Bed bugs are parasitic insects in the genus Cimex that feed exclusively on blood. Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug, is the best known as it prefers to feed on human blood; other Cimex species specialize in other animals, e.g., bat bugs, such as Cimex pipistrelli (Europe), Cimex pilosellus (Western United States), and Cimex adjunctus (entire Eastern United States).
The name bed bug derives from the preferred habitat of Cimex lectularius: warm houses and especially near or inside beds or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night, but are not exclusively nocturnal. They usually feed on their hosts without being noticed.
A number of adverse health effects may result from bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. Bed bugs are not known to transmit any pathogens as disease vectors. Certain signs and symptoms suggest the presence of bed bugs; finding the adult insects confirms the diagnosis.
Bed bugs have been known as human parasites for thousands of years. At a point in the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have increased in prevalence since 1995, probably due to pesticide resistance, governmental bans on effective pesticides, and international travel. Because infestation of human habitats has begun to increase, bed bug bites and related conditions have also been on the rise.
Bed bugs occur around the world. Rates of infestations in developed countries while decreasing from the 1930s to the 1980s have increased dramatically since the 1980s. Previous to this they were common in the developing world but rare in the developed world. The increase in the developed world may have been caused by increased international travel, resistance to insecticides, and the use of new pest-control methods that do not affect bed bugs.
The fall in bed bug populations after the 1930s in the developed world is believed to be partly due to the usage of DDT to kill cockroaches, which are a natural predator of the bed bug. The invention of the vacuum cleaner and simplification of furniture design may have also played a role. Others believe it might simply be the cyclical nature of the organism.
Bed bugs are increasing in Europe, USA, Canada and Australia. The infestations have been occurring in a wide range of facilities in the developed world in recent years including: hotels (from backpacker to five star), overnight trains, private homes, cruise ships, schools, hospitals and homeless shelters. These infestations are occasionally of both types of bed bugs (common and tropical). The increased rates of infestations have been matched by increased media coverage. Pest management companies have also seen a many fold increase in calls regarding bed bugs during the 2000s.
Bed bugs have been reported in all 50 states. The U.S. National Pest Management Association reported a 71% increase in bed bug calls between 2000 and 2005. The Steritech Group, a pest-management company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, claimed that 25% of the 700 hotels they surveyed between 2002 and 2006 needed bed bug treatment. The resurgence led the United States Environmental Protection Agency to hold a National Bed Bug Summit in 2009.
Numbers of reported incidents in New York City rose from 500 in 2004 to 10,000 in 2009 mostly in Brooklyn area. In August, 2010, bed bugs were found in the Elle Fashion Hachette building in New York City. After suspected infestation, a beagle trained in sniffing bed bugs was used to confirm their presence. Office workers were told to work from home while the building was being treated. Although largely thought to only cause problems in less maintained and dirty environments, there is an increasing incidence of bed bugs for infesting indoor environments of high maintenance standards.
Bed Bug Life Cycle
Bed bugs have five immature nymph life stages and a final sexually mature adult stage. They shed their skins through ecdysis at each stage, discarding their outer exoskeleton, which is somewhat clear, empty exoskeletons of the bugs themselves. Bed bugs must molt six times before becoming fertile adults, and must consume at least one blood meal to complete each molt.
Each of the immature stages lasts about a week, depending on temperature and the availability of food, and the complete lifecycle can be completed in as little as two months (rather long compared to other ectoparasites). Fertilized females with enough food lay three to four eggs each day continually until the end of their lifespans (about nine months under warm conditions), possibly generating as many as 500 eggs in this time. Genetic analysis has shown that a single pregnant bed bug, possibly a single survivor of eradication, can be responsible for an entire infestation over a matter of weeks, rapidly producing generations of offspring.
Often itchy red swollen areas where the bite occurs. You may also feel a burning sensation several day after the bite on the skin. These bites are often mistaken for a mosquito or flea bites.
Prevention of Bed Bug infestation
Recognizing and knowing where to look is your best bet for prevention. Awareness of bed bugs and how they operate is the best way to prevent you from getting bed bugs in your home. Checking for bed bugs in your Hotel room, cruise ship cabin, second hand furniture and your luggage before bring it your home is critical
Bed bugs are often difficult to detect because of there behavior but knowing where to look is half the battle. A trained professional will only see 30 to 50 % of an infestation. They get behind walls under carpet behind base boards in furniture and bed frames.
Treatment for bed bugs.
Here at A&W turf and pest we utilize many different tools and product to eliminate bed bugs from your home. We find that heat remediation with chemical treatment seem to work best , but sometimes steam cleaning , pest vacuums, monitoring stations may also need to be used along with follow up inspections to eliminate this pest problem.