Identify Bed Bugs & Insect Pest Infestation Problems - Prokill

 

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Identify your Pests > Bed Bugs

Insects: Bed Bugs

The common bedbug (Cimex lectularius) is the best adapted to human environments. It is now found throughout the world and lives off the blood of humans. Adult bedbugs are a reddish-brown, flattened, oval, and wingless. A common misconception is that they are not visible to the naked eye. Adults grow to 4-5 mm in length and do not move quickly enough to escape your notice. 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. Bedbugs are generally active only at dawn, with a peak feeding period about an hour before sunrise. They may attempt to feed at other times, however, given the opportunity, and have been observed to feed at any time of the day. 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, and the first indication of a bite usually comes from the desire to scratch the bite site.

Although bedbugs can live for a year or as much as eighteen months without feeding, they typically seek blood every five to ten days. Bedbugs that go dormant for lack of food often live longer than a year, well-fed specimens typically live six to nine months. Low infestations may be difficult to detect, and it is not unusual for the victim not to even realize they have bedbugs 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.

Bedbugs may be erroneously associated with filth in the mistaken notion that this attracts them. Bedbugs 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 bedbugs but, unlike cockroaches, does not have a direct effect on bedbugs as they feed on their hosts and not on waste. Good housekeeping in association with proper preparation and a thorough treatment programme are required to bring this insect under control.

In most observed cases a small, hard, swollen, white welt may develop at the site of each bedbug bite. This is often surrounded by a slightly raised red bump and is usually accompanied by severe itching that lasts for several hours to days. Welts do not have a red spot in the centre such as is characteristic of flea bites. In other cases, it is observed that welts first appear upon the person scratching that is triggered by the bite, and seem like a mosquito bite that increases in size upon scratching. Later, however, the welts subside but tend not to disappear like those from mosquitos, and persist for up to several weeks. This usually depends on the person's skin type, environment and the species of bug.

Bed Bugs: Treatment & Prevention

A technique for catching bedbugs in the act is to have a light source quickly accessible from your bed and to turn it on at about an hour before dawn, which is usually the time when bedbugs are most active. A flashlight/torch is recommended instead of room lights, as the act of getting out of bed will cause any bedbugs present to scatter before you can catch them. If you awaken during the night, leave your lights off but use your flashlight/torch to inspect your mattress. Bedbugs are fairly fast in their movements, about equal to the speed of ants. They may be slowed down if engorged.

The only effective programme of control for these insects is a thorough one. Bed bugs can and will infest adjoining bedrooms and floors below and above as the infestation grows or if a host is not available in the immediate vicinity. In ensure control is obtained a thorough survey is recommended by a competent pest control company and a Integrated pest management programme put in place. An initial intensive treatment is required followed by at least four follow up treatments to ensure that the infestation is eradicated, anything less may fail to bring this pest under control. The only professional way that a bed bug infestation can be assessed and costed is through a thorough site survey.

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