Everything you need to know about bedbugsOctober 7, 2018
Cimex lectularius, also known as the common bedbug, is the most covert blood sucking vermin. This six-legged parasitic insect feeds exclusively on human blood and has caused a lot of nuisance around the world. In the early 1940s, bedbugs were almost eradicated in the developed world but the population drastically increased in the 1990s. The reasons behind the rise in infestation included pesticide resistance and government bans on particular pesticides. Moreover, the advancements in air travel led to globalisation and bedbugs were able to hitch rides in passengers’ luggage and clothes. New reports have recorded a significant rise of bedbug infestations in Australia. With the menace at hand, here is everything you need to know about bedbugs.
How bedbugs look
Most people have never seen a bedbug. Even those with infestations don’t know how these vermin look like. Bedbugs are skilled covert parasites and their presence often goes unnoticed. Adult bedbugs are reddish-brown to light brown with a flat, oval body, and no hind wings. The front wings are reduced to pad-like structures that are vestigial. The abdomen of a bedbug is segmented with a banded appearance. However, all these morphological features go unnoticed due to the small size of bedbugs. On average bedbugs are 5 millimetres long and 3 millimetres wide. After a blood meal, a bedbug nymph of any age has a bloodshot, translucent abdomen. It fades to brown over the subsequent hours, and to solid black within twenty-four hours as the bug digests its blood meal.
What bedbugs like
Bedbugs have been human parasites throughout written history. Their adaptation to human victims is so advanced that their bites often go unnoticed. Bedbugs are attracted by the warmth of our bodies and the carbon dioxide we breathe out. They feed on the blood of animals and people. Bat bugs feed on the blood from bats while other seek out birds. A bedbug’s desire for blood forces them to seek warm hosts. At night, these insects creep out of their hiding spots and climb on to your sleeping area. While you enjoy your slumber, they feast on your blood. Their feeding technique is so advanced that you cannot feel their bite in your sleep.
Where bedbugs hide
The reason most people don’t know they have a bedbug infestation is that bedbugs are good at hiding. Bedbugs carry out covert operations that involve a successful blood meal and going undetected. If you want to find a bedbug you have to know where to look. As the name suggests, bedbugs are mainly found on or around beds. However, they prefer nooks and crannies that are out of sight. The mattress tufts, seams and folds provide a good hiding spot. Corners and crevices on the bed are also great alternatives for bedbugs. These bugs prefer being close to their host. Aside from the bed, bedbugs can be found in recliners, couches, and even office chairs. They hide between seat cushions, under the furniture and where the fabric meets the legs of the furniture. Edges of baseboards and carpet are also hiding spots.
How bedbugs survive
Bedbugs are relentless parasites. Getting rid of an infestation requires a lot of professional, meticulous pest management operations. Unlike other parasites, bedbugs can go months without feeding. They don’t require a regular blood meal although they are obligatory hematophagous insects. Adults can survive up to five months without a blood meal. Bedbugs are renowned for undetectable feeding techniques that keep them safe. Their mouthparts are designed to saw through the skin and inject saliva. The saliva is rich in anticoagulants and painkillers to ensure a painless, unlimited supply of fresh blood. Bedbugs can survive a wide range of temperature conditions. Below 160C, adult bedbugs go into semi-hibernation and they can survive up to a week at temperatures of -100C. Moreover, bedbugs have a high desiccation tolerance.
How to get rid of bedbugs
Handling a pest control requires professional input. The right pesticides have to be used due to the increased resistance. Moreover, the process has to be thorough. Every nook and cranny has to be covered for effective pest control. Bedbugs reproduce very fast, therefore, any sign of infestation is a cause for alarm. More often than, an extermination operation will require the premises to be evacuated. If you find bedbugs in your room, there is a high probability they are all over the house. Moreover, an infestation may force you to get rid of old clothes and beddings. Keeping everything clean and in order is paramount to the prevention of bedbugs. Follow up is central to the management of bedbug infestation. The first phase of the extermination process may be successful but a handful of bedbug survival is a prelude to a much bigger infestation. If you have bedbugs call professional exterminators for effective management.