed.

Vermin and pets may complicate a barrier strategy. Bed bugs prefer human hosts, but will resort to other warm-blooded hosts if humans are not available, and some species can live up to eighteen months without feeding at all. A co-infestation of mice can provide an auxiliary food source to keep bed bugs established for longer. Likewise, a house cat or human guest might easily defeat a barrier by sitting on a protected bed. Such considerations should be part of any barrier strategy.

 

AllPest Express Recommendations

Pest Control Industy leaders have developed a procedure for eliminating bed bugs that has had very positive results.

  • First, go over the room with a fine tooth comb looking for every tell tale sign of bed bugs, including blood stains, fecal matter, skins and live or dead insects.
  • Remove all the bedding and place it in an airtight bag and immediately place sheets, blankets and pillow cases into the washing machine. Was with hot water and detergent two to three times.
  • Remove outlet and switch plate covers.
  • Pull carpets off the tacks.
  • Empty all closets and dressers and wash immediately if bedbug presence is suspected on any clothing.
  • Remove all drawers from dressers. Remove pictures from walls and anything else where bed bugs may hide.
  • If you have a boxspring with a fabric or felt underneath, remove it and throw it away. Spray Bedlam Plus Insecticide within all cracks and crevices in the boxspring. If your mattress and boxspring is badly infested, either throw it away or if its winter, place outside overnight for at least a day in 30 degrees farneheight or lower environments. You may want to check the forecast for rain or snow. The extreme cold will kill the bed bugs.
  • After treatment, It is recommended you also cover your mattresses and boxsprings with a approved bedbug proof mattress or boxspring encasement, such as the Protect-A-Bed AllerZip Bed Bug proof encasement's with patented BugLock zippers found in our store. Bed bugs will not be able to reinfest the mattress and any bed bugs still inside the mattress or boxspring will not be able to escape and they will die.
  • Spray cracks and crevices around the room with a mixture of Zenprox EC and Gentrol. Dust switches and outlets with Eaton Kills Bed Bugs (Diatomaceous Earth).
  • If you have a steamer, steam also kills bed bugs. Thoroughly going over anything that may be infested with a large steamer can definitely help.
  • Mattresses, linen, curtains and furniture should be sprayed with Sterifab.
  • After this intensive treatment, wait about a week and repeat the process. Continue this process until you acheive 100% elimination.

 




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