What Are Bed Bugs?
If the question pumps into your head after waking up one morning and feeling several itchy parts all over your body, chances are you have been victimized by bed bugs during the night.
So what exactly are bed bugs? To answer the awkward question, bed bugs are simply insects. But like all the millions of other insect species, bed bugs have their own identity. They would not be left behind in the identity department.
Start from the scientific view. Bed bugs are scientifically labelled Cimex lectularius. They belong to the ever wide and diverse kingdom, or phylum as what can be more appropriate called Insecta.
Did you know that if ever there might come a time when the world will be annihilated, all creatures in planet Earth, including humans and animals, will be exterminated? All but one type of creature will vanish by then.
You got it right. Insects, with their flexibility and resilience, will be left to occupy the planet. Bed bugs are among them. That is why exterminating them will be a hard feat.
How do they look like?
When viewed from the top (by the way, you would not want to look at them at any other angle, for sure), bed bugs look like flattened creatures. They are so tiny, that one can hardly see and look at them, not unless they are aided by magnifying glasses or lenses.
Bed bugs usually appear like tiny deep brown creatures. In other parts of the globe, like in Europe, bed bugs may appear differently—they may adopt white to creamy white colour.
When they are fed, or just came from a meal, bed bugs look like tiny bloated creatures with black or deep red little mass in their stomach area.
That is because bed bugs principally feed on hosts’ blood. Blood is the reason they live. Otherwise, they would surely not survive.
How do they feed?
Do you really have to know it? Okay, for your information, bed bugs have tiny beaks, similar and smaller to that owned by mosquitoes. They use these beaks to pierce through the skin of their host. After that, when they have pierced some skin, they start sipping and sucking some blood.
Because bed bugs are so tiny, they can hardly suck about a fourth of a millilitre from you. That means the blood you will lose when bitten by a bed bus will be so negligible, you would not care at all.
Another good thing, bed bugs are proven not to carry or transmit any disease, unlike their relatives, like the mosquito.
Bed bugs’ bites may leave small red marks that may swell after a few hours. The bitten area would also tend to itch a lot, leaving a feeling of discomfort to the victim.
Exterminating bed bugs
There are a handful of ways or measures to kill bed bugs. The stupid way is to capture them one by one and try to squash them out. That would surely kill them, but it will be gross, tedious, and will surely try your patience.
To be sure, applying insecticides or pesticides to infested areas can be a good and effective way. However, doing so would pose a lot of threats, to your health, and to the health of everyone in the house.
To be sure, no human can be exterminated along with the bed bugs, it would be wise to seek the help of a credible and professional pest control company.
Pest control companies surely know bed bugs better. They also know how to effectively get rid of them. <br><br>
They say an ounce of prevention is more compared to pounds of cure. It is also true and applicable in the case of bed bugs.
Hygiene is important to prevent bed bugs infestation. Cleanliness would be of great help. Surely, pests like bed bugs dislike clean and tidy surroundings, for a start.
If you travel a lot, be sure to know that you may be a carrier of bed bugs. No, they would not thrive inside you or beneath your private parts.
Your baggage and the clothing you wear would somehow become a good breeding ground and travelling medium for the annoying insect.
Make sure the place you stay in is totally bug-free. When going home from a trip, it would also be advisable if you drop by the laundry shop and have your luggage washed before taking it home.
The measure would seem a little paranoid, but who cares? What is important is that you would not have another morning, when you wake up asking yourself what bed bugs are.
Bed Bugs Bites
Bed bugs can be everywhere. Most probably, your bed contains hundreds to thousands of bed bugs that crawl and creep into your body when you are asleep.
Bed bugs are like insects equipped with intelligence. They really can get smart. Bed bugs suck the blood of their host, which of course are humans, and sometimes animal pets like fogs, cats, birds and even bats.
A long time ago, bed bugs are most prevalent among birds’ nests. But because just like the human species, bed bugs are evolving and adapting to environmental changes, they have learned to crawl into people’s homes, particularly beds and room surfaces.
Bed bugs take their sumptuous meals by using their elongated beaks to pierce through the skin of the host. After that, they start the feast and harshly suck on blood until they can no longer take more.
What a fortune! While people find it hard to find food, bed bugs find it very easy. And more often, they feast and do not run out of supplies.
Diseases from bed bugs
Doctors and medical practitioners assure, however, that bed bugs’ bites are not that harmful. Mosquito bites are far more threatening because they can sometimes transfer a number of serious ailments like malaria, dysentery, elephantiasis or h-fever.
In comparison, bites of bed bugs do not pose much health risk. Bed bugs can be a host to a number of diseases but they seldom pass this on to their hosts or victims.
Good thing that bed bugs are safe biters when it comes to ailments and diseases transferred through that way.
Understanding how bed bugs bite
As described earlier, bed bugs use their beaks to pierce the skin and get or suck the abundant supply of blood. By doing so, it is inevitable for them not to transfer or leave their saliva into the pierced skin.
This saliva, thankfully, can never contain diseases or pathogens. But, this saliva can cause allergic reactions. Some people’s systems will react harshly to such bites.
Hence, most bed bugs’ bites swell after 10 minutes to 24 hours. Just like mosquito bites, they swell and appear reddish. They are also accompanied by little discomfort and itchiness.
The itch from bed bugs’ bites can be so persistent and annoying that if you keep on scratching, you will be tempted to make it harder. By that, you will be creating little wounds.
At most, that is what bed bugs’ bites can do.
How to Avoid bed bugs’ bites
Of course, the best and most effective way to prevent or avoid bed bugs’ bites is by making sure the insects will not appear during sleep hours. And how can that be?
By ensuring that your bed or your room as a whole is not infested by bed bugs. To prevent bed bugs from attacking, maintain hygiene and cleanliness. Regularly clean the room and be thorough in cleaning crevices and cracks on floors and walls.
If you like travelling, make sure the place you are staying in is not infested with bed bugs. Otherwise, bed bugs can get into your baggage, and voila, when you unpack your things at home, bed bugs will be spread into your room.
There are also insect-repellant products in the market. There are those products that can be applied to your skin like lotion. Once you have these repellants, bed bugs will be reluctant to get near you. They will find your skin a danger zone and will find you unappealing as a food source. Isn’t that appealing to you?
Effective Tips on Killing Bed Bugs
Bed bugs have become one of the most annoying insects that thrive in modern households.
In the United States, health experts and authorities that infestation of the insect ceased after the World War in the 1940s. But somehow, in the 1990s, bed bugs reappeared in local households.
There are a few factors that are believed to have led to the reoccurrence. For one, travellers from across the globe are blamed.
As bed bugs disappeared in the country during those decades, they have, on the contrary, proliferated in Europe, Africa and Asia.
The discomfort caused by bed bugs
Bed bugs are primarily blamed for a number of skin irritations. If you happen to wake up one morning with red and swollen parts all over your body, chances are, bed bugs have bitten you. They might have feasted on you while you were sleeping.
Bed bugs are tiny, wingless creatures that crawl into furniture surfaces, floors, walls and beds. They are so small, that you can hardly look at them with your bare eye.
Bed bugs live in crevices and very small holes and cracks in floors, furniture, walls and ceiling. What’s more, they can even make your bed a big paradise and habitat and eventually consider you the unlikely guest in your own bed.
It is for this reason that most of you, for sure, want to kill every bed bug that will cross your sight.
But one thing, killing bed bugs is just as hard as actually capturing or looking out for them. Bed bugs go out of their hiding places at night time. They tend to hide and keep under their sanctuaries during the daytime.
That is why finding them is really a hard task. You know how harder it is to look after tiny crawling creatures at night.
Killing bed bugs
To effectively kill bed bugs, there is a handful of guidelines and checklists that you should adhere to or follow.
As a start, you have to make sure that bed bugs really exist in the suspected areas. How could you kill bed bugs if there are no bed bugs in the first place to kill?
Second, inspect your room. Check the floor, the wall and the ceilings for tiny openings, cracks or holes that can store up or serve as a hiding place for these annoying insects.
Make sure to clean your room or the household regularly, taking particular attention to the suspected areas. It is this particular measure that will ensure that bed bugs will not thrive longer or will not choose to live with you.
There is a handful of insecticides and pesticides that are deemed effective at killing bed bugs. These insecticides and pesticides are openly easily accessible and purchasable in the market. You do not need any prescription or permit to buy them.
But be sure you know how harmful and poisonous they are. They can really be effective in killing bed bugs, but they can also, unintentionally, kill you or other people that may come in contact with them.
Most insecticides that kill bed bugs come in the form of sprays. It is because sprays are the most effective form to carry out harmful chemicals to bed bugs’ systems.
No, bed bugs are not killed by inhalation. They are too resilient in that department. Sprays work in killing bed bugs by destroying bed bugs’ protective covers or skin.
To be able to kill bed bugs by that means, manufacturers put powdered silicon and glass granules into the spray. When you spray such insecticides, some of the white molecules that are sprayed out are actually these powdered materials.
That fact makes sprays more dangerous to humans. Imagine what harm it may cause you if you inhaled such powdered materials. That may lead to internal wounds and minor haemorrhages inside your system.
To effectively kill bed bugs, it is advisable that you seek the help of professional pest control experts. They know better than you do for sure when it comes to killing bed bugs and other pests.
Pest control companies invest in personnel training, innovations and equipment to ensure the success of every pest control operation. Some of the types of equipment may even be non-affordable for you.
Pest control experts kill bed bugs in a more effective and safer way. They know better how to handle certain chemicals and pesticides. That would reduce health risks to you, your family and your neighbours.
Know the Bed Bugs Symptoms
Many people these days are unaware of bed bugs symptoms. It is understandable since bed bugs together with some pests have been exterminated during the widespread use of DDT in the United States after World War I.
But because of international travel and immigration, bed bugs symptoms are making a comeback. But people don’t detect bed bugs symptoms until someone complains of excessive itching and has oval-shaped insect bite marks which are often mistaken as mosquitoes or dust mites bites.
When a household experiences typical bed bugs symptoms, they don’t check their mattresses, beddings, and couch upholstery for bed bugs. Members of the household just sprays gel-type insect spray to kill cockroaches or mosquitoes. But this kind of insect spray does not kill bed bugs, and therefore, furniture and upholstery remain bed bugs infested.
Bed bugs – symptoms of infestation
How do I know if my home is infested with bed bugs?
A heavily infested home would have an offensive, sweet, musty scent. This odour is released by bed bugs’ through their scent glands.
Another bed bugs symptoms to look out for is faecal or excrement stains, egg cases, and shed skins of bed bug nymphs in crevices, cracks or holes on the bed or near it. Furniture near the bed should be checked also. Bedroom wallpapers, bedsprings and items of clothing in your dresser, should be examined for these reddish-brown excrement stains.
Your living room couch should be checked for these stains, especially if you or any member of your family get bed bugs symptoms such as swollen bites after sitting from your couch. Every place in your house where a person stays more than 30 minutes must be checked for bed bugs.
A thin crack or seams of mattresses are one of the hiding places of bed bugs. Bed bugs want to live closer to their source of food, which is human blood, so cracks near the bed or around the bedroom and living room are the primary places of bed bugs hiding places.
Once you find a bed bug in any part of your house, the other parts of your house will undoubtedly have bed bugs too.
Finding Bed Bugs
Inspect your entire house the moment bed bugs symptoms are detected. Dismantle the bed, check the headboard, inspect the seams of your mattresses. If you found reddish brown excrement and sheddings of insect skin, it means that your house is infested with bed bugs.
If you detected these bed bugs symptoms, you must tear off your wallpaper too. Chances are that bed bugs have created their bigger colony under the wallpaper. Every wood furniture that you own should be inspected for bed bugs too. They may have bed bugs too because bed bugs prefer wood or cloth as their hiding place rather than plastic or metal.
Empty the contents of your nightstands and examine it inside and out. Tip it over to inspect the crevices, cracks, recesses and corners of the woodwork underneath. Since bed bugs love woods, there is a big chance that they are hiding in there.
Some bed bugs facts
Bed bugs bites are often mistaken for mosquitoes or dust mites. So how would you know the bed bugs symptoms? Below are some basic bed bugs bite facts:
- Bed bugs feed by piercing human skin with their two elongated beaks.
- One of the beaks injects saliva that contains an anaesthetic to reduce pain to pierced skin and an anticoagulant to keep the blood from clotting.
- The other beak sucks the blood.
- Bed bugs are nocturnal insects. They are very active during the night, especially an hour before the dawn breaks.
- Bed bugs are oval-shaped and flat, and they can therefore hide in extremely thin cracks which is the reason why their breeding site is very hard to find.
- An adult bed bug can live eighteen (18) months or longer without feeding and just stay in their hiding or breeding places until a host comes along and satiate their need for blood.
- Bed bugs are often called hitchhikers because of their ability to travel long distances by riding on suitcases, luggage and items of clothing.
- Female bed bugs lay 300 eggs.
- After ten (10) days bed bugs nymphs are hatched from eggs.
Bed bugs, wrapping up
Bed bugs’ bites are hard to avoid especially if you are not living alone in your room, or you have thousands of bed bugs families in your bed. Prevention is better than cure.
Might as well be very careful not to make your room and bed breeding grounds for bed bugs. In the market, you can also find dozens of lotions or skin products that serve as repellants to bed bugs.
Being bitten by bed bugs can never be serious, don’t worry. All you have to do is treat the bitten skin part the way you treat mosquito bites. They normally fade out and heal by themselves over a little time.