Origin of the Bed Bug

Many people ask where the bed bug came from and the best explanation, I can find is they came from caves. It seems that a closely related bug called the “bat bug” feeds on bats found in caves. The theory is that man and bats shared these caves and that over time the bugs’ taste preference changed from bats to man. The theory is open for debate, but it’s the best explanation I’ve found. Regardless, they are here and are very difficult to get rid of if you don’t use the right equipment.

Why are Bed Bugs Making Such a Comeback?

Everything we read blames two things on their resurgence. The increase in foreign travel and the banning of DDT. It seems that back during World War II, the use of DDT was one of the key ingredients responsible for virtually eradicating this pest from the United States. But now with DDT gone by the wayside, more people travelling than ever before, and people choosing to use integrated pest management over preventive programs, the bug gained the edge it needed to reestablish itself. Contrary to people’s perceptions, bed bugs really don’t have anything to do with filth like some other structure-infesting insects (cockroaches come to mind). All they need is a place to hide and a host to feed on.

How Do I Get Bed Bugs?

Bed Bugs are carried into your home by a host. The thing that really assists these bugs in their survival is their ability to go long periods of time with no food source. Under the right conditions, they can go up to 18 months without food. So what happens is, they hide and wait for an unsuspecting host to come along. You could pick them up in virtually any public place – just watch the news and you will hear of libraries, hotels, clothing stores, inns, bed and breakfasts, college dorms, movie theatres, resorts, etc. All these places have been reporting infestations. Once you have them, a pregnant female can lay up to 5 eggs a day. Those eggs hatch in about 10 days and mature after about 40 days. The average female will lay about 300 to 500 eggs in her lifetime. Once the infestation gets going with some reproductions, it doesn’t take any time at all to have a serious problem on your hands.

What Attracts Them and How Do They Feed on Us?

Bed Bugs are attracted to us by carbon dioxide of our exhaled breath and our body heat. If you ever look at a room that is infested, you will notice that the largest concentrations of them are located at the head of the bed. Bed bugs use a piercing-sucking mouth configuration – take a look at a microscope picture of one and you can see the business end of this hungry little pest. The bug pierces the skin of its host and injects saliva that contains anticoagulants and anaesthetics, then withdraws the blood of its host. They prefer to feed at night in a dark room but will feed in a room that is lit up if they are hungry. Once they are done feeding, they’ll return to their hiding area. You will often find black staining in these hiding areas, such as behind the corner protectors on a box spring bed mattress or along the seams of the mattress. The spots are the actually liquid faecal matter that stains the mattress when the bugs excrete.

How Do I Get Rid of them?

First off, call a professional pest control expert who has experience with bed bugs. We have been dealing with this pest for years and there is a big learning curve for learning the proper ways to deal with them effectively. There are three popular pest treatments right now for controlling them: Chemical, Heat, and a Combination of Heat and Chemicals.

Chemical Treatment

Treating these pests with chemicals has been going on for a long time. DDT may be a thing of the past but chemical applications are still popular. When approaching treatment with chemicals you need to do four things.

Flush them out

Knock them down

Put down some residual

Regulate their growth

The advantages to this style treatment are it’s cheaper than heat treating and you have bug-killing residual when done, which will prevent them from coming back. The disadvantages are higher chemical exposure, longer down times because chemicals need time to be effective, and some bed bugs are building a resistance to pesticides.

Heat Treatment

Heat treating is one of the new methods that companies are turning to for many reasons. bed bugs, like many other bugs, die rather quickly once they reach a certain temperature. Heat at the proper high temperature kills all life stages of the insect. This method requires specialized equipment and procedures to heat the room to the right temperature, monitor it, and to keep it at that temperature for several hours.

The advantages of heat are:

No chemical exposure

Shorter downtimes for infested rooms

Quicker kill than pesticide once the optimum temperature is reached

The disadvantages are that it’s more expensive than a chemical treatment and no residual is left behind to kill them if bed bugs attempt to re-infest the room.

Heat and Chemical Combo

The combination of chemicals and heat to control and prevent bed bugs seems to be the best of both worlds. Use pesticides in the cracks, crevices, and lower room surfaces to give you some residual protection in the room. Then bring the room up to temperature with the heating equipment to kill off the population. The advantages are reduced chemical exposure, shorter down times, and residual protection. The only disadvantage to this method is if you are a bed bug.

In summary, Bed Bugs are here and they are going to be a problem for a while. Educating yourself about bed bugs will help you to understand what you’re up against if they ever make it into your home or business. Whether it’s for a residence or business, get rid of bed bugs by calling an experienced pest control professional like GC PEST CONTROL and asking questions. The only dumb question is the one never asked.