Bed bugs, everyone seems to be talking about bud bugs, why? Well, the numbers of these blood sucking pests have increased dramatically in recent years some reckon by as much as 5000% and because of their pesticide resistance, pest control experts are really struggling to get this massive infestation under control.
Our little vampire friends are flat, oval shaped and reddish brown in color, (this changes to dark brown and they swell after feeding.) They measure around 1/4 of an inch in length, they have 6 legs and are wingless. Large infestations will give off a distinctive odour often described as rotting raspberries.
The biggest problem with bed bugs or cimex lectularius to give them their proper name is they love hitching a ride in just about anything, so if you use public transport, stay in a hotel room or even a friends home you may return home with some unwanted guests stowed away in your clothing, purse, laptop or luggage there are even reports of bed bugs going to school in kids clothing!
The one good thing is that these blood suckers are not thought to transmit disease, however recently their has been a link made between bed bugs and “super bugs” like MRSA but don’t panic, scientists still have a lot of work to do on this.
For now the biggest risk is if you squish a full bed bug– do this and it will pop and splatter blood. Now, obviously, because they feed on human blood, should the blood be infected there is a possibility you too could become infected.
One thing you must remember is finding bed bugs in your home is no reflection on your cleanliness, all they are interested in is a regular meal.
That’s not to say that they can’t survive without food– did you know a bed bug can survive up to one year without eating? Normally they will fill up with your blood every three days or so.
How do they do it? These little vampires have piercing mouth parts which have adapted over time to allow them to feed on human blood (they will attack your pets too). As they pierce the skin they release an anticoagulant to allow the blood to flow more freely and make the whole process painless allowing you to sleep completely unaware you are being eaten alive!
You only have to bring home one tiny blood sucking pest to start an infestation. From the laying of the tiny white eggs– which are often likened to a grain of rice, through the nymph stage where the bugs look like a smaller version of an adult to full maturity only takes around four weeks providing the conditions are right and food is plentiful.
The first sign that you may have bed bugs will often be bed bug bites. They usually appear as skin rashes or red welts which are extremely itchy.
The reaction to bug bites will vary from person to person, some will suffer no reaction at all whilst a minority can display severe allergic symptoms.
In such cases medical treatment will be necessary. For those who do suffer incessant itching and discomfort an oral antihistamine or cream should ease the bite symptoms.
The best advise of all however, is DO NOT SCRATCH! as this could cause infection which again would require medical treatment.
Once you have established you have bed bugs what do your do? Remove bed sheets etc. and place them in a sealed plastic bag ready to be laundered then, closely inspect your mattress and furniture, cracks and crevices for any small blood stains (from squished bed bugs) or dark spots (faecal matter) now its time for action.
Call You local bedbug expert.