Yes, Bed Bugs are Out There…But There is No Need to Panic
Everything you didn't want to know about bed bugs and MORE!
Originally, they were cave dwellers and fed off bats. Bed bugs have been around for thousands of years and references can be found in ancient writings of Egyptians and the Greeks.
Bed bugs were a common house hold pest in the US during the early 20th century. They were eliminated from North America after World War II using DDT. That’s right, no bed bugs were around in Canada, but unfortunately, they have made their way back. In the US, it is believed that the Gulf War in the 1980’s was the initial resurgence of bed bugs in North America. Over the past ten years they have become a serious problem in our major cities. In our area, Toronto and Hamilton are the hot spots. Though they have been found in hotels, apartments, hospitals, theaters, schools, libraries, most of the problem is in social housing.
These pests are blood feeders and the primary host are humans. Now the good news is that there has not been any reported disease transmission from bed bugs in North America. Mosquito bites carry a greater risk to human health then bed bug bites. Although each person reacts differently to a bite it is important to seek medical attention if a rash or swelling occurs.
Bed Bugs do not fly or jump and infestations are not related to hygiene or sanitation. They are unfortunately great hitch-hikers. Bed bugs are spread by passive transition. People mostly come in contact with them in sleeping or resting quarters as they feed at night or in dim light. Normally, 80% of bed bugs are found in bed rooms and of that 90% are located on the bed; bedding, mattress, box spring, head board and bed frame. The other common areas are night tables, curtains of window near the bed and under the base board around the bed. Couches and chairs are the additional potential contact areas.
Adult Bed Bugs
Bed bugs have a gradual metamorphosis development and the life cycle takes 4 to 5 weeks. Nymphs are almost clear in colour and adult are a reddish brown. The colouring also depends on when the bug has had a blood meal. An adult is about 5 to 6 mm in length or about the size of a small apple seed. Under normal conditions they can live from 4 months to a year. In that time a female will lay 2 to 5 eggs per day until 250 or more have been laid.
As mentioned, they are night feeders, but will adjust to the host lifestyle. For example, if a person works nights and sleeps during the day, they will feed in the day time. Once fed they will hide for a day or two digesting its meal. Their bites are usually linear and one feeding may leave several bite marks as the bug usually samples the tissue before ingesting the blood.
Bed Bug Bites
The odds of encountering bed bugs are very small, unless you are an exterminator. The highest risk to most people is travel and hotel stays. If you do travel for business on a regular basis, and are concerned where you are staying, then check the bed before you get too comfortable. I usually do a quick check by lifting off the corners of the bedding and looking for evidence; live bugs, fecal staining on the mattress and box spring. Because bed bugs only have blood meals, they poop out blood fecal mater. It usually creates small dark stains on the mattress like dots made from a pen that is tapped on a piece of paper. If the infestation is bad then you will get large areas of this type of staining. But in a hotel, I have never seen it this severe as they usually have a bed bug protocol which the cleaning staff follow. Also do not place your luggage on the bed, use the luggage stand or place it in the closet.
If for some unfortunate reason, you do bring these little pests into your home don’t panic. Try and determine how they came in; luggage, house guest, nap sack, or used furniture purchase so you can isolate and contain the situation. As difficult as this may be, it is recommended that everyone should continue to sleep in their own beds to prevent spreading through out the house. Start to vacuum the bedrooms, mattress and box spring and launder the bedding. If your bed bug hitch-hiker was a male, you may be able to get rid of the problem yourself. However if it is a female and has started to lay eggs, then if will be a bigger task where you may need to seek professional help.
Safe Guard has a three-visit bed bug treatment protocol where vacuuming, steaming and chemicals are applied. We also install bed moats on all beds that have regular bed frames and can provide encasements as well. It should be noted that the steamers we use are commercial grade and generate 240⁰F which kill all cycles of bed bugs.
There are also items that you can purchase such as bed bug traps, mattress and box spring encasements, bed moats and insect monitors if you think you may have come in contact with bed bugs but no evidence has surfaced.
Bed Bug Monitor
Bed Bug Moat
Bed Bug Mattress and Box Spring Encasement
Some over the counter products can be useful as direct contact killers, but there is nothing you can purchase that has a chemical active ingredient that professionals use. Its just not out there, unless you purchase something illegally online.
If you do need to purchase a product then I would recommend DX13. I have some challenges with their product statements on their web site but this is a Canadian product available to the consumer which I have used. As with any product please read and follow the instructions carefully. Additional Information can be found at www.dx13.ca.
For additional information please see our web site at SAFEGUARD247.CA or email firstname.lastname@example.org.