Bed Bug Biology
Bed bugs are one of the most prolific insects in the entire world. Bed Bugs have been ectoparastites of humans for thousands of years. The term ectoparasite simply means the parasite lives outside the host, not inside. Bed bugs were pushed to the brink of extinction because of certain pesticides (DDT in particular) in the 1940-1950 period but because of new evidence sighting the damage these pesticides may cause on the environment and because of research like that referenced in a book names Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in 1962, DDT became the first widely used pesticide to be banned by the newly created EPA. As time passed, bed bugs became more resistant to today’s common pesticides and slowly began to re-emerge on the global scene. Changes in how import containers are inspected by local authorities and because international travel has become easier for many people, bed bugs crept steadily closer to the average person. Some reports indicate that 1 in every 3 people will deal with bed bugs during before 2020.
Bed Bugs are relatively easy to identify when discovered. Adults are brown to red-brown in color, flat and oval in shape. Nymphs (immature young) are translucent (clear) in color and their abdomens darken once they’ve had a blood meal. Bed bugs can move quickly when discovered in daylight since they are sensitive to light due to being primarily nocturnal. Bed bugs are known to be lazy feeders, essentially falling off of their hosts when they’ve filled their needs. They crawl slowly back to their hiding places which are usually in or around beds or furniture where people spend large amounts of time. This would be like if you slept next to your refrigerator so you could get up and eat and go right back to bed. Furniture can be difficult to inspect because of the way it’s manufactured but it’s important to know that bed bugs can live clutches of their eggs in the smallest of areas or openings. Bed bug victims sometimes experience red bump-like marks where the bites have occurred but this is not in every case. Some people show no signs of bites at all. We have seen cases where a husband and wife share a bed and the wife has bite marks but the husband has none even though his side of the bed has the most activity. When bed bugs excrete the consumed blood, it will darken when exposed to the environment and will appear as black spots or smears on the bedding.
Bed bug infestations have nothing to do with sanitation, only opportunity. There have been many cases of people picking them up while traveling in planes or hotels. We have treated places like movie theaters, public transportation, etc. Anywhere large amounts of people congregate for potential large periods of time can be a risk. When traveling always inspect your bedding, beneath mattresses, headboards and furniture like nightstands and bureaus. Leaving luggage inside the bathroom is also a good idea since it’s furthest from the bed areas and typically has tile or linoleum flooring which is smooth and difficult for bed bugs to travel on. When you arrive home always leave your luggage in the garage for a few nights, bag the contents and immediately wash them. All an infestation t=needs to begin is a few eggs or 1 pregnant female.
Treatment can be very difficult, time consuming and expensive. The reason most first treatments fail is because of the customer failing to properly prepare the home for service. Several methods such as conventional material applications, thermal room heating or freezing areas with C02 have become most effective when done properly by a licensed and well trained company. No treatment is better than avoidance and education.