Bed Bug Bites – What Is Sharing Your Bed?

Bed bugs

Bed Bug Bites – What Is Sharing Your Bed?

One of the most feared and misunderstood pests known to man is the bed bug, (Cimex lectularius). How many of us dozed off to sleep at night as young ones with the words of our parents in our ears ‘sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite’?

Bed bugs may have started to feed on man at about the time we moved into caves, the ‘bat bugs’ Cimex pilosellus and Cimex pipistrella primarily feed on bats and it is probable that bat feeding species of bug evolved to feed on human blood when our ancestors started living in bat infested caves.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs

Until the advent of DDT in the early 20th century bed bugs were common unwelcome guests in a lot of low quality homes.

The later part of the 20th century has seen pest control companies dealing with very few bed bug infestations indeed, their presence being largely restricted to inexpensive vacation camps and student accommodation etc.

Many people mistake dust mites, which are not visible to the unaided eye, with bed bugs which very definitely are.

Adult bedbugs are reddish-brown, about a quarter of an inch in size and decidedly swollen after a meal of your blood.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed Bug Bites

They experience an incomplete metamorphosis which means that the nymphs are just smaller versions of the adult, they do not have a maggot stage like fleas or a fly.

Bed bugs regularly feed on human blood every 7 – 10 days, emerging in the hours before dawn and finding their target by detecting the exhaled carbon dioxide from breath and when nearing in on their target, body heat.

In the absence of a regular human host to dine on they can remain dormant for periods of up to 18 months.

Indications of a bed bug infestation are spots of blood on bedding and on the base of mattresses and many people can react badly to their bites.

The early 21st century has seen bed bug numbers explode across the planet, the easy availability of international travel and economic migration have both been blamed for the resurgence.

What is certain is that they are now making a real return not only in poor quality homes but high class hotels, schools and often hospitals.

One London borough reported a doubling of bed bug jobs each year from 1995 – 2001.

A single night away in an infested hotel is all it takes, they catch a ride in your suitcases or bags. Pest control firms are also now reporting cases of transport related bed bug infestations on tubes, trains and buses so a simple ride to town on an infested bus or train can be sufficient to spread the infestation to your home.

They are an expensive pest to deal with as contrary to popular opinion they do not just live in beds. They hide any nook and cranny conveniently close to a sleeping human, beds, electrical sockets, televisions, bed-side telephones etc and eradication is both difficult and time consuming.

They have even been found living under the toe-nails of infirm persons and in the creases of flesh on grossly over-weight people.

They are not a pest that can be tackled by an amateur and a professional will almost certainly be required.

Recommended Reading

Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.