Bed Bugs

Don’t let the bedbugs bite!

Bedbugs are bloodsucking insects and the blood they suck is yours. Rarely, will they use a pet as a host. They are usually nocturnal, active at night just before dawn, with a peak feeding period 1 - 2 hours before sunrise. Bed Bugs may attempt to feed at other times and have been observed feeding during the day. The heavier the infestation, the greater chance of seeing bed bugs during the daylight hours. They reach their host by walking, or sometimes climb the walls to the ceiling and drop down on the host when they feel a heat source. Bedbugs are attracted to their hosts by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide when we exhale.

Bed Bugs thrive in places with high occupancy, such as hotels. Bed Bugs were believed to be eradicated about 50 years ago with the use of DDT, a product that has been since discontinued. Bedbug infestations have risen throughout the world. The reason for this re-infestation worldwide is due to increased international travel. A female bed bug can lay more than 200 - 500 eggs in her lifetime. Newly hatched bed bugs are nearly colorless and very hard to spot. They try to feed every 5 to 10 days. Recent studies have shown that bed bugs can live from 6 – 18 months without a blood host. Bedbugs that are actively feeding usually live 6 – 10 months.

Bed Bugs do not really bite you. The bedbug has two tubes. It injects its saliva and an anesthetic with one of its tubes, while sucking blood with the other tube. The bedbug returns to its hiding place after feeding for about 5 minutes. The “bite”, or injection site, is usually not felt because of the anesthetic that was injected. However, the bites may cause itching hours later. People react differently to bedbugs. Since people react differently, the mere presence of itchy welts is not the sole indicator of bedbugs. It is possible for an initial infestation within a household to go undetected until other evidence is found.

Well fed adult bed bugs can be up to a quarter of an inch long (about the size of a pencil eraser),

typically dark brown with a flattened body.  Bed bugs are nocturnal, coming out at night to feed and staying well hidden during daylight hours. As the bug feeds on your blood, its abdomen swells and the bug will take on a reddish or deeper brown color.

Bed bug complaints are on the rise worldwide.  They were a common problem prior to 1950. After 1950, they pretty much disappeared from commonly treated pests. In the past few years they have re-emerged as a very common, difficult pest to deal with. Bed-bugs are found in all types of locations such as motels, apartments, beach rentals, park cabins, private homes, homeless shelters, schools, theaters, etc. Factors that have contributed in their re-emergence are increased international travel, the discontinued use of DDT, the move to insecticides with a shorter residual life, and a more specific approach in the way insecticides may be used.

Bed bugs are excellent ‘hitchhikers’ and spread very easily by hitching a ride on luggage, linens, clothing or any other item transported from one place to another. Once acquired at a locations, the now hitchhiking bed bugs may then be transported and brought back to the homes of the guests in their luggage, clothing, etc. where a new infestation can then take place inside the home. Because they are such prolific breeders, a few bugs can easily become an infestation in a relatively short period of time.  Although they may initially stay close to their food source, such as a bed, as their numbers increase they can be found throughout the home. They will travel up to 20 feet to their host.