Bed bugs are the small, oval shaped, non flying insects that are grouped under the family Cimicidae consisting of 3 insect species that bite people. They feed themselves by sucking blood from animals and humans. While adult bed bugs are reddish brown in color, the nymph bed bugs are clear but appear red after sucking someone’s blood.
Where they are found
Bed bugs were common in the United States during and before World War II but disappeared during the 1940s and 1950s after widespread use of DDT to eradicate them. Their numbers have increased once more, possibly due to widespread immigration and travelers coming from other countries as well as curtailing the use of strong pesticides like DDT.
They are found in crowded living quarters, unsanitary conditions or if large numbers of mammals like bats and birds are nesting nearby.
Bed bugs are capable of surviving in any room of the house and usually reside in cracks and crevices. Upholstered furniture, carpet edges, textiles, furniture such as dressers, wicker furniture etc can be infested with bed bugs.
Bed bugs are also commonly found in areas where people sleep and you can find them concentrated in bed mattresses, bed frames, box springs etc. You can also find them in wallpaper cracks, especially near the beds.
Spread of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs can survive in any furniture article, bedding, clothing etc. Their eggs may also be present there. They may spread by crawling on their own and may infest other rooms in the house or even other houses in an apartment building. They may also be carried if furniture, clothing or bedding is shifted from one room to the other or from one residence to the other. Bed bugs are quite resilient and can survive for months without feeding.
Detecting Bed Bugs
You can detect bed bugs by trying to identify fecal stains, exuviae (shed skins) and egg cases in cracks and crevices on or near beds. You can look for bed bugs under wall paper, couches, behind picture frames, bed springs, articles of clothing etc. A pest control professional will be helpful in determining if you home has bed bugs.
Prevention of Bed Bugs
- Avoid going near bed bug infested areas
- Sealing mattresses in preventive casing
- Frequent examination of premises for bed bugs by self or pest control expert.
Symptoms of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs bite and feed on the blood of humans. They are mainly active during the night when people are sleeping and can bite any exposed part of the body. Hands, neck, face, arms and legs are the common areas where bed bugs bite. The bed bug bite can sometimes go unnoticed and is quite painless. Bed bug bites can be observed as small, raised or flat bumps present on the skin. They may show signs of redness, itching or swelling. Once the bite is scratched vigorously, it may become infected. A peculiar thing about bed bug bites is that you can find several of them lined in a row.
It is a possibility that they are the vectors of Chagas disease or American trypanosomiasis.
Treatment of Bed Bugs
Bites of bed bugs do not require any treatment as such. If a person experiences severe itching, oral anti histamines or steroid creams may be prescribed for relief. It is only the secondary bacterial infections which manifest after severely scratching the areas which may require the administering of anti biotics.
Getting rid of bed Bugs
This requires the expertise of a pest control professional who may recommend the usage of various low odor sprays, aerosols and insecticides to get rid of bed bugs. These are applied in all those places where bed bugs have been detected or may hide.