Bed bugs are a type of parasitic insect that feed off the warm blood of human beings. Although there are a variety of insects in the same family as bed bugs, a very specific type, called Cimex Luctularius is known for targeting human beings in particular. Recent years have shown a resurgence in the instance of infestations.
The pests received the nick name “bed bugs” for their preference to dwell in the beds or other places where people sleep. The bugs are mostly nocturnal, so it is during the night when they are most likely to feed. Because of this, bed bugs are not quickly detected in the home.
They are belived to be initially come from bat as bat bugs. When human start inhabiting with them in caves these bat bugs made human as their host and became bed bugs. Bat bugs looks almost identical to bed bugs. The only difference is the length of their hair on upper thorax which can be seen only with a use of microscope.
Bed Bug History ……. Why Are They Back?
People are traveling more to countries that are infested.
Lack of education about the signs and existence of bed bugs in society.
Extermination companies have reduced routine spraying for insects.
Bed bug infestation is now a problem in every country in the world.
The blessing of “Don’t let the bed bugs bite” that was given to children at the turn of the 20th century was done because bed bugs were a big problem. Americans’ standard of living was much lower than today and the daily struggle to survive was beyond bugs in your bed.
For a variety of reasons, the late 1990’s put bed bugs back on the map as a real problem. This problem continued to get worse through the turn of the millennium. The amount of cases was growing geometrically and continues to grow at a remarkable pace.
Some of the reasons given include
- A significant increase in travel to various countries that never got rid of their bed bug problem and helped bring many of these infestations back into the U.S.
- The pest control industry moved to a more environmentally conscious approach where there was little to no routine spraying, thus eliminating what used to be an effective if collateral method of controlling bed bugs and preventing their infestation.
- Lack of public awareness. People would have major infestations and either be oblivious to, or deny the existence of bed bugs.
- Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and can readily attach themselves to a traveler’s luggage and travel with them wherever they go. These factors and others have created what we now know as the bed bug epidemic.
Myths and Facts abut bed bugs
1. No on else in the house has nay bites so they are not from bed bugs.
This is not necessarily true as the infestation may only be small and confined to the one room and have not as yet spread to others rooms in the house. It is also important to realize that we will all react differently to insect bites, some will have a severe reaction that cause very itchy bite marks on the body while others may show no symptoms of a bite at all. Two people sharing a bed can show different signs to a bed bug bite.
2. If you have bite marks them you must have bed bugs
This is another myth as the bites may be from other insect pests such as fleas and mites. The fact that bed bugs are becoming a greater problem and are in the media much more has made people aware of their population build up and this can cause them to immediately blame bed bugs for any bites that they find on their bodies.
3. Bed bugs only live in dirty homes.
This is a big mistake to make, these annoying pests will live in the cleanest of homes as all they need to survive is a blood meal from their host and a small crack or crevice to hide in during the days and between meals. A dirty home will only offer them more places to hide and make it more difficult to find and destroy them.
4.Bed bugs are too small to see.
Bed bugs are very small, but they can be seen during all stages of their lives. The egg is difficult to see as it is only about 1mm long and is always hidden in cracks and crevices where they are hard to find. The adult is about 5mm long so is reasonable easy to see with the naked eye.
5. These pests only feed during the night
Their favourite feeding time is just before the dawn when their host is in their deepest stage of sleep and when they are most unlikely to be discovered. But if they are hungry and their host is sleeping during the day then they will certainly come out of hiding for a meal.
6. Bed bug bites are painful
When a bed bug bites, they inject an anesthetic substance into their host so the actual bite is very rarely felt. The bite will normally get very itchy several hours after the bite when the anesthetic effect of the bite has worn off.
7. Bed bugs only live in the bed.
The most common place to find bed bugs is in the bed, but this is definitely not the only place they will be found. In a large infestation they can be found almost anywhere in the room and this includes hiding in the electrical outlets of the room. They like to be close to their host but will travel a reasonable distance if needed. They can hide in the carpet, cracks in any furniture, cracks in the wall and even behind pictures frames, peeling paint and wall paper.
8. Bed bugs jump onto the bed.
Bed bugs are very good climbers but the are incapable of either flying or jumping. They are similar to ants in this respect and even move across the floor at about the same speed as an ant. The only way they can get onto the bed is by climbing up the bed legs, or up the wall and then onto the bed if the bed is touching the wall or if the bed clothes have been thrown off and are touching the floor then this is another bridge they will use to get to their food source.
9. Bed bugs transmit many diseases.
Fortunately for us this is not correct. Bed bugs unlike mosquito’s will not spread disease from one host to another.
There are really two main problems associated with bedbug bites. The first problem is the very unpleasant itchy and raised red welts on their skin where they have been bitten. They bite usually are in row of three. Excessive scratching can cause damage to the skin and this can then lead to the possibility of infections.
The other side effect of bedbug bites is actually not a physical problem but it is a psychological reaction to the knowledge that these very small bloodsucking insects are present in their beds and are making a feast on their blood while they are sleeping at night.
It is not uncommon for some people to become so distressed that they are unable to sleep at night due to the fear of being bitten again will they are sleeping. These emotional side effects normally start by the victim being kept awake throughout the night by these painful itchy bites, this lack of sleep and then cause the other problems of stress and anxiety that can even lead to depression if this problem is not resolved
10. Bed bugs can go without a meal for a year or more.
This can be the case but only if the conditions are perfect, the room temperature would need to be very low where their metabolism would slow down and they would not need to feed. This is very unlikely to happen in a home where heating will keep the temperature high enough for them to need food more often. Under normal conditions they would only survive for up to two months.
Bed Bug Behavior and Habit
Some of the ways to find bed bugs and the signs of bed bugs infestation is to de-clutter the room. This makes the inspection procedure easier. Beds must be dismantled and all drawers and desks must be completely overturned to expose the hiding insects. A flash light might be handy for looking into cracks, crevices, joints and inside fabrics.
A magnifier and a flash light can be used as a they may sometimes go unnoticed due to their small size.
- in the seams of your mattress.
- between the mattress and box springs.
- in the box springs – they especially like the corners and the airy fabric on the bottom of most box springs.
- behind your headboard
- in your nightstand in and under and behind the drawers and on the bottom
- same with your dresser and dresser drawers
- in/under your carpet
- behind wall plugs and switch plates
- in the ceiling light fixtures
- along baseboards
- behind pictures and sometimes in picture frames behind the picture mat
- inside your walls
Obviously most preffered locations are areas around the bed and gradually they spread to all parts of the room with time.
Electronic appliances like radios, phones etc. should also be checked along with picture frames, electrical switch plates and other places within the room which might offer a protected hiding place for the bugs. A strong coriander-like odor may be noticed in places which are highly infested with bed bugs.
The appearance of bed bugs differs from childhood to adulthood. The nymphs have a translucent appearance immediately after hatching and are almost colorless. With time, as they progress through the stages of molting, they gradually change color and take on a brownish color. The reddish brown color of an adult bed bug comes only with age and maturity.
Sources: Princeton University, Tribune News Service
The young bed bugs need regular meals to grow into healthy adults. Immediately after hatching, they start feeding on blood.
Although the adult bed bugs can live without food for long durations, the younger ones need to be fed at least once during each stage of molting. It is not possible for them to advance from one stage to the other without proper feeding. Each bed bug passes through five stages of molting before attaining maturity.
The young bed bugs advance from childhood to adulthood within a short period of time.
About 5 weeks of time is enough for a bed bug to mature into an adult. After attaining maturity, they become reproductive and start the life cycle of hatching eggs.
Due to this fast growth, infestation can occur quickly and steadily when left unattended. It may be difficult to find the younger bugs in their hiding places as their body color helps them to camouflage with their habitat.
The young nymph takes on a red color when it sucks blood from the host’s body.
This is due to their translucent body. Their bodies become swollen and larger in size after feeding. Usually the younger bed bugs are 1.6 mm in length when they are born. Source-www.co.marion.or.us
The young bed bugs go through stages of molting which consist of shedding their skin 5 times. At first glance they look similar to their adult counterparts as they molt, but their color and size differ.
They can be particularly menacing because they need regular meals of blood. Hosts are particularly at risk from the younger ones due to this constant need for feeding and can suffer from severe itching. Medication is quite often required to cure the itching.
The Best Offense is a Good Defense
1) Be careful not to bring bed bugs infested items into your home.
When traveling, inspect :
- airplane carryons
- After returning from vacation, thoroughly vacuum your luggage.
- When staying in hotel rooms, take a flashlight with you to inspect the bed frame and mattress for tell-tale signs of bed bugs.
- Before bringing in second-hand furniture, beds, or mattresses to your home, thoroughly examine the items to make sure there are no bugs hiding in corners, joints, and seams.
- Bringing cloths from your laundry remove cover outside your home.
- When you coming from cinema before you entering bedroom put your dress in the wash machine.
Hotels and motels can be easily infested due the the amount and variety of people coming from different countries.
Once a female bed bug takes a blood meal, she will start a local infestation. Upon the introduction of bed bugs, they can spread room to room throughout a whole building.
One of the best ways to prevent bed bugs from entering your home is to establish preventative measures which will deter the bugs from ever causing you discomfort in the first place.
Bats, swallows, chimney swifts, pigeons, or other animal hosts that occupy your home can also transmit bed bugs although these are a bit different from the common human bed bug. For example, Bat bugs can feed on humans. One can recognize bat bugs by the long hairs on its body.
Non-Chemical Control of Bed Bugs
If you have found out that your sleeping area has been taken over by an army of blood sucking free loaders, you don’t have to lose hope. There are plenty of techniques by which you can eliminate these pesky bed bugs. These techniques are not damaging to the environment or your body, which are important considerations to make in any attempt to eliminate bug populations.
Get rid of the mattress if it is laden with bed bugs.
- If you notice blood spots or dark marks on your bedding, immediately check all areas of your bed, mattress, and bedding for bed bugs.
- Put all covers and clothing into large plastic bags and dump the clothing and other laundry straight into washer from the plastic bags. Immediately dispose of the bags. Hot water should be used to wash the clothing and other laundry for 20 minutes or more. Also, dry at high on the dryer.
- Keeping your rooms extremely clean helps you spot and kill bed bugs.
Bedbugs cannot cannot survive in extremely hot conditions like above 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
Steam cleaning therefore either with a steam cleaner or using expert service can be effective treatment to kill them in the bed or mattress itself and is effective for abut 3/4 inch deep on mattress, carpet on cracks
Steam will kill all life stage of the bed bug including the eggs, but it cannot control the problem alone and must be used with other control methods.
When considering a steam machine for killing bedbugs choose one that will produce steam with a low vapour flow but with a high temperature and preferable one that will produce “dry steam” as this will have the benefit of a quick drying time. It is also best if the unit has a continual flow feature. Otherwise you will have a lot of down time as the machine goes through the cooling and reheating phase.
The pressure of the steam should be low otherwise the bed bugs may be blown across the room without being in contact with the steam long enough to be killed and this will only help in spreading the problem even further. Use a machine with multiple jet stream heads for the best results. It is best to not use a brush head as these may flick the bugs and eggs away without killing them.
It is vital when using steam to kill bed bugs that the head should be in direct contact with the area being treated. If the head is held above the surface the temperature of the steam will drop very quickly and may not be hot enough when it finally comes into contact with the bed bug to kill it, only a few centimeters too high will render the steam to cold to kill bed bugs.
When steam is employed to kill bed bugs you will need to remove any items that moisture can damage and also provide good ventilation to prevent a build up of humidity that can encourage mould growth.
Every corner of the room must be checked and cleared along with the furniture. Cushions, cupboards, drawers and mattresses must be overturned to ensure that there are no hiding bugs or eggs. Even the bedding can be sanitized using this method of steam cleaning. Steam cleaning is eco friendly also as it does not produce or leave and toxic chemicals behind.
- Glue traps can be used to monitor bed bugs, however, they are not effective for bed bug control.
- Delicate materials can be placed into the freezer if they will be harmed by the heat in the drier and the washer. Bedbugs can also die from cold temperatures below freezing, but the chilling period must be maintained for at least two weeks.
- If possible keep all parts of the house lighted at all times because bed bugs thrive in dark and dirty places.
Diatomaceous Earth for Bed Bugs
Diatomaceous Earth for bed bugs is an all natural product that is made from very small fossilized water plants. This is a chemical free way to control these tiny pests that can also help to control other insect invaders such as ants, earwigs, cockroaches snails.
The way this product kills these insects is that the edges of this material is razor sharp and when these insects come into contact with it, their waxy covering is scratched away. Diatomaceous Earth is very dry and the moisture in the insects is evaporated and they will die within 48 hours.
Diatomaceous Earth for bed bugs does take time to control an infestation of bed bugs but one of the best things about using this product is that it will not evaporate or disappear until you remove it yourself, this means that as long as it is left where these bed bugs are found, it will keep killing them.
Since bed bugs may only feed once in 10 days they may continue to hide and not come into contact with the Diatomaceous Earth until the next time they want some of your blood, so it is best to leave it in place for as long as possible so it can continue to eliminate bed bugs that may try to re-infest your home. Also any newly laid eggs need time to hatch before they new born bed bugs can start to move around and come into contact with the DE.
How to apply Diatomaceous Earth for Bed Bugs
When applying DE it is advisable to search for any likely hiding place that these pests may live in. Use a puffer bottle to puff the powder into any cracks, crevices or other hiding places. It is also a good policy to use spackle or caulk to seal over these cracks to permanently stop them from using these places as a home.
If your floors are cover with carpet, then you can sprinkle some DE into the carpet to control bed bugs, you may need to reapply after vacuuming the room.
The Diatomaceous Earth that is used in maintaining swimming pools is not going to work as a bed bug killer. Even though it has the same name and comes from the same source it is not fine enough to do the job, so if you intend to use it to eliminate bed bugs, please use the correct type of DE.
Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Pets?
This is an important question if your have pets in your home, and fortunately the answer is that it is safe to used around pets. It will not only kill bedbugs but can also be used to control ants, silverfish, fleas, cockroaches carpet beetles and crickets.
Watch this video below to see how this substance kills bed bugs.
Bed Bug Traps
Bed bug traps are one way of knowing if you have a bed bug problem and they are used to trap these tiny pests so you can correctly identify them so you can then start on the best control method for your circumstances.
Bed bugs are able to track down their food supplied (that’s your blood) by several methods. They can sense your body heat and zero in on where you are, or they are also able to sense the carbon dioxide that you exhale every time that you breathe, and this is their road map to your position in the home.
So knowing these facts about the bed bug we are able to make a bed bug trap that will attract them and capture them.
One method that does not require this is using the Climbups traps that go under the legs of the bed. These traps have a rough exterior so the pests can climb up but the interior of the trap in so slippery that they cannot get out, and are effectively trapped. From here you can collect them for proper identification.
Attracting Bed Bugs
Another trap that is very simple to make and use is one that uses CO2 as the bait. This is because carbon dioxide same as your breathing does attracts them .
The bed bug is able to climb the outer part of the trap but is then not able to escape.
Traps that use dry ice are for short term use only as the dry ice will soon disappear and the trap will be useless until more dry ice is added.
With these types of traps you can put a fine layer of talc powder on the inside of the trap that will make it extra slippery so they are unable to climb out. You can also add some Diatomaceous earth in the traps and this will kill the pests.
Still other traps use pheromones that attract these pests by appealing to their behavior of aggregation, or living together.
Other use Sugar/yeast mixture to produce CO2 to attract bedbugs.
While these traps will catch some bed bugs, they are not designed to eliminate these pests from your home, their main objective is to capture a few for correct identification so you know what sort of insect you are dealing with, and you can then design the best strategies to kill them.
Contact-kill treatment of Bed bugs.
“Contact-kill is a mixture of cyfluthrin, pyrethrins, and piperonyl butoxide.
Lambda-cyhalothrin is also used which function barrier which slow kills bedbugs once they cross it,
It is usually microencapsulated, to make it safe to pets and humans after it dries.
Deltamethrin is another chemical that is also injected into larger crevices. Lambda-cyhalothrin and the deltamethrin are aare strongest for 2 weeks following their application, but usually are effective for up to 60 days.
Gentrol and Phantom are also used. Gentrol contains (S)-Hydroprene, an insect growth regulator (IGR) as the active ingredient that disrupts the normal growth cycle of bed bugs are other insect like cockroaches, stored product pests, drain flies and fruit flies.
Phantom uses chlorfenapyr an active ingredient known as . It is non-repellent and relatively last longer.
If you use these bed bug sprays you won’t worry about these pesky pests again. Each spray complements the other and is used to form an effective defense against bed bugs. Any effective defense against bed bugs requires an effective strategy. Here is ours.
Bed Bug Defense Strategy
Our strategy consists of four elements designed to eradicate, and keep bed bugs out of your home:
- Attack – Kill bed bugs and their egg where they live. OK this really isn’t a defensive move, but as they say, sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
- Secure – Wall off your home from intrusion. Keep bed bugs out so they won’t make themselves a guest in you home again.
- Prevent – Keep bugs out of your bedding
- Repel – Keep beg bugs from hitching into your home.
Step 1: Attack Bed Bugs Where They Live
You can use non toxic bed bug spray. Be sure to clean out every place bed bugs can hide. As you’re cleaning look for signs of bed bugs. Little black dots are a good tell tale as are tiny rice sized eggs or discarded bed bug skins. Use a flash light to make the job easier. Clean and Spray where bed bugs are found,this includes:
- corners of rooms
- cracks and crevices on walls
- floors and on furniture
- box springs
- bed rails
- bed frames
- night stands
- bed room furniture
Vacuum all of these areas. Thoroughly vacuum your bed, the box springs, the mattress, and frame. Take your bed apart, stand the box and mattress on end for easier access and inspection. If you can, remove plates from electrical outlets, and using a non conductive attachment (e.g. plastic), vacuum inside the electrical box. We’re aiming remove bed bugs from all those hidden areas in your home. Once you have vacuumed, remove the bag and put it in your outside trash.
Step 2: Secure Your Home From Bed Bug Infestation
Now that you’ve hit the bed bugs where they live and gotten rid of most if not all of the pest, it is time to secure your home from future infestations. The first thing you’ll want to do is eliminate their hiding spots within your home.
Since bed bugs are small and flat, they can hide in very small and narrow spaces. Our job it to now eliminate as many of those spaces as possible. Inspect your bedroom and adjoining rooms. Patch any holes or cracks in the walls. Even nail sized holes are large enough for bed bugs. Also, caulk and seal your base boards to the wall. Your aim is to eliminate access to the tiny gap between base board and the wall.
Inspect any wall paper and make sure the seams are sealed to the wall, if not, you may find bed bugs taking residence behind the paper.
This can be a tedious job, but it is very important. Take your time. If it takes several days to complete it is OK.
Once you have sealed up you home, it is time to lay down a protective bed bug barrier. For this I would recommend using a residual spray. That continues to kill bed bugs for several weeks after being sprayed.
The idea is to lay down a barrier, which if the bugs cross, will kill them. Spray along your baseboards, the corners of your walls, and in general, anywhere surrounding your bed. As bed bugs crawl to your bed, they will come in contact with the residue, and it will kill them.
Step 3: Prevent Bed Bugs from Taking up Residence in your Bedding
A good preventative measure to take is to seal up your mattress and box springs in a protective cover. You can purchase covers for your bedding as well. These ensure that any bugs, living or from eggs, inside your mattress or box springs never can get out to feed. They will eventually starve to death. Also, the covering means that bugs can no longer make your bedding their home. Between this and the measures you took in step 2, the bed bugs have no place to go. Eventually they run into the residual spray and die.
You may balk at the purchase price of protective covers, but when compared to the cost of purchasing replacement bed springs and a mattress, their cost is small.
You can also install traps to capture any beg bugs trying to get to your mattress. The Climb up Insect Interceptor Bed Bug Trap is placed under all four bed posts and traps any bugs trying to climb into your bed.
Since there are two wells trap bugs, you can tell whether the bugs are coming from your bed, as they are trapped in the center well, or from your home, as then they are trapped in the outer pitfall.
Step 4: Repel Bed Bugs from Your Belongings
A leading source of bed bugs is through luggage or used furniture. You can reduce the risk of carrying bedbugs into your home by treating your luggage with Bedbug repellant. Usually they are Bed bug killing spray that also target mosquitoes Fleas etc.
Repellents only last for a couple of weeks, so we recommend treating your luggage prior to each trip.
A better way is to use Ultrasonic Insect repellant They also keep rats mice squirrels etc away. It is portable and work by plugging it to electric socket. The range of ultrasonic frequencies repel most pests.
You’ll create a natural barrier around your luggage, and bed bugs will be less apt to try and hitch hike on your luggage.
Other Contact kill Home remedies
Alcohol– Alcohol also has the insecticidal properties on Bedbugs because of its dehydrating property. The only reason they are not so popular as Bed bug killer because they act only when directly sprayed on them or else they evaporate.
Boric acid– Boric acid powder is used for multiple pest control and can be used or bedbugs also. be sure not to use it on beddings or other area human may also come in contact.
Walnut tea- If you can get and sprinkle this tea powder it on affected area it will drives Bedbugs out out and kill them.
Tea tree Oil– This Oil has proven to be a insecticide. You can add few drops of it in water use it to spray in the home or wash your clothes carpets e and affected item with this Oil.
Fine silica gel– Crush some Silica gel and put on all the cracks and places you suspect are their hiding places.
repair your house. Silica gel is sticky so bed bugs get stuck and wont be able to breath or stave to death.
Repair your house-All the cracks and holes in your house will always be a hiding spot for pests. You may use all elimination method but some may reside deep in these cracks So it will be best after your bedbug removal methods to repair your house to fill all those deep cracks and Holes in your house
Exterminators for Killing Bed Bugs
Several companies have ventured into offering bed bug extermination services. Most of these companies use the same principles of preventing infestation. They are also best equipped in helping with getting rid of bed bug infestations.
Such companies use powerful insecticides that can penetrate the cracks and crevices in the house, the furniture and the beddings to destroy their breeding grounds and disrupt their life cycle. It is important to ask the professionals to use only safe pesticides that may not pose danger to the occupants of such a home.
You can also visit the National Pest Management Association. They also have listings of the locations of pest control professionals capable of taking care of your bedbug problems..
If done correctly, whether by DIY or through a professional getting rid of bed bugs is a vital step in keeping a home safe and protecting the life of its occupants. For those who suspect that their homes are infested, it may be better to seek the services of professionals as opposed to DIY because they have the expertise to kill all the bed bugs plus their eggs.