Why do I need to know about bed bugs?

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Since the banning of DDT, the magic bullet that wiped out bed bugs in the 1930s, there has been no miracle treatment for the pests.The global Bed bug epidemic is evidence. Proactive education is the most important step in preventing and exterminating bed bug infestation.It is easier and cheaper to exterminate bed bugs when it is detected in the early stage. The more you know about bed bugs the better it is to comply with effective protocols in bed bug management and prevention.

Common Bed Bugs: Facts and Identification

  1. Latin Name: Cimex Lectularius
  2. Genus: Cimex
  3. Family: Cimicidae (cimicids)
  4. Species: lectularius
  5. Order: Hemiptera
  6. Phylum: Arthropoda
  7. Kingdom: Animali

Origin

Cimex lectularius may have originated in the Middle East in Caves inhabited by Bats and Humans.

Description

Adult bed bugs light brown to reddish brown, flattened oval shape structure, about 4 – 5 mm in length and 1.5 – 3 mm wide, about the size of an apple seed; swollen and reddish after a blood meal.

Preferred habitat

Houses, especially beds and other areas where people sleep

Habits

Hides in cracks and crevices including mattress seams, behind head board, base board, electrical outlet plates and in furniture; exclusively nocturnal, attracted to CO2, feeds on blood, releases anaesthetic from saliva when feeding.

Life cycle

3 stages in the life cycle: eggs, nymph, adult.

Adaptations and defences .Detects CO2 to locate host, senses warmth from the host’s body, releases anticoagulant when feeding to prevent blood clot.

Health effects

Skin rashes, allergic symptoms, emotional and psychological effects.

Bed Bug Inspection – The Room

 A thorough bed bug inspection is important for two reasons: to determine the extent of the infestation and it’s the best way to manage bed bugs. Adult and juvenile bed bugs can hide in very small spaces.Move slowly to avoid disturbing the pests during a bed bug inspection. Throughout the bed bug inspection, especially in low infestation, keep in mind the bed bugs will stay close to the bed.Items away from the host’s resting area tend to be at low risk of infestation. To focus inspection and treatment time to the most infested areas, determine and prioritize the risk of infestation on a scale of high or low.To avoid injury from hidden sharp objects carefully observe the surface before touching anything.

You need these tools to conduct the bed bug inspection:

  • a magnifying glass
  • a strong flashlight
  • paper towel
  • a probe tool (e.g. thin knife) to check cracks and crevices
  • screw drivers to remove electrical plate and light switch
  • a small tool kit to disassemble furniture
  • a zip top plastic bag to collect specimens
  • compressed air to flush bed bugs from cracks and crevices
  • alcohol and baby wipes to check stains on sheet and mattress
  • cotton swabs to check stains in crevices
  • sticky traps near or underneath the bed to monitor bed bug activity.

Some bed bugs wander to a new harbourage when the primary harbourage (the bed) gets overcrowded so check other areas inside the room. Check other equipment and furniture inside the room. This includes desk, closet, dresser, dresser drawers, chairs, night stands etc.Remove and empty drawers in night stands, dresser and closet. Place contents in black bin bags and seal tightly before transporting them to the laundry room.Inspect inside and underneath the drawers paying special attention to cracks and crevices. Use the crevice tool to force bed bugs out of cracks and crevices in furniture.Remove drawers from the furniture. Check the inside, top and bottom joints, the underside and in screw holes. Check zippers, seams and tufts in cushions of upholstered furniture and frame.Force bed bugs from other cracks and crevices inside the room with a putty knife. Use sticky tape to catch them or crush them in paper towel, place the towel in a bag and seal it tightly and dispose of it in the outdoor garbage bin.

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