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Bed Bug Education

Bed Bug Education

Bed bugs reproduce by traumatic insemination, also known as hypodermic insemination. The males have hypodermic genitalia, which pierce the females anywhere on their abdomen and ejaculate sperm into the body cavity. The sperm diffuse through the insides and reach the ovaries, resulting in fertilization. This is a very painful experience for the now pregnant female which often leads to her leaving the group. This is why a “hitchhiking” bed bug easily leads into creating new infestations.

Bed bugs are incredibly difficult to control. They are very good at hiding in even the tiniest of cracks and crevices. Today’s bed bug population has become resistant to chemicals/insecticides. This makes eradicating very difficult. Because bed bugs are difficult to access and insecticides do not work as well as we would hope, home owners and pest management professionals have been searching for novel ways to kill bed bugs within livable structures.

Heat is known to be a very effective bed bug killer and can be used in many different ways to treat bed bug infestations. Heat treatment offers certain advantages when it comes to bed bug management. Heat is non-toxic, and can kill all stages of bed bugs including bed bug eggs.

Recent research has determined the thermal death points (temperature at which a bed bug dies). The thermal death point is determined by two things: temperature, and exposure time. Bed bugs exposed to 113 degrees F will die if they receive constant exposure for 90 minutes. However, they will die within in a minute at 122 degrees F.

How do I know if I have bed bugs?

Finding an actual bug can save a lot of guess work in determining if you have an infestation. Whenever possible, catch a sample and show it to your pest control professional.

The next best tell is finding bed bug residue. This could be blood or fecal staining, old bed bug shells or other marks left behind.

Lastly, and most commonly, is the result of being bitten. Insect bites can be very difficult to diagnose. This is because the skin reaction people experience has more to do with the immune system of the bitten person than the insect responsible for the bite. That said, there are certain key features that are typical of bed bug bites.

Physical Appearance

For most people, bites occur as red, raised lumps, which are extremely itchy, particularly when the skin temperature is higher, such as in bed or in the shower. In a minority of cases the bites can form yellowish blisters and/or weep clear fluid. It is also possible for the bites to result in more severe swelling of the surrounding tissue. This can be indicative of a secondary infection and may require medical attention.

Bed bugs tend not to squeeze under clothing or bed covers. Instead they look for areas of exposed skin, such as the neck, shoulders and arms. Sometimes they will climb onto the skin, but more often they prefer to feed from the surrounding fabric with only their mouth parts in contact with the skin. Occasionally they have to relocate a couple of times in order to find a suitable capillary. As a result of this they have a tendency to produce a row of 2-3 bites, usually not more than an inch apart, along the edge of the exposed skin. This pattern is sometimes referred to as “breakfast, lunch and dinner” although in reality it is only the result of a single meal.

Unlike most insect bites, the skin reaction to a bed bug bite can be delayed by up to two weeks. Consequently, if you are bitten while traveling it can be difficult to determine exactly where you encountered the bed bugs. With multiple exposures to bed bugs, the delay is reduced, and in some cases people stop reacting entirely.

How quickly can an infestation develop?

Because of the delayed reaction to bed bug bites and their ability to hide deep within the structure of the bed, infestations typically go undetected for the first few weeks. When the first bites appear they are often dismissed as mosquito or flea bites, which allows the infestation time to become established.
Adult female bed bugs can produce 15-25 eggs per week and may live up to a year. In warm conditions (ca. 75°F) eggs hatch in about 1 week and, with regular access to a host, can reach maturity within 6 weeks. At this point up to 25 new adults may be reaching maturity every week, and will begin laying eggs of their own.
In the early stages, infestations tend to be in close proximity to the feeding site (usually the bed), but as the infestation develops, it typically spreads out into more peripheral locations around the room, and then to neighboring rooms, which is why early detection is so important.

Still not sure if you have bed bugs? Contact us today!

Besides bed bugs, what else could be biting me?

Just because you have bites, doesn’t mean you have bed bugs. There are a number of other biting insects and skin conditions that can cause very similar reactions.
Contact a pest professional as quickly as possible.