Real Vampires: Bed Bugs

Bed bugs… The name alone is enough to make someone’s skin crawl. This insidious pest species feeds exclusively on blood. There are over 90 different species of bed bugs, but the one that commonly feeds on humans is known by the name of Cimex lectularius. They feed with a small sharp needle-like tube that they use to retrieve blood from their victim. These bugs prefer humans in order to satisfy their appetite but that will not stop them from feeding on other species as well, such as dogs and cats.

Life Cycle

A bed bug starts its life as a tiny dust sized egg that can barely be seen by the naked eye. The eggs are sticky and cannot be effectively removed by vacuuming. The eggs take between 6-10 days to hatch.

After hatching bed bugs undergo five larval stages before reaching adulthood. At each larval stage, a bed bug must have a blood meal before progressing to the next stage and eventually adulthood.

It takes about a month to five weeks for a bed bug to reach reproductive maturity. Approximately three generations of bed bugs can be produced in under a year with one female able to lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime!

Signs of an Infestation

Inexplicable bug bites are potentially a sign of bed bugs. Bed bug bites are similar to the bites of other insects but are not localized near the ankles, like fleas, and they don’t have the same coloration in the center of the bite. Bites may manifest differently for each individual depending on how allergic an individual is to the bed bug bites, but typically bites are itchy and welt-like.

Where there are bed bugs, there are bed bug droppings. Bed bug fecal material looks like small round dark brown or black droplets near where the bed bugs are hiding or feeding, which is typically near human bedding. They look very similar to small droplets of dried blood.

Other signs of infestation include the eggs and bugs themselves. The eggs are very hard to see but can be visible.

Prevention

When dealing with any pest species, prevention is always the best policy. Bed bugs are spread through places like hotels, shared laundry facilities, and used furniture. Remain vigilant in places such as hotels and laundromats, and don’t purchase or accept used furniture from someone you don’t personally know.

Bed Bug Removal

Bed bugs are notoriously hard to get rid of. This is partially due to their exponentially fast breeding habits, small size, sticky/hidden eggs and elusive behavior. You have them and you don’t want them, what can you do?

There are many options available out there and it can be hard to know which one to choose. Insecticides can be an effective option, but as they are used more and more, bed bugs are becoming resistant to certain ones. Products that can be bought from a normal store are most likely going to be useless. Heat treatment is also an effective measure, as well as freezing, but these tactics require professional application and shouldn’t be attempted on your own.

The smartest and safest thing to do by far is to have a professional save you the time and headache of trying to get rid of bed begs yourself. It is also likely to be cheaper in the long run to seek professional help because it saves you the cost of new furniture, bug sprays, multiple treatments, and other costs associated with ‘do it yourself’ bed bug removal.

If you think you might have a bed bug infestation or simply would like more information please contact us for a consultation.