Bed Bugs

Know Your Enemy

Everything you need to know about bed bugs.

Bed Bugs are back and are making the lives of many people a living nightmare. The number of bed bug cases in the United States continues to climb and it doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. 


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Few pests are as difficult to control as bed bugs.

They are hard to find, resistant to modern pesticides, and extremely pervasive, and thus require considerable professional expertise.

Biology

The purpose of this brief biology lesson is to make you a bit wiser about bed-bug behavior. The first thing we should talk about is that you are their food source. They feed on blood anywhere from three to twelve minutes one to three times per week. They prefer human blood, but they’re opportunistic and will feed off a dog, a cat, a mouse, or a hamster. Females lay two to three eggs per day—they are egg-laying machines. Those hatch in seven to ten days. They have five nymph stages and are adults in one to two months, as long as they have a food source. Their average life span is six months to a year and a half. They can live a long time without feeding, some as long as six to twelve months. Bed bugs are cryptic and spend most of their time hiding in cracks and crevices waiting for their food to return, you.

Bed Bug Sex

Bed bugs have a unique way of copulating. It is called forced insemination. Basically, the male has a harpoon shaped genital that pierces the female cuticle in the abdomen. Women always think this sounds very pleasant. Females get copulated with often, generally after a blood meal, as males prefer to mate with fat females, so they almost always have enough sperm to continuously produce fertilized eggs. A female has  to ovaries with 14 ovarioles and therefore always has plenty of eggs to lay. One adult female can cause an infestation. She gets brought in, starts laying eggs. Those eggs hatch and in 1-2 months they are adults and begin to breed with each other and we have an infestation.These behaviors are part of why bed bugs are so successful.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed-bug bites are very difficult to identify and not everyone has the same reactions. Determining whether or not bed bugs are present should not be from bites alone. You need to find the bugs. Some people are not allergic to bed bug bites while others are very allergic and get red welts. People can also have a delayed reaction where the bites do not show up for up to fourteen days.

How do I get bed bugs?

Bed bugs are synanthropic, meaning that they live in close association with humans. They do not spontaneously generate and therefore they must be brought into a home or property. They are most often brought in on used furniture, luggage or bags, or from hitchhiking bed bugs on a visitor or house guest. When someone lives in a place that has bed bugs, especially heavy infestations, it is not uncommon for them to have bed bugs in their clothes, shoes, or belongings.

How do I prevent bed bugs?

  • Become educated about bed bugs
  • Be careful about buying used furniture
  • Be careful when guests come and stay with you
  • Inspect your rooms when traveling
  • Inspect your beds for signs of bed bugs on a regular basis (Monthly is awesome)
  • If you travel a lot it can be a good idea to store luggage in the garage
  • When traveling don’t place luggage on or near beds

How does a commercial property prevent bed bugs?

  1. Educate your staff and tenants on how to identify bed bugs and how to avoid infestations.
  2. Schedule and maintain professional inspections.
  3. Schedule and maintain preventative bed bug treatments.

Bed Bug Feeding

Bed bugs don’t seek out water or eat cookies or crumbs left by your children, they feed on your blood. They feed from 3-12 minutes and then head back into hiding to digest the blood meal.

Bed Bugs on Box Spring

This is an aggregation of bed bugs on the bottom of the box spring. The box spring is a very common place to find bed bugs. The underside of the box spring on the head side of the bed is probably the best place to inspect for bed bugs. Whichever seat has the best view of the TV is also another great place to inspect.

Bye bye, bed bugs.