Bed Bugs are tiny, reddish brown, oval shaped insects that belong to the family of ‘Cimicidae’ insects. Adult bed bugs can be up to 5 mm to 7 mm in length whereas nymphs can be as small as 1.5 mm. They have flat bodies and, thus, can be mistaken for small cockroaches or ticks. Nymphs are usually clear in color and appear reddish after feeding on human blood. Although bed bugs are not able to fly but they can crawl very swiftly. They are usually active at night and feed on blood of humans.
Bed Bugs hatch from eggs and develop into nymphs. A feminine bug can lay up to 300 eggs a year and 1000 eggs in the entire life span. Also, these insects have a lengthy lifecycle. They can live up to 18 months without feeding whereas the nymphs can survive 6 months in similar conditions. Bed bugs can be found in any part of the home and can reside on textiles or even small cracks in furniture. Most commonly, they tend to grow on the area where you sleep and generally brood over beds together with mattresses, bed frames and bed springs. They usually travel from infected to non-infected areas by way of clothing, luggage or bedding.
Finding Bed Bug Infestation in your home
Take a bright flash light to scan your entire bedroom for bed bugs or their dark feces. The areas that must be checked are behind the head board, along the gaps of bedroom baseboard, particularly below head board, in the tufts and joints of mattresses, around the box spring, within and around all the cracks in the bedroom such as door and window casings, moldings and pictures, furniture, plaster cracks and slackened wallpaper.
Identifying Bed Bug Bite
Bed bugs suck human blood and usually bite at night on any uncovered areas of the skin such as face, arms, neck and hands. You might not feel any pain at the time of bite but may notice some symptoms afterwards. Small, red, raised bumps or flat spots may be seen that cause itching, and swelling. The distinctiveness in these bites is that it usually forms a line or series.
Prevention and Care
If you find your house to be infected by bed bugs, it is suggested that you take the help of a professional and licensed pest control company. Some of the tips that can prevent these insects from breeding further are:
Place furniture and mattresses outside in a temperature less than 25 degree Fahrenheit for several hours. This will freeze the bed bugs and kill them.
Regularly steam clean and vacuum the carpets.
Wash all the clothing, draperies and bedding in hot water regularly.
Spray insecticides to kill bed bugs hiding in large areas like walls. Use mild insecticides that are categorized for household. Proper care must be taken while applying them, particularly, around children, elderly and anyone who is allergic to insecticides.
If you have followed the above steps, and still notice the signs of bed bugs, you need to contact a pest control company.
Exterminating Bed Bugs
It is not easy to eliminate bed bugs and in most cases, there is a need for a pest control treatment by experts. They can live more than a year without eating. So, it is not uncommon if they can also be found in unoccupied rooms. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services have recommended certain important measures for exterminating bed bugs.
Once all the areas have been evaluated, then a permitted insecticide must be applied to them. The organophosphates ad carbonates are very effective but these must not be used on mattresses.
Non chemical treatments include using hot air or wrapping the infected materials in a black plastic bag and keeping them under the sun till the bugs are killed. However, this can be used for small items only.
Clothes must be washed in hot water and dried in the dryer’s hot cycle.
As bed bugs are quite ambiguous, it is quite difficult to get rid of them in the first treatment, particularly when the area is heavily infested.