Bed bugs – difficult to see, but they can make their presence very much known in certain cases, which can be uncomfortable and unhygienic for everyone concerned. But what exactly is a bed bug and why are they such a pest? This article will detail the key points about bed bugs and why you need to keep them away from your home.
What is a bed bug?
There are approximately 100 different species of bed bug across the world, but only two species of what are known as ‘human bed bugs’: the common bed bug (Cimex lectularus L.) and the tropical bed bug (C. hemipterus Fabr.) They became associated with humans after our ancestors moved from caves and started building homes. Adult bed bugs are around the size of an apple seed – 6 to 8mm, and they can live as long as 316 days.
Bed bugs feed on blood in order to grow and reproduce. Normally, the worst symptoms of bed bugs is irritation to the skin, but in the case of severe infestations they can cause mild anaemia.
To prevent bed bugs from becoming lodgers in your home, there are several precautions that should be taken. Regularly cleaning clothing, upholstery and bed clothes can help minimise the presence of bed bugs, and the avoidance of bringing in furniture from outside can also be very helpful.
The bugs themselves tend to stay in warm areas, close to where people sleep or stay in large groups, usually in areas where temperatures are around 30 degrees celsius, as this is where development from egg to adult can occur in 21 days.
Bed bugs are killed at temperatures between 44 and 45 degrees celsius, and adults become inactive at around 13 degrees, but they have been known to adapt to temperatures as low as 7 degrees.
How do I know if I have bed bugs?
Some signs that you may be hosting bed bugs are:
- Brown fecal spots on mattresses, clothes, upholstery
- Bite marks – these are usually red and itchy
- Areas of high infestation tend to emit a sweet, musty odour
- Dead bugs – bed bugs are small and chestnut-brown
How do I get rid of them?
If you suspect you may have a bed bug infestation, there are steps you can take to remove them yourself. Firstly, carefully vacuum and wash all bed sheets, mattresses and bed frames that may be home to bed bugs.
If you suspect any clothes may be infected with bed bugs, wash them or place them in a ziplock bag and freeze them for 72 hours. A simple trick to catch these pests is to pull your bed away from the wall and wrap the legs with outward-facing sticky tape to catch them when they try and climb up.
It can be difficult to tell if you have a bed bug infestation in your home initially, but if you notice signs over a period of time then it will be time to take action. The aforementioned techniques can remove your bed bug problem, but in more severe cases it is best that you seek professional assistance from a licensed pest control company.
Here at Pest Defence, we are proud to offer the finest pest control services to our customers. We will devise the perfect strategy to help deal with any bed bug infestation issue you have, solving it in the most efficient and safe way possible. If you would like to know more about what we do, please feel free to get in touch with us today.