Bed Bugs – they’re back!

Many of us can remember being tucked in by our parents at night with the saying ‘good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite’.  Most of us never knew what a bed bug was or have ever been bitten.

Bed bugs, for the most part, were eliminated from our homes and hotels by the chemicals the pest control professionals had pre and post WWII.  However; public concern over safety of materials forced the removal of those effective products and the newer, environmentally friendly products are not 100% effective.Mostly due to foreign travel, we have seen a major resurgence of these nuisance insects over the past several years.  They typically hitch hike in luggage of travelers.  In the past, we have seen them introduced by European travelers as well as Mexico.  Now we are seeing movement from apartment to apartment and through rented moving vans.

Research has not shown transmittal of any disease.  A few people will develop a rash or itching which may be delayed.  They don’t bite or chew.  They’re mouth parts are piercing and sucking so baits are not effective.  They are very good at sensing and avoiding many formulations of chemicals. Bed bugs can live up to 500 days without food or water  and eggs may lay dormant until conditions are right for them to hatch.  So far, the growth regulators (materials that interrupt the life cycles and hatching of most other insects) have had no effect on their ability to mature or reproduce.

Bed bugs are nocturnal in nature, hiding in cracks during the daytime.  At night they sense body heat and the carbon dioxide we exhale as we breathe. It takes 3 to 10 minutes for them to feed. They may travel up to 100 feet per night.  It is common for them to travel up to 20 feet every 2 or 3 days.  If a person has been bitten, there will be a small irritation and a small blood smear on their clothing or bed sheet.Bed bugs may be found in box springs, mattress seams, bed frames, headboards, chairs, behind pictures, night stands, and many other areas. Sanitation is not a means of elimination!

If you suspect that you have an infestation, do not attempt to resolve the problem on your own!

Get professional assistance – university researchers are having their share of difficulties with this insect!  The reality is that you may only serve to make it more difficult for the professional to do his job.

Bed Bug Facts

  • Bed bugs can lay one to five eggs in a day and more than 500 in a lifetime.
  • Bed bugs can survive for several months without eating.
  • Bed bugs can withstand a wide range of temperatures, from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bed bugs draw blood for about five minutes before retreating to digest.
  • Bed bugs hatchlings are so small they can pass through a stitch-hole in a mattress.
  • Bed bugs can ingest seven times their own weight in blood — the equivalent of an average-sized male drinking 120 gallons of liquid.
  • In the past year 99.6 percent of U.S. based professional pest management companies have encountered a bed bug infestation.
  • One in five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel.
  • Apartment / condominium buildings and single-family homes are most commonly treated for infestations.
  • The incidence of bed bugs is three times higher in urban areas than in rural areas, though no area is immune.
  • Bed bugs are found in all 50 states.
  • Bed bug infestations occur most often in summer and least often in the winter.
  • The top three challenges to bed bug treatment are homeowner clutter, customers not following the PMP’s advice, and re-infestation.
  • Despite the availability of information, most Americans have misconceptions about bed bugs. Nearly half incorrectly believe the pests transmit disease.

Sources: National Pest Management Association

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Keith Pratt 702-242-8668