Scientific Name: Cimex lectularius
Lifespan: Roughly one year, on average.
Problem: Painful stings. Can sting multiple times.
Bed bugs get their name from their habit of taking refuge in beds and feeding on humans while they sleep. Bed bugs feed only on blood and must have regular blood meals to survive and develop. However, humans are not bed bugs’ only targets – they also will attack many warm-blooded animals, including poultry and other birds. Bed bugs have been associated with humans for more than 3,300 years and are found in virtually every place people tend to gather, including residences, hotels, schools, offices, retail stores and even public transportation.
Bed bugs are great “hitch hikers,” allowing them to travel long distances. They latch onto suitcases, clothes, and linens and can end up wherever these items are taken. This is why the spread of bed bugs occurs so easily. Furthermore, it’s often hard to identify bed bug bites, and they can easily be confused with bites from other pests, making infestations difficult to detect and allowing populations to grow unnoticed.
BED BUG TRIVIA
Bed bug eggs are almost too small to see - about the size of a pinhead.
A single female bed bug lays eggs every single day and will lay up to 500 in a single lifetime.
Bed bugs can ingest seven times their own body weight in blood.
Bed bugs can live in just about any environment - they can withstand temperatures from nearly freezing up to 120 degrees fahrenheit.
Bed bugs have sharp instincts which allow them to resist the allure of food during the daytime when their prey could spot them.
Bed bugs only come out of hiding when the smell of exhaled carbon dioxide gets too strong to resist which usually happens in the evening, when you’re sleeping.
Bed bugs are picky about what they eat - they will only consume blood from a live host.
Bed bug saliva contains a mild anesthetic - their prey don’t feel the pain of the bite, so they keep sleeping while the bed bug feeds.
So, where do bed bugs come from? Bed bugs are excellent at traveling well hidden. They will latch onto suitcases, boxes, shoes and other items and travel on the objects to a new home. Once introduced into a new environment, they will spread throughout their new surroundings, whether it be a large building or a single-family home. Bed bugs can take up residence in many places besides just a bed, such as the cracks and crevices in walls or wood. They also like to hide behind baseboards, around mattress buttons, within bedding and inside box springs. In some instances, bed bugs can even come from inside electrical switch plates, picture frames, and wallpaper. These elusive pests can be found nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, or other shelter. In hotels, the most common place to find bed bugs is within the backside of headboards that are mounted on walls.
The National Pest Management Association’s 2018 Bugs Without Borders Research uncovered that bed bugs can be found just about anywhere. The three most common structures bed bugs were discovered were single-family homes (91 percent), apartments/condominiums (89 percent) and hotels/motels (68 percent),however they were also found in places one might not expect, including nursing homes (59 percent), schools and daycare centers (47 percent), office buildings (46 percent), college dorms (45 percent), hospitals (36 percent) and public transportation (19 percent).
Bed bugs usually come out at night to eat. However, they are opportunistic feeders and will take a blood meal during the day, especially in heavily infested areas. They feed only when people are resting or remaining still for at least 20-30 minutes – but not always at night and not always in bed. Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and congregate for several days until they are ready to feed again. During this time in the bed bug life cycle, they digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs. It is possible for adult bed bugs to go several months without a blood meal. They also can withstand temperatures from nearly freezing up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing them to survive in harsh conditions.
Because their bites are nearly painless, humans usually don’t notice or wake up when bitten. Bed bugs do not transmit disease, but their bites can cause red, itchy welts. These bites do not need professional treatment, and people who experience severe itching usually can find relief with topical steroid creams.
Perhaps the most alarming feature of bed bugs is their fast-reproductive nature. Females lay 1-5 eggs per day, reaching up to 541 eggs in their lifetime. It only takes about 21 days for these nymphs to become adult bed bugs. If a bed bug population goes undetected, these bugs can quickly infest an entire household or building. Once established, an infestation can be extremely difficult to get rid of.
There are several different phases to a bed bug treatment program. Vacuuming will be used to remove large portions of a bed bug population from areas where they are visible, like mattress seams and bed frames. Dusts and aerosols are also convenient tools, especially when fitted with a crack and crevice tip, allowing direct application into voids, cracks and crevices where bed bugs like to hide. And finally, we can eliminate the signs of bed bugs with a powerful liquid pesticide that kills them on contact or with other pesticides that leave a deadly residual protective barrier. The pesticide is applied to cracks and crevices in bedrooms, closets, furniture and other favorite Bed Bug hiding places.
Treatment usually begins at the focal point of the infestation, which is generally the bed in an infested room. This is followed by careful treatment of all items in the vicinity, including baseboards, floor/wall junctions, tack strips under carpets, behind electrical outlets and switches, cracks in walls and floors, items hanging on walls and relevant structural voids. Treatment can also be expanded to other rooms and upholstered furnishings as noted during the initial inspection.