Bedbugs find their way into your home through clothing, furniture, luggage and other items brought in from outside. Their flattened bodies help them crawl into the tiniest of spaces to avoid detection. These tiny oval shaped insects that are brown in colour feed on blood from humans and other warm-blooded animals.
Their bite may not be painful initially but might later cause skin irritation for some people.
Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_bug – “Bed bug, Cimex lectularius” by Piotr Naskrecki
Being nocturnal, bed bugs only come out at night to feed – quite convenient huh? Anyway, it is this fact that makes them very hard to notice. You might have them in your home and not know it. There are ways however that you can identify a bed bug infestation.
Faecal matter on your mattresses and furniture is one of the tell-tale signs. Although they do not build nests, bed bugs seem to cluster together, with the cluster producing an unpleasant sweet smell. Blood stains on your bedding could also indicate an infestation.
What is a bed bug’s lifecycle?
Once the female mates – which involves a weird form of copulation called ‘traumatic insemination’ in which the male pierces the female’s abdomen and injects sperm into her body cavity – the female lays her eggs in sheltered locations. These locations include spaces under the baseboard, mattress seams and crevices in box springs. A female bed bug can lay about five eggs per day.
The laid eggs hatch in about four to twelve days. Out will emerge nymphs in their first instar. These nymphs will undergo five moults before maturing into adults. The nymphs, which resemble an adult bed bug but smaller, will require to feed before each moult.
Although bed bugs are parasites, both adults and nymphs don’t reside on the host’s body and will go back to their hiding spot once they have had their meal. It takes a bed bug between 5-10 minutes to fully feed. An adult bed bug will live for 6-12 months and can survive for extended periods without feeding.
How to control bed bugs?
Prevention is key to warding off a bed bug infestation: it’s easier and won’t require as much effort as dealing with a full blown infestation. Some of the things you can do to keep these bugs out are:
1. Closely examining any second-hand items before taking them into your house such as furniture, bedding and beds.
2. Keeping your luggage off the floor when travelling. Place it on something to prevent contamination.
3. Repairing cracks in your house and glueing down any loose wallpaper as these may provide hiding places for bed bugs.
4. Vacuuming your house regularly including furniture, walls, mattresses and other surfaces to get rid of eggs and mature bugs.
5. Isolating your luggage until you wash the clothes and bag. Make sure to dry them on the highest temperature for about fifteen minutes.
To help you prevent bed bug infestation and exterminate those that have already set up base in your home, Pestrol has developed a range of easy to use and effective products.