The problem of bedbugs is a rather common one and infests various parts of the world. These irritable pests are commonly found in mattresses, bed frames, used furniture and in other closed surface areas1. Their growth is especially conducive in warm moist areas, but they can be found in colder and drier places as well. Bedbugs are really small in their size and lives on the blood of humans and animals. It is quite interesting to know that there are about ninety species of bedbugs, out of which only three type’s lives on human blood2. They can affect the quality of your lifestyle and also the health of your furniture to a great extent.
About Bedbugs: Their Body Structure, Inhabitation and Feeding Pattern
It is believed that these bed bugs were completely eradicated back in the 20th century. However, they seem to have come back in the 21st century and with a renewed vengeance. Out of the ninety different species of the bedbugs, the three species that infest human habitations are the Cimex hemipterus, Cimex lectularis and the Leptocimex boueti2. They belong to the family of Heteroptera Cimicidae. Some of the common names of such bugs are poultry bugs, bat bugs, bed bugs and also the swallow bugs that are found in different parts of the world2.
It is really easy to miss out bedbugs as they are quite small. Talking of their physical appearance these insects are oval in shape and brownish in color. However, after a thorough feed, they can acquire a reddish color and their generally flat bodies can swell up. These bedbugs cannot fly but can move quickly on the floors and also on the walls and the ceilings of a room. The female bedbugs are able to lay hundreds of eggs during its lifetime which are roughly the size of dust specs. When immature, these bugs, which are then called nymphs, can shed their skin many times. They live by sucking blood from humans.
These come into your rooms through different agents such as clothing’s, luggage, used mattresses and so on. Their flattened body allows them to take refuge in small spaces. They do not inhabit in nests but in groups in places where they can hide from general view. Some of the commonplaces of their hidings happen to be places like box springs, mattresses, headboards and bed frames. These are the places where they can hide and also get easy access to humans whom they can bite and draw blood out of them. These bed bugs, in later times, can also get scattered and take refuge in small cracks and small spaces in the room. They can also get into the other furniture in the house.
Bedbugs get active, especially during the night. They come out of their hiding places and bite a human. They pierce the skin of the humans and draws blood out of them with the help of their elongated beaks. The bedbugs’ bites are quite easy to miss in the initial time. This is why probably people do not even get up from their sleep when they are being bitten. It is after some time that the person realizes that he has been bitten when the bites develop an itchy feel and often turns into a rash. The places where you have been bitten by a bed bug will develop a red spot and will not look like a flea bite.
How to Know if Your Place is Infested by Bedbugs?
It is really important to understand if your place is infested with bed bugs, or not if you wish to get rid of them in the first place. Try to keep an eye for the following signs so that you can understand that it is time steps are taken against these pests1.
Blood Stains on Bedsheets: Often when you are being bitten by bedbugs in the night there is a chance that there will be bloodstains on your bed sheets and your night time clothes. If you see such a thing on a continued basis, it is time you started looking up for these unwelcomed bed-bugs.
Bedbug Excrement: Often rooms that are infested with bedbugs has small spots or dark rusty stains of excrement from bedbugs. These spots can be found on the ceilings, walls and also on the bedclothes, the mattresses and the sheets of the bed.
Egg and Skin Shells: Since these bedbugs’ lays hundreds of eggs in their lifetime (the females) and the nymph’s sheds skin, rooms that are infested with them will have remains of eggshells and also skins from nymphs3. Be on the lookout for these marks.
Odor of Bedbugs: Rooms that have bedbugs often develops a musty offensive odor that is generated out of their scent glands.
It must be understood that these bedbugs live on human blood and not exactly dirty. Hence they are not known to spread any type of disease. They are extremely common and can be found in some of the well-maintained rooms as well. All that one can do is to get rid of them in a precise and routine manner.
Ways to Get Rid of Bedbugs
Let us take a look at the various ways that you can get rid of bedbugs:
Hot Water Cleaning: It is important that you clean the bed sheets, the curtains and the linen of the room in hot water and then dry the fabrics in real high settings of the dryer. Things that cannot be washed in water can be put in the dryer for thirty minutes at a stretch.
Comb with Stiff Brush: Before vacuuming the mattress always remember to brush the mattress with a stiff brush. This will remove all the bedbugs and also their eggs.
Vacuum the Mattress to Get Rid of Bedbugs: Vacuum the bed and the mattress regularly, preferably twice a day and then clear out the bag immediately, so that all the trapped bedbugs can be removed immediately.
Tight Zipped Covers for Mattresses: It is advisable that you cover up the box springs and also the mattress in a tightly zipped cover so that bedbugs cannot enter the mattress or cannot escape it. Keep this mattress on for a year, so that the trapped bedbugs can be killed effectively. Bedbugs can remain alive without feeding even as long as a year4.
Repair Small Cracks on the Bed To Get Rid of Bedbugs: The small cracks in the room must be mended immediately so that the bedbugs do not have any space to take refuge.
Often if none of the above methods are effective and does not give proper results, then you might have to use chemicals. However, this requires technical training and expertise. Hence, at this time you must call for the help of professional companies who can treat bedbugs. This is how the treatment can be done in a safe manner and the rest of the room, furniture of the people living in the nearby vicinity is not harmed or damaged in any way.
- Centers for Disease Control and Protection. (January, 2017). Global Health, Division of Parasitic Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html
- Olsen, J.(n.d). “Types of Bed Bugs – Common Bugs types in the USA”. BedBugsBites.net. Retrieved from https://www.bedbugsbites.net/types-of-bed-bugs-common-bed-bug-types-in-the-usa/
- Morrow E. H.; Arnqvist G. (2003). “Costly traumatic insemination and a female counter-adaptation in bed bugs”.Proceedings of the Royal Society. B. 270 (1531). 2377-2381.
- Berenbaum, M. (August, 2010). “This Bedbug’s Life”. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/opinion/08berenbaum.html