One of the most detested and least understood pest species known to mankind is the bed bug (Cimex lectularius). How many of us fell asleep to sleep at night as youngsters with the words of our parents in our ears “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite”?
Bed Bugs may have started to predate on people at about the time when we moved into caves, the bat bugs Cimex pilosellus and Cimex pipistrella largely feed on bats and it is likely that bat feeding species of bed bus evolved to feed on human blood when our ancestors started staying} in bat infested caves.
Before the invention of DDT in the early 20th century bed bugs were common stowaways in most low quality homes.
The later part of the 20th century saw pest control companies called out to very few bed bug problems indeed, their presence being generally restricted to low quality holiday homes and student housing etc.
Most people confuse dust mites, which aren’t visible to the unaided eye, with bed bugs which most certainly.
Adult bedbugs are reddy-brown, about a quarter of an inch in size and swollen after feeding on human blood.
Bed bugs typically feed on a target’s blood every week or so, appearing in the early hours of the morning and locating their target by sniffing the exhaled CO2 from human breath and when nearby their target, body heat.
In the absence of a suitable human host to feed on they can lay dormant for periods of up to a year or more.
The first signs of a bed bug infestation are spots of blood on sheets and on the corners of mattresses and a lot of people can react badly to their bites.
The early part of this century has seen bed bug infestations growing all over the planet, the easy availability of world travel and economic migration have both been argued as reasons for the resurgence.
What is positive is that that are now making a real comeback not only in slum quality housing but high class hotels, schools and even hospitals.
One London borough reports a doubling of bed bugs infestations every year from 1995 to 2001.
One night stay in an infested premises is all it takes, they hitch a ride in your suitcases or bags. Stretford Pest control companies are also now reporting cases of transport related bed bug infestations on tubes, trains and buses so a simple journey home on an infested tube or train can be sufficient to spread bed bugs to your own home.
They are an tricky pest to deal with as contrary to popular notion they do not just live in beds. They hide in any nook and cranny suitably close to a sleeping target, beds, electrical sockets, televisions, bed side telephones etc and dealing with them is both difficult and time consuming. They have even been revealed found living under the toe-nails of infirm people and in the creases of flesh on flabby people.
They are not a pest that can be successfully tackled by an amateur and a pest control professional will almost certainly be needed.
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