Pest Spotlight: Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are a small parasitic insect that exclusively feeds on blood. Bed bugs are mainly active at night but not completely nocturnal. The best known bed bug is the common bed bug as it prefers to feed on human blood. The need for human blood is why it can cause so many problems for people. Bed bugs can cause allergic reactions, skin rashes, and have psychological effects on their human victims. Since 1995 bed bug infestations have been on the rise as more homes are built, and more people travel or spend nights in other people’s homes.

bed-bugs-on-my-skinThe life cycle of a bed bug has 3 stages; the egg stage, the nymph stage, and the adult stage. A single female bed bug may produce 500 offspring in its lifetime. Eggs are usually in clusters of 50 and hatch after 1-2 weeks. After the eggs hatch they become nymphs. This stage can last anywhere from 3 weeks in ideal climate to months in cooler temperature. For a nymph to mature into an adult it must molt 5 times, to molt a nymph must have a blood meal.  Finally the bed bug becomes a mature adult. An adult bed bug can live approximately 10 months, although they can live longer.

Newly hatched bed bugs or nymphs, are translucent or lighter in colour. As they mature and become adult bed bugs they feed and molt becoming light brown or reddish brown. Adult bed bugs can grow to 4-5mm in length and 1.5-3mm wide and have a flattened oval shape. Bed bugs are commonly mistaken on sight for other insects like book lice, small cockroaches, and carpet beetles. However, when warm and active a bed bug’s movement appears to be more ant like in nature.

bed_bug_14So what causes bed bugs? How did they get into the home? Well bed bugs can be brought into a home many ways, some are never known for sure. For example a visiting person or pet can bring them in through clothing of luggage. Infested items like clothing or furniture, especially if purchased used is another way to bring in bed bugs. When nearby homes (for example the apartment beside you) is infested with bed bugs, they can travel through cracks and crevices to your home. Even when you yourself visit an infested area like a hotel, another person’s home, the subway or movie theatre there is a chance of bringing home bed bugs. Since there are so many ways to get bed bugs, and so many places for them to hide within your home it is best to eradicate them, all of them as soon as you can. bedbug_group


One Response to “Pest Spotlight: Bed Bugs”

  1. I love it when folks come together and share views. Great
    website, stick with it!

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