Amongst the most detested and least understood pests identified by man is the bedbug (Cimex lectularius). What number of us dropped off to sleep in bed as young ones with the words of our dads and moms in our ears “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite”?
Bed Bugs most probably started to feed on man at about the period we moved into caves, the bat bugs Cimex pilosellus and C pipistrella mainly fed on bats and it is likely that bat feeding species of bed bugs evolved to feast upon man when our ancestors started staying in bat infested caves.
Until the arrival of DDT during the early 20th century bed bugs were common stowaways in most low quality homes.
The later part of the 20th century saw pest operatives called out to very few bed bug infestations indeed, their presence being generally restricted to budget holiday hotels and student accomadation etc.
A lot of people mistake dust mites, which cannot be seen by the naked, with bed bugs which certainly.
Adult bedbugs are reddy-brown, about a few milemetres in size and engorged after dining on human blood.
Bed bugs typically feed on a target’s blood every week or so, emerging in the early hours of the morning and homing in on their target by sniffing the exhaled carbon dioxide from human breath and once close in on their target, the heat from the body of their intended target.
In the absence of an acceptable human meal to dine on they might stay in a period of dormancy for periods of up to a year or more.
Signs of a bed bug problem are spots of blood on sheets and on the base of mattresses and a lot of people can react badly to bed bug bites.
The early part of this century has seen bed bug numbers expoding across the earth, the easy availability of overseas and economic migration have both been argued as reasons for the resurgence.
What is known is that they are now making a real fightback not only in slum quality property but top class hotels, schools and also hospitals.
One London borough reported a doubling of bed bug bites reports on a yearly basis from 1995 to 2001.
One evening away in an infested hotel is all it requires, they catch a ride in your suitcases or bags.
Pest control businesses are also now confirming cases of transport related bed bug infestations on transport of all kinds so a simple ride to work on an infested tube or train may be sufficient to bring bed bugs to your home.
They are an tricky pest to deal with as despite popular opinion they do not just live in beds. They hide in any nook and cranny anywhere 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 discovered 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 tackled by a beginner and a pest control professional will quite definitely be essential.