Getting rid of bed bugs is a problem that has been documented as far back as the medieval times in Europe. The bed bugs generally attack when you are asleep. The bed bug is a smart creature that chooses to move when the target least expects it. Nearly every person in the world will have his or her own version of a bed bug story to tell, and the story is generally one that is bad.
The scientific name for the bed bug is Cimex lectularius. They are wingless bugs with a brown-colored, ultra-thin body. There have been several studies conducted that indicate that these creatures had originated in Asia but are now seen in all parts of the world. Bed bugs thrive in areas with a warm, dry climate, but because of heated buildings in northern regions, they are now able to thrive most anywhere.
An unfed bed bug will typically measure at ¼ to 3/8 of an inch in length. However, after it has fed, its size can expand considerably. Young bed bugs have the same appearance as the adult, except it will have a yellowish color to its body after it has molted. A nymph can develop into a fully grown bed bug in as fast as a single month, depending upon how often it is able to feed.
When They Become Pests
The real problem with bed bugs is when it is time for them to feed. The typically stay wherever they are living until the last possible minute and will only appear when they are starving. Heat attracts them and the warmth of a body nearby is what attracts them, however, they do not know the food source is there until they are within 2-4 inches of the host.
The highly developed mouth of the bed bug is how they feed. They bite the host and then suck the blood of the unsuspecting person, or pet. They will feed for anywhere from one minute to as long as seven minutes. An adult bed bug can ingest as many as seven times its body weight in blood. Once finished feeding, the bed bug will immediately retreat back to its nest and it will lay eggs again.
Generally speaking, you will not even know you have been bitten by a bed bug until he or she notices the welts that will appear in the affected part of the body. These welts appear as tiny red marks that stay visible on the body for at least two or three days. The period is perhaps longer in those who heal slowly or have other skin disorders. They might not even be visible if you have other skin conditions. The affected area should be washed with soap and water to prevent itching.
Solving the Problem
When it comes to solving the bed bug problem, treating the bites is only a small part of the problem. The hardest part is going to be getting rid of the pests, a difficult task at best. For those traveling to tropical climates are most susceptible to bed bug infestations. The creatures can be brought home in the luggage, or even in the cuff of your pants. Cleanliness of the home also has nothing to do with a bed bug infestation.
When you endeavor to get rid of bed bugs, understand that you are in for a fight. In the 50’s and 60’s, back when the world believed that bed bugs had been eradicated, they had used DDT to get rid of them. It has since been found of course, that DDT was harmful to people and pets, so it was banned. The reality is, that the most unlikely places are where bed bugs can and will hide – in the cuffs of your clothing, and other such areas, but also, they are capable of laying eggs in the tears of your clothing. Most pest control companies have the tools and materials needed to get rid of bed bugs, but if you don’t want to go to that length and expense, you could try using a product like Harris Bed Bug Killer, but if you don’t want to use chemicals, you could try Diatomaceous Earth, which is very effective, but will go away the minute you mop your floors. Vacuuming your floors also works to get rid of bed bugs, but you must get rid of the bag as soon as you are through vacuuming each time. As for beds, portable steam machines have shown to be effective as well. Whether your infestation is light or heavy, they are difficult to deal with, but left untreated, the infestation will only get worse.