Bed Bugs

bedbug - Cimex lectularus L.

Latin name: Cimex lectularus L.

Overview

As one of the most common household pests worldwide, bed bugs are notoriously difficult to control. These tiny, flat, and wingless insects feed on mammals, such as humans and warm-blooded pets. Bed bugs are particularly attracted to places that make food acquisition easy, such as mattresses, plush furniture, and other small dark spaces.

Description

Bed bugs are small, round, rusty brown bugs that are typically 3/16 of an inch in diameter. Due to their preference to feed at night and their very small size, they are very difficult to spot. Bed bugs feed on blood through small punctures in skin, much like a mosquito. And like mosquitos, bed bugs do not discriminate among food sources. They will bite both humans and pets.

Bed bugs are very small and slender, which makes them very elusive. They can easily hide in small creases, crevices, and holes in various household objects. Bed bugs prefer dark and snug hiding places, such as cushions, piles of laundry, and beds. They also like to hide in less plush locations, such as baseboards, walls, and flooring.

The size, shape, and feeding times make these bugs quite difficult to detect, and their incredible speed doesn’t help. The most obvious sign of an infestation is finding bites on one’s skin in the morning. The bites are like small mosquito bites. They are small, red, and itchy. As the infestation progresses and enough bugs group together, there will often be an unpleasant odor.

The life cycle of a bed bug is about one year if they have an adequate source of food. Female bed bugs can lay up to five eggs per day, with about 500 eggs deposited in their lifetimes. While bed bugs prefer moderate climates, their rapid reproductive rate and adaptability have made them commonplace all over the world. This global takeover can partially be attributed to hitching rides in the luggage and belongings of travelers.

Avoiding Bed Bugs

While it is important to avoid bed bugs as much as possible and take action against infestation, the bugs can be found almost anywhere. Businesses, offices, gyms, and many other frequently visited places could be unknowingly housing bed bugs. Complete avoidance may be impossible, but one should always exercise caution and safety when visiting hotels.

As people travel from here to there, they bring many things with them. This can include bed bugs. Like a cold, these bugs can spread exponentially. It is always a good idea to check your hotel room for signs of infestation. You can do this by lifting the mattress and checking for small rust-colored spots, or even bed bugs themselves. Keeping luggage on a luggage rack away from the floor, walls, and other potential bed bug hotspots is also a great idea, even if you don’t see signs of infestation. In order to get rid of any potential stowaways, it would be wise to clean all of the contents of your luggage as soon as you return home.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

These elusive and quickly reproducing bugs are very difficult to eradicate once they take up residence in your home. It’s difficult, but not impossible with these steps:

  • Remove their hiding places. It’s hard to play hide and seek when there are no places to hide. By reducing the amount of clutter, especially the clutter on the floor, you would be eliminating a hiding place and potential breeding ground. If you have items or furniture that hasn’t been moved in a long time, make sure to move and clean behind them. CedarCide sells a Tri-Jet Fogger that can spread our organic insecticide Best Yet around the room into cracks and crevices.
  • Clean and heat fabrics. All fabrics should be washed and dried using the warmest settings possible, while taking care not to damage the items. You should wash all linens, bedding, curtains, clothes, pillows, cushions and any other items that could be harboring bed bugs.
  • Have the pets treated. Warm-blooded pets and their belongings could also be infested with bed bugs. In order to ensure the safety of your pet and keep them away from potentially harmful chemicals, it is wise to schedule grooming and pest treatments on the same day as you treat your home. Best Yet can also be used to kill bed bugs and other insects that have attached themselves to the pet.
  • Regular maintenance. Repeat the above steps as often as needed. Remove all clutter regularly, clean and vacuum everything, and keep an eye out for any signs that the bed bugs have returned. Using our products as soon as you notice a problem is the best way to minimize the problem and keep things under control.

Resources

CDC web page about bed bugs

Wikipedia article about bed bugs