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What Is a Bed Bug?

Are Bed Bugs Real?

Yes Bed Bugs are real and they are here! Bed Bugs have been around for centuries, but up until ten years ago they were all but a distant thought in the minds of Americans. For the past ten years the resurgence of Bed bugs across the United has reached levels so staggering that is has risen to become the most significant pest threat of the 21st century.

What are bed bugs?

Bed Bugs have been called "the vampires of the insect world", because of their piercing mouthparts, which they use to feed on the blood of human and animals. Bed Bugs pierce the skin of its host with two piercing hollow tubes. One tube injects its saliva, which contains anticoagulants and anesthetics, while with the other sucks the blood. Feedings generally last about five minutes. When done eating Bed Bugs will generally return to its hiding place.

Bed Bug Facts

  • Bed Bugs are small insects that solely feed on the blood of humans & animals.
  • Adult Bed Bugs are about 1/4 inch long, reddish brown, with oval, flattened Bodies.
  • Bed Bugs are generally thought to be nocturnal, because they generally feed at night; however, they have been known to feed at any time of day, if the opportunity presents itself.
  • Bed Bugs are attracted to warmth and Carbon Dioxide- which is another reason they tend to bite while we sleep.
  • Female Bed Bugs lay their eggs up to five times a day and 500 during a lifetime.
  • Bed Bug eggs are very small, white in color, and are difficult to see. (Almost half of the size of a grain of rice.
  • Hatchling Bed Bugs are about the size of a poppy seed and are relatively translucent.
  • Certain kinds of Bed Bugs inhabit bird nests and bat roosts.

Bed Bug Identification

Early detection of Bed Bugs can be very difficult. Bed Bugs hide very well and in early infestations eggs and young Bed Bugs are difficult to locate. The following are some helpful guidelines for identifying Bed Bugs:
  • A likely sign of bed bugs are rusty or reddish spots of blood on bed sheets, mattresses, or walls.
  • Another likely symptom of Bed Bugs are reddish, itchy spots that appear anywhere on your body- especially warmer exposed areas. Reactions to Bed Bug bites vary between from a mild itchy welt to a more severe rash like symptom.
    • Typical reactions are similar to Mosquito bites
    • Bites also often appear in rows of 3-4 welts or more.
  • Heavily used hiding places are evident by black or brown spots of dried blood excrement on the surfaces where the bugs rest, like your bed.
  • Eggs, eggshells, and cast skins (molted exoskeleton of Bed Bugs) may be found near these places.
  • Bed bugs generally prefer to hide close to where they feed; however a thorough inspection of all areas is necessary to properly identify a Bed Bug problem.
  • Early infestations are generally found around the tufts, seams, and folds of mattresses; however, as bed bugs multiply, they infest window and door casings; can be found behind and in picture frames; within moldings, furniture, loosened wallpaper, baseboards; inside switch plates and outlets, along and under the edge of carpeting; and inside clocks, phones, televisions and smoke detectors.
  • As infestation grows, Bed Bugs will spread to adjacent rooms or apartments.

How did you get Bed Bugs?

Bed Bugs are generally found in areas like dormitories and hotels- places where items such as furniture and bedding are commonly shared. Bed Bugs are not the result of old furniture or mattresses. A brand new mattress can potentially be infested by Bed Bugs just as easily as an old mattress.
  • Bed Bugs are efficient Hitchhikers and are generally transported on the clothing and baggage of travelers or visitors.
  • Most of those who have been affected by Bed Bugs picked them up in hotels during domestic and overseas travel.
  • Recently, we have seen the proliferation in sales of secondhand beds, mattresses, bedding materials, and furniture. This increase in secondhand purchases has now emerged to be the second major causal factor for the spread of Bed Bugs.
  • Even laundry services, airlines, and moving company blankets have been shown to occasionally transfer Bed Bugs
  • Those who live in areas where they are in close proximity to others such as: Apartments, College Dorms, Hostels, etc. are at higher risk for contracting Bed Bug

Why Bed Bug Resurgence?

Due to large-scale treatments with insecticides like DDT, Bed Bugs were all but eradicated from North America during the 1940s and 50s. However, after nearly half a decade pause in activity, the number of Bed Bug incidents steadily began to grow. In the last ten years Bed bug incidents in the United States have increased by 500 percent.

There are many theories as to why Bed Bugs have repopulated so fiercely in the past few years, aside from the banning of DDT. We believe that the shift in pest control treatments worldwide is the leading reason for the sharp increase in Bed Bug activity. In the past, pest control technicians would regularly treat hotel rooms, homes, and apartments with residual insecticides- especially around cracks, crevices, and baseboards. However, due to a major shift in pest control practices during the 1990's, the use of routine residual treatments were substituted with targeted baiting for specific pests. As a result the Bed Bugs that normally would have been eliminated before spreading, were therefore able to find abundant opportunities to increase their numbers and spread through society.

Additionally, we find that their continued success is a result of the increase in travel, especially foreign; the popularity of selling used furniture online, and the lack of public awareness.

The Dangers Of Bed Bugs

Although Bed Bugs have been found to carry over 28 disease pathogens, there is no conclusive evidence to show that they spread theses diseases. The biggest dangers related to Bed Bug Infestations are the uncomfortable bites, rapid spread, and immense emotional and psychological pressure.
  • Bed Bugs, unlike most other blood feeding insects, will consume blood from the time they hatch until they die.
  • A single Bed bug can bite several times a night, causing numerous skin irritations.
  • Small children and babies can have severe skin reactions to bites.
  • As previously stated Bed Bugs bread rapidly and spread easily. Once Bed Bugs infest an area they can very easily spread to neighbors, friends, and family.
  • It has been shown that a Bed Bug can live off of a single blood meal for almost 1 year! That means they can feed off of you just once and survive for a year before feeding again.

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