The term bed bugs refer to over ninety species of insects around the world. These insects are wingless, blood-feeding parasites. Bed bugs have recently become a big problem throughout countries all over the world.
The three basic life stages of bed bugs are egg, nymph, and adult. They start as a small egg, then hatch to become a one millimeter long nymph or juvenile. A bed bug will go through five juvenile steps which feed, molt their skins and then grow. As it feeds, the nymph will change color from translucent to dark red or brown. An adult bed bug is about seven to eight millimeters long.
Bed bugs will typically gather together in dark and undisturbed places. Because of this, they can usually be found along the seams of a mattress and box spring, in the cracks of a headboard, and in bed frames. In areas with large infestations, however, bed bugs can be discovered anywhere, including clothes, sheets, and carpeting .
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As bed bugs grow they discard their skins and leave fecal matter. The skins are amber-colored and transparent. The molted skins have the appearance of hollow, translucent bed bugs. Fecal spots look like brown or black bumps or dark stains. Eggs can attach to most surfaces, and look like small white dots.
bed bugs on the box spring (Photo credit: cuttlefish)
Unfortunately, getting rid of bed bugs cannot be done with a single pesticide. After determining that you actually have a bed bug infestation, it is necessary to find the source of the infestation. This can be a neighboring apartment, luggage brought back from a recent trip, or used furniture that was recently brought into the apartment.
Next, thoroughly inspect everywhere in the home or business where the bugs can hide. While doing this, it is usually recommended that you clean everything in order for the pesticides to be the most effective. Bag and remove all bedding and clothing, and wash these items in hot water. Be sure to isolate these items from the rest of the infested items until the bed bugs have been completely removed.
Next, start on the mattress, box spring, and other “hard” items. Isolated all of these items, then start treatment with pesticides. Check over these items thoroughly and carefully before using them again. Also be sure to check everything else in the house or business again to make sure that you didn’t miss anything.
Be sure to start treatment as soon as you notice a problem. The longer bed bugs are allowed to live in an area, the more difficult they will be to get rid of. It can take several weeks to get rid of the pests in the case of a large infestation. Also, be sure to gain the cooperation of your fellow tenants and building staff if you live in a condominium or apartment complex. These types of structures allow bed bugs to spread very quickly. Without cooperation, bed bugs can keep coming back even if you completely eradicate them from your own space.
Published in: Homeowners