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What you need to know about Bed Bugs

If you’re experiencing itchy red bumps that turn into welts on your skin, you may be dealing with bed bugs.

These pests are extremely common in households and hotels alike, so if you suspect an infestation in your home or place of work, then it might be time for action.

early signs of bed bugs

You might wonder what the attributes of bed bugs are – what they look like, where they hide, and how to detect and prevent them from multiplying. Don’t let these destructive little critters ruin your sleeping environment. Read on to discover all the key knowledge about bed bugs!

Bed Bugs – What Are They?

Key Points on Bed Bugs
If you’re experiencing itchy red bumps that turn into welts on your skin, you may be dealing with bed bugs.
Bed bugs are small, flat-bodied insects that feed on blood. 
There are five main species of bed bugs that closely resemble each other.
Skin reactions caused by bed bug bites can range from mild itching and irritation to severe, localized swelling and inflammation.
Investing in regular professional pest inspections every few months could also save you from a major headache later down the road.

Bed bugs are small, flat-bodied insects that feed on blood. Because of their ability to hide in the tiniest of cracks and crevices, they can be difficult to detect. They exist almost anywhere human activities take place, including residences, schools, and hospitals.

They may enter your home through luggage, used furniture, or clothing previously exposed to an infested area. Recognizing signs of infestations is essential in spotting and controlling these pests before they spread throughout your home or business. 

As adults, they are visible, rusty brown, and between 3-5 mm long; adults also have wings but do not fly. When they feed on humans, they leave a red welt that can be quite itchy.

History Of Bed Bugs

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Bed bugs have a long and complicated history. Allegedly, they first appeared on Earth 100 million years ago already. They continued to spread out and evolve throughout the continents, developing different species of bed bugs.

While we usually associated them with unclean environments, wealthy people also experienced infestations – due to wealth leading to increased travel and trading. During World War II, these creatures experienced a resurgence due to the evacuation and movement of countless people across Europe.

In more recent times, however, bed bugs have achieved a resurgence due to changes in insecticide compositions and a lack of knowledge about how dangerous bed bugs can be if left untreated.

The Appearance Of Bed Bugs

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Bedbugs have a flattened, oval-shaped body that is reddish-brown and are approximately the size of an apple seed. They have six legs with long bristles, piercing-sucking mouthparts, and antennae on their heads. 

Adults can reach a length of up to five millimeters and can lay hundreds of eggs. They feed during the night when humans are asleep. Therefore, they often hide in crevices like mattresses, furniture, cushions, carpets, and baseboards during the day. 

An indication of a bed bug infestation is finding tiny spots or streaks of fecal matter on bedding or furniture. Unfortunately, due to their small size and active nocturnal behavior, it can be challenging to detect bed bugs until it’s too late.

Different Types of Bed Bugs

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Bed bugs come in different shapes and sizes. But there are five main species of bed bugs that closely resemble each other. Each species has evolved to occupy a different habitat or region, depending on environmental and climatic conditions.

While all of these species will seek harborage in places such as beds and furniture, they prefer specific temperatures and humidities, making them better suited to thrive in certain conditions.

Therefore, it’s important to learn which species you have in your home, as treatment methods may vary depending on the type.

#1. Cimex lectularius (The Common Bed Bug)

Common bed bugs, scientifically known as Cimex lectularius, are small insects commonly found in beds and other furniture. These pests feed on blood and are prevalent in many households. While they do not spread disease, their bites can cause skin irritation and allergies.

Prevention starts with careful furniture inspection before it is brought into the home to ensure these pests aren’t hiding in cracks or corners. 

Additionally, regular vacuuming and laundering of sheets can help prevent these insects from taking home in your mattress. Although adult bed bugs tend to live for more than a year, professional treatments like sprays and powders remain effective ways to keep these parasites away.

#2. Cimex hemipterus (The Tropical Bed Bug)

Cimex hemipterus, the tropical bed bug, is best known for its unwelcome habit of plaguing humans. Native to subtropical and tropical regions, it prefers temperatures between 20-29°C but can temporarily survive in cooler climates.

They dwell in areas such as furniture and towels and derive their food solely from human blood.

Moreover, regular inspections are advised, along with tremendous vigilance, to avoid this bothersome pest.

#3. Oeciacus victoriensis (The Australian Bed Bug)

The Oeciacus victoriensis, or the Australian Bedbug, has baffled researchers for decades. It is a unique species of hematophagous insect that feeds exclusively off human blood and requires warm temperatures to survive.

Unlike other species, the Oeciacus victoriensis has an oval-shaped structure on its abdomen, similar to a cockroach. This anatomical distinction makes it difficult to identify in regular pest control treatments due to their close resemblance to harmless insects.

Human hosts are often unaware of the presence of these bugs in their homes because they usually only come out at night when humans are asleep. This makes it hard for them to be noticed and eradicated in time.

Furthermore, females can lay up to 40 eggs every month and being able to look past the human host’s poor hygiene may explain why it has become more prominent over the years.

#4. Haplorchis pomorum (The Facilitate Bed Bug)

The Haplorchis pomorum, or the Facilitate Bed Bug, is a flatworm parasite found primarily in Europe. Its effects on humans cause its host to experience digestive issues, but it rarely results in major medical cases. This particular species can be identified by its brown-red color and flat ellipsoid shape. Typically it is easily visible when present.

The infestation of the parasite does not last for very long due to an immune response created by the human body that helps remove them after some time. However, there have been suggestions that treating the worm’s larvae with certain pesticides, such as ivermectin, was also effective at eliminating them.

While they typically don’t require serious medical attention, you must visit a doctor if you suspect an infestation. They are often seen near bedding materials and closely resemble other common household pests.

#5. Cimex pilosellus (The Bat Bug)

The Cimex pilosellus, more commonly known as the Bat Bug, is a member of the Cimicidae family with the widest range and lives in most parts of the world. The adult parasites feed on bats’ blood but have been known to bite humans when another food source isn’t immediately available.

It is easily identified by its small size (around 4-5mm) and unique flattened body shape, covered with short bristly hairs. These bugs also have piercing mouthparts that easily pierce the skin for blood. Although a nuisance, bat bugs are relatively harmless and can be eliminated with proper extermination techniques.

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Bed bugs can be found worldwide, infesting homes and public spaces. But where do they come from?

Unfortunately, they typically travel through various things around us. It means you risk introducing bed bugs into your environment anytime you travel or bring home items from outside sources.

To make matters worse, they reproduce quickly; female bedbugs lay anywhere from 200 to 500 eggs in their lifetime. Fortunately, many pest control companies offer extermination services that effectively remove any bed bug problem you may have.

How to Identify Bed Bugs?

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Identifying these critters can be intimidating and challenging since adult insects are small and can often be mistaken for other pests. Fortunately, some signifiers can help to distinguish them from similar creepy crawlies.

  • Bed bugs tend to congregate where you sleep – so if you have woken up with multiple bites on your body, bedbugs may be in your vicinity.
  • Secondly, they prefer to hide in dark areas near a food source (i.e., where you sleep), so check behind headboards and furniture for signs of their presence. You may also find dark spotting and blood staining on mattresses or upholstered furniture. 
  • Lastly, inspect your bedding closely for live specimen and empty shells or droppings; these physical indications can provide further evidence of a potential infestation.

Main Causes Of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have been around for centuries, and despite advances in pest control, they continue to be a nuisance for many people. They are expert hitchhikers and will find any small crevice into which they can nestle.

Reasons for how and where bed bugs grow:

#1 Poor Sanitation And Hygiene

One of the primary reasons bed bugs are such a problem is poor sanitation and hygiene. They thrive in dirty environments; if there are lots in one area, they can quickly spread to other areas.

#2 Lack Of Knowledge About Bed Bugs

Regarding bed bugs, ignorance can be the catalyst for an entirely different problem. Unfortunately, many individuals need to know what steps prevent them from becoming infested – or how best to get rid of these pests when they have already spread.

We all must become better informed on this topic to refrain from contributing further toward their seemingly unstoppable growth!

#3 Transfer of Their Eggs or Nymphs

These pesky pests and their spread can be attributed to the transfer of eggs or nymphs. These insects have a knack for hitching rides on luggage, furniture, clothing – even secondhand mattresses! A bed bug is certainly an unwelcome surprise that you’ll want to take quick action against.

#4 Traveling

Bed bugs are known for their remarkable ability to travel, especially through the unwitting assistance of human travelers. From hotel accommodations to public transportation, these nuisance pests can spread quickly and easily make themselves at home in new places – so it’s important we remain vigilant!

#5 Crowded Conditions

They also tend to thrive in crowded conditions. It is because they can easily hide in small spaces and because there are more potential hosts for them to feed on in close quarters.

#6 Lack Of Effective Pest Control Measures

Finally, another reason bed bugs are such a problem is that many people cannot access effective pest control measures. It means that even if someone does manage to get rid of bedbugs from their home, they will eventually come back unless preventive measures are taken.

What Do Bed Bugs Do To Humans?

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Bed bugs are particularly annoying pests that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded animal, including humans. They’re nocturnal creatures, and while they come out during the day, they prefer to bite at night when their hosts are asleep. 

People need to recognize the risks posed by bed bug exposure, so they can take proper measures to protect their health and well-being through preventive measures. Routinely checking beds for any signs of infestation and seeking help immediately if they notice anything suspicious are two ways of effective prevention. Bed bug bites can cause:

#1 Skin Reactions

Skin reactions caused by bed bug bites can range from mild itching and irritation to severe, localized swelling and inflammation. The kinds of lesions bed bugs can cause include red welts, blisters, and sores that are likely to get infected without proper treatment.

Such skin conditions may take up to a week to heal, resulting in further discomfort. In extreme cases, people may suffer from serious psychological distress such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression due to these blood-sucking insects in their homes.

#2 Minor Itching

Bed bug bites can cause mild itching on the skin. This discomfort is caused when the bed bugs bite and inject saliva into your bloodstream, creating an allergic reaction that leads to a red, raised, itchy bump. It can last from several hours to days, and some unlucky people experience symptoms for weeks or even months.

#3 Irritation To More Severe Redness And Swelling

Bed bug bites can also result in more intense irritation, redness, and swelling. While bed bug bites may cause mild skin irritations that contain some degree of itching and discomfort, these reactions can become even worse as time passes.

Some people may notice that their bed bug bites are becoming more noticeable, as well as a raised or inflamed area around the bite itself, or, variable amounts of redness formed in a circular pattern around the bite.

Additionally, swollen bumps or welts may still be present, with the general area being itchy and painful to touch.

#4 Allergic Reactions Which Can Lead To Breathing Difficulties

Bed bugs can trigger allergies and asthma-like symptoms, including difficulty breathing. Those who suffer from these reactions may experience wheezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing, ranging from mild to severe ones that require medical attention.

While bed bug infestations might not be life-threatening, they can still cause considerable discomfort, disrupting the quality of life. It’s, therefore, important to prevent the spread of these nuisances or seek professional help if you spot any signs of an infestation.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?

Getting rid of bed bugs can seem daunting and impossible to many, but with the right knowledge and treatment, it is entirely possible.

#1 Cleaning

Thoroughly clean your home, paying attention to any cracks or crevices that may have become breeding grounds for the bugs. Vacuuming and steam cleaning can effectively remove visible bugs and eggs, which can be difficult to identify and locate.

#2 Contact a Professional

Once you’ve finished cleaning your home, contact a professional pest control service if needed. They can provide the best advice on treatments, such as insecticides necessary for completely eradicating pests.

#3 Prevention Is Key

Undoubtedly, prevention is key to avoiding an infestations in the future! Use a tight-fitting mattress, box spring encasements, and a dust mite cover on your pillows. Investing in regular professional pest inspections every few months could also save you from a major headache later down the road.

Buy a bed bug spray to keep these insects at bay.

Areas in which Bed Bugs Are Common

Bed bugs are common all across the globe and can be found everywhere, from homes, apartments, hotels, and dormitories. In the United States, bed bugs are especially prominent. 

These pests have become widespread throughout the country. Other countries where bed bugs are a particular problem include Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Eastern Europe, India, and South America.

The Final Word on Bed Bugs

Bed bugs can be a nightmare, but they don’t have to ruin your sleep. With the right preventative and proactive measures – such as being aware of where these pests hide and what attracts them – you could save yourself from an infestation before it even happens! There are also many effective treatments if you do find yourself with unwelcome visitors, so all is not lost.

Thank you for reading this article! Another creepy crawly thing inhabiting all corners of the earth is the Water Bug.