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Bed Bug Control

Attention ***** WE DO NOT OFFER BED BUG SERVICES*****

Bed Bug Biology

Bed bugs belong to the family Cimicidae of the insect order Hemiptera. This is the group of insects known as "True Bugs." There are 88 species of Cimicidae in the world. The species we are concerned about is the Cimex Lextualarius. This species is a pest of humans worldwide including the entire United States.

Adult bed bugs are about a 1/4 inch long, oval, reddish-brown and wingless. Their body is flat and they have long slender legs and antennae. They have a long, segmented proboscis that extends forward when the bug takes a blood meal. When at rest, the proboscis lies beneath the body and projects backwards between the legs. They are so well evolved that they can survive for months without a blood meal. Unlike a flea or mosquito the host does not feel anything when the bed bug is feeding. The effect of bug bites varies amoung people but they eventually produce red welts that itch. When a bed bug molts, it casts off its old skin. Some people will have an allergic reaction to the cast off skins.

Bed bugs develop from egg to adult through "Gradual Metamorphosis." This simply means there is no non-feeding pupal stage and the larvae look like smaller versions of the adult. There are five larval stages and each one requires a blood meal before molting into the next life cycle stage. Both the male and female feed on blood through out their lives. They typically feed at night when the host is asleep. However, they will feed during the day in dark structures such as  theatures with upholstered seats. The female is capable of laying 500 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs are laid singly in the same sites that harbor larva and adults. These sites are marked with yellowish to reddish-black specs and contain remnants of digested blood.

 

Myths

There is a common misconception that bed bug infestations only occure in poorly constructed and poorly maintained buildings with unsanitary conditions. This is not true. Bed bugs can thrive anywhere.

There is a stigma attached to bed bugs much the way stigma is attached to roaches and lice. This is foolish. Anyone can be infested with bed bugs. Recently, theaters have been closed for treatment. Airliners have been grounded and famous stores have been forced to close temporarily. Bed bugs are being carried into schools in children's book bags.

Bed bugs are not a vector for disease the way mosquitoes are even though they feed on blood of the host. At least 27 agents of human disease have been found in bed bugs, including viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasitic worms. None of these agents reproduce or multiply within the bed bugs, and very few survive for any length of time inside a bed bug. There is no evidence that bed bugs are involved in the transmission of any disease agents.

Leaving the lights on all night will not protect you from bed bugs if they are present. Yes, they are more active at night but will seek out a blood meal regardless of the light when triggered by our breathing (CO2) or body heat.

Preventing Bed bug Infestation

We have all heard "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." In the case of bed bugs this is certainly true. One of the primary reasons we are seeing a resurgence of bed bugs world wide is the increase of foreign and domestic travel for both business and recreation.

Bed bugs are nocturnal. However, they can be active during the day. They generally stay hidden in the tiniest places. Their hiding places include mattress tufts, bed frames and box springs, headboards, picture frames, HVAC ducts, light swiches and almost anywhere they can squeeze in. They are attracted to our body heat and the CO2 we exhale.

Bed bugs are world class hichhikers. they will crawl into the seams of your luggage, your clothing, purses, book bags, shoes and even your laptop.

Bud Bug Prevention When Traveling

Bed bugs can be found almost anywhere. The most exclusive five star hotels can become infested with these blood suckers. They can go undetected for months in hotels that cater to business travelers. Guests only stay for a couple of days and are likely to attribute the irritating bites to some other cause.

Tips for Travelers

Avoid setting your luggage, purse or briefcase on the bed or floor. Most hotels will have luggage racks that you can set your suit case on when packing or unpacking.  I recommend keeping your suitcase in the bathtub  when it is not in use.  Set your purse or briefcase on a table or desk.

Inspect the hangers provided very carefully before hanging your clothes. A wooden hanger has seven places a bed bug can hide and to the casual observer they will be nearly invisible because they blend into the color of the wood.  Visual inspection by a licensed pest control professional is considered to be only 30% accurate when the infestation is light.

Take blankets and sheets off the bed and inspect the mattress for any brown or red spots. They might be blood or excrement from bed bugs.  If you see what you believe are signs of bed bugs - tell the management.

Look behind picture frames, the headboard and around furniture. Bed bugs like small dark crevices often found in wood.

Upon returning, unpack directly into the laundry and wash on hot and then dry. Temperatures over 122 degrees farenheight will kill any bed bugs and bed bug eggs. Vacuum your luggage thoroughly and discard the bag.

If you are traveling to a city you know is in the top ten worst bed bug cities there are a number of products available for travelers including encasements for your pillow, mattress and even your suitcase.

Commercial spray disinfectants and botanical pesticides are available in travel size. When sprayed on the mattress and floor around the bed they can provide a barrier of protection and peace of mind.  Dr. Dini Miller told us at the National Pest Management form there will soon be a product available on the market that should deter bed bugs, but she was not at liberty to disclose the name.

Precautions at Home

Early detection is key to limiting a bed bug infestation.  Use a protective cover that encases mattresses and box springs. This will eliminate many hiding places and the light color makes seeing blood or fecal spots easier. There are several encasements on the market. Be sure to purchase a high quality encasement that will resist tearing. Regularly check for holes and signs of bedbugs.

You can place "climb ups" under the legs of your bed or near the bed.  This is a passive monitor that will capture a bed bug attempting to climb up onto your bed or departing after a blood meal.

When purchasing furniture, beds and couches, check for any signs of bed bug infestation before bringing them home. This is especially important if the furniture is secondhand.

Reduce clutter in your home to reduce higing places for bed bugs.

The best course of action would be to call Natural Pest Solutions for a free inspection.

Controlling Bed bugs

Bed bugs hide very well and visual inspection can be unreliable when attempting to detect low level infestations.  Even if you are careful, there is still a change you will be infested with bed bugs.

Early detection and aggressive treatment are critical. There are several products available to homeowners and we will recommend a number of these for continued protection after the infestation is eliminated. However, we suggest you not try to solve the problem yourself. Even for professional exterminators, bed bugs can be one of the most challenging pests to eliminate.

Preparing for a Bed Bug Treatment

Bed bug control is one of those jobs that absolutely require home owner cooperation.   Following a thorough inspection the inspector may request some or all of the following:

1. Purchase large plastic containers with tight fitting lids to remove items you want to keep that will require special treatment such as toys or electronics.

2. Remove clutter which can be disposed of such as cardboard or bags. Seal them in strong plastic bags and dispose of them outside the house.

3. Remove bedding and wash in hot water or dry-cleaned.  If the infestation is very heavy the inspector may request removal and cleaning of clothing in closets and drawers. Do not carry items through the house in open laundry baskets.  You may infest rooms that are currently clear. Dissolvable laundry bags are available on the internet or you can use closed plastic containers.

4. Vacuum the entire room thoroughly, paying special attention to areas bed bugs like to hide such as carpet edges. Our inspector will give you insecticidal dust consisting of boric acid and diatomaceous earth. Vacuum this dust into the bag to kill bed bugs captured by the vacuum. Use your attachments to get close where walls meet the floor. Vacuum the mattress, box spring and the inside of dressers.  Vacuum draperies that are near the bed or other infested areas.  Carefully dispose of the bag outside the house when you are done.