The Irritating Night Crawlers: A Closer Look at Bed Bugs

January 23, 2014

It is a common expression to say don't let the bed bugs bite as parents bid their kids good night. However, people may not be aware that bed bugs are actually real and are not just an idiomatic expression.

Bed bugs, as their name suggests, got their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. However, bed bugs can also be found in almost every place people tend to gather such as hotels, schools, offices, stores and even public transportation.

Adult bed bugs have a distinct reddish-brown color and have flat, oval-shaped bodies about 1/4 inch in length. In a protected area, an adult female will lay up to five eggs in one day. The eggs are small, approximately 1mm in size and are whitish in color, making them nearly invisible to the untrained eye.
Signs of a bed bug infestation are:

  • Small spots of blood on mattresses and bed linens
  • Tiny brown droppings
  • Exoskeletons, or “cast skins” shed by growing nymphs
  • Tiny white eggs and egg casings

Bed bugs are good hitchhikers. They can hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They can also hide behind baseboards and in cracks, crevices, and folded areas of beds, bedding and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs.

They are elusive and nocturnal creatures which make it hard to detect them. Bed bugs usually come out at night for a blood meal. Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood, preferring human blood, but will also feed on other warm-blooded animals if necessary. They are opportunistic insects and can take a blood meal during the day, especially in heavily-infested areas.

Bed bugs are not known to carry or transmit diseases to humans. However, their bites can cause skin irritation that often appear in a line or cluster and may be itchy or painful. Serious health problems can occur if the bites become infected.

According to Wikipedia, eradication of bed bugs frequently requires a combination of pesticide and non-pesticide approaches. Pesticides that have historically been found to be effective include: pyrethroids and dichlorvos.

You can vacuum up the insects and heat or wrap mattresses to prevent and get rid of them but that won't really last for long. As bed bugs are good in travelling, they are bound to reach your home sooner or later again. This is why the fastest and most effective way to get rid of them is the usage of insecticides especially on mostly infected areas such as your mattresses.

Thus, when you wake up in the need and feel as if a vampire just visited you and left red marks on your skin, it's time to spray pesticides to avoid further infestation.