Bed bugs are parasitic insects that only feed on blood. The common bedbug prefers human blood and is mainly active at night, but is not exclusively nocturnal. 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 although bed bugs can be infected with at least 28 human pathogens, no studies have found to show that the insects are capable of transmitting any of these to humans. Bedbugs use pheromones and kairomones to communicate regarding nesting locations, feeding, and reproduction, and will obtain all the additional moisture they need from water vapour in the surrounding air. Bed bugs are attracted to their hosts primarily by carbon dioxide, secondarily by warmth, and also by certain chemicals. They have mouthparts that saw through the skin, and inject saliva with anticoagulants and painkillers. Although under certain cool conditions adult bed bugs can live for over a year without feeding, under typically warm conditions they try to feed at 5 – 10 day intervals, and adults can survive for about five months without food.
After mating, females lay white, oval eggs (1/16′′ long) into cracks and crevices. The eggs hatch in about 6 – 10 days and the newly emerged bed bug nymphs seek a blood meal. The full lifecycle can be completed in as little as two months. Fertilised females with enough food lay three to four eggs each day continually until the end of their lifespan (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 can be responsible for an entire infestation over a matter of weeks, rapidly producing generations of offspring. Immature nymphs will malt five times (they shed their outer exoskeleton in order to grow) before reaching adulthood. There may be three or more generations per year. All ages are found in a reproducing population.
Diet: feed exclusively on blood
Size: Adults grow to 4–5 mm
Habitat: warm houses and especially near or inside beds and bedding
Scientific name: Cimex lectularius
• At a point in the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have increased in prevalence since 1995, likely due to pesticide resistance, governmental bans on effective pesticides, and international travel.
We always recommend calling us, the professionals due to the difficulty in eradicating bed bugs. An insecticide spray is used that remains active for weeks after treatment. Below are some possible self-help options that ‘’may’’ reduce the infestation.
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You can use your washing machine and dryer to kill bed bugs infesting on clothes and other washable items. Clothes laundered in hot water and/or dried in temperatures hotter than 60°C for 20 minutes will kill all life stages of bed bugs. This is typically the medium-high setting. You can also heat curtains and other fabrics, rugs, shoes, backpacks, stuffed animals, toys and similar objects by drying them at medium-high for about 30 minutes for a full load.
Cold temperatures can kill bed bugs if they are exposed to it long enough and at temperatures that are cold enough. All stages of bed bugs will be killed on objects left in a freezer at 0°F for 3 days. Putting infested furniture outdoors during winter when it is cold may kill some bed bugs, but there is no guarantee that you will kill all of them.
Vacuuming helps to quickly capture and contain bed bugs. Vacuum crevices around baseboards, electronic items (such as TVs and stereos) and any other likely hiding places, such as beds, couches, bedframes, and dressers. If using a canister vacuum, immediately empty the contents into a plastic bag, seal and throw away. Clean the vacuum thoroughly. If using a vacuum with a bag, immediately remove the bag and seal in plastic for disposal. Check the vacuum for any remaining bugs and kill them to avoid spreading the bed bugs further.
Washing is a very effective method to treat items that can be placed in the washing machine or dryer. Collect linens and dirty clothes and seal in plastic bags until they can be washed to decrease the chance of spreading bed bugs. Use the highest temperature the fabric can withstand for washing and drying. If an item cannot be washed, dry it for 30 minutes at the highest temperature the item can withstand.
Steaming is a very effective method, if done correctly. Use a commercial steamer with a minimum capacity of 1 gallon, preferably with a volume control. A floor or upholstery attachment allows steam to penetrate the fabric of furniture or drapes. To effectively kill bed bugs, the surface temperature of the object being treated should be 160-180°F immediately after the steam brush has passed. Use an infrared thermometer to monitor the temperature. Use care because steam can cause burns.
Mattress covers prevent bed bugs from hiding in the mattress, a prime location for the bugs and difficult to treat. If a mattress is infested, cover it to contain the bed bugs which will start to die after 2 weeks but leave the cover on for at least 18 months. In addition, mattress covers can easily be cleaned if a new infestation occurs. Purchase a mattress cover that is labeled specifically for bed bugs as covers designed only to reduce allergens may not stop bed bugs.
Insecticides are an important part of bed bug control as it is common for individual bed bugs to move away from the main infestation site to another site. Use all insecticides carefully and according to the label. It is highly recommended that you hire a Pest Management Professional to apply the appropriate insecticides. Do not try to treat a bed bug infestation with insecticides labelled for other insects which can cause the bed bugs to disperse and increase the area infested.