The common bedbug ‘Cimex lecularius’ is becoming an increasing problem throughout the UK and the wider world, Greater Manchester and Lancashire is no exception.
Bedbugs are small wingless insects that measure about 5-7mm when fully grown. They are flattened ‘dorsoventrally’ meaning they are flat to the surface they are attached to rather than being thin like a flea. This means they are perfectly suited to hiding in small cracks and crevices.
When a pest controller visits to look for bedbugs he generally knows the usual places they like to hide, some of these places often amaze the homeowner, places such as cracks in bedside lamps or behind wallpaper are often the resting place of bedbugs
When the bedbugs hasn’t fed it will appear a pale yellow or brown colour but as soon as they feed and are full of blood they will take on a much darker brown. Bedbugs have a piercing mouthpart which they use to pierce the host skin, they have three pairs of legs and tarsal claws which are developed for holding onto their hosts skin during feeding.
Bedbugs preferred host on which to feed is the human but if they cant find a human host they will feed on dogs, cats and even poultry. Both the male and female feed on human blood, the female using the proteins from blood to produce eggs. The bedbugs feed during the hours of darkness, as it comes light they will withdraw to their daytime resting areas of cracks and crevices, where they can digest their meal of human blood in peace.
Although their isn’t thought to be a problem with biting bedbugs spreading disease it really isn’t pleasant to have an infestation, the bites often causing itching, swelling and redness for most people. Once you know you have a problem most people struggle to sleep
The first thing if you believe you have a problem with biting insects, bedbugs or fleas is to call a local pest controller, PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE BEDDING OR MATTRESSES FROM THE ROOM. You can help by tidying up the floor area, but should you start removing things from the room you are likely to spread bedbugs, eggs and nymphs around your home.
Problems with bedbugs have increased the world over and there are many causes. As cockroaches have become increasingly rare hotels have relaxed there insect control and this has allowed bedbugs a bit more of a free run not helped by the removal of certain chemicals from recommended use in different parts of the world. When this is mixed with the increase in foreign travel the bedbug can become a successful international jetsetter! Helped by many transient migrant, student and tourist populations.
Bedbugs are also known to be spread by the movement of secondhand furniture, so even bedbugs are fans of some of our popular internet auction sites!
The bedbugs in the picture above were found on a hotel mattress. The proprietor had no idea that the bugs were present, even searches of the room had failed to show up signs…bedbugs can go un-noticed for a long period with bites only showing a reaction in a small number of people.
Should you need any help or advice for any insect pest control problem call Ian Smith- 07821 318954.
The serious negative effects of bed bugs are more mental than physical, but the itchy bites can’t be ignored either. The mental effects are stress and lack of sleep. (And then there’s delusory parasitosis—meaning the bugs really are gone, but you can’t shake the feeling that they’re still there.) Even if the thought of sleeping with bed bugs doesn’t keep you up at night, the time and money it takes to get rid of them can stress you out. Bed bugs can be a public relations nightmare. You’d hope customers would respect a proactive hotel, motel, or landlord who tried to educate them before a problem came in, but that’s rarely the case. Simply the mention of bed bugs can deter customers. And householders worry what friends, family, and neighbors will say if their problem becomes known. Bed bugs aren’t associated with filth or social status, but many people think they are. Bed bugs aren’t known to transmit disease. And some people don’t even get marks when bit. But scratching bites can lead to a secondary infection. Resist the urge to scratch. People with health problems and children are more at risk for infection because their immune systems are compromised or they can’t stop scratching.
Any place with a high turnover of people spending the night—hostels, hotels near airports, and resorts—are most at risk. But the list continues… apartments, barracks, buses, cabins, churches, community centers, cruise ships, dormitories, dressing rooms, health clubs, homes, hospitals, jets, laundromats, motels, motor homes, moving vans, nursing homes, office buildings, resorts, restaurants, schools, subways, theaters, trains, used furniture outlets…. Bed bugs don’t prefer locations based on sanitation or people’s hygiene. If there’s blood, they’re happy. Bed bugs and their relatives occur nearly worldwide. They became relatively scarce during the latter part of the 20th century, but their populations have resurged in recent years, particularly throughout parts of North America, Europe, and Australia. What about in your home? Most stay near where people sleep, hiding near the bed, a couch or armchair (if that’s where you snooze)—even cribs and playpens. Their flat bodies allow them to hide in cracks and crevices around the room and in furniture joints. Hiding sites include mattress seams, bed frames, nearby furniture, or baseboards. Clutter offers more places to hide and makes it harder to get rid of them. Bed bugs can be found alone but more often congregate in groups. They’re not social insects, though, and don’t build nests. How infestations spread through a home or within an apartment building differs from case to case. Inspect all adjacent rooms. Bed bugs travel easily along pipes and wires and the insides of walls can harbor them. Before treating, you need to confirm that you have bed bugs. The only way to do that is to find a bug and get it identified. Look in the most likely places first. We tell you how. If you find one, freeze it for identification or put it in a sealed jar with a 1 tsp. of rubbing alcohol. Then stop looking—you don’t want to disrupt the bugs—and call a professional.
Bed bugs come in as stowaways in luggage, furniture, clothing, pillows, boxes, and more when these are moved between dwellings. Moving out won’t solve the problem, since bed bugs will just come with you. In fact, while dealing with bed bugs it’s best not to sleep away from home. Used furniture, particularly bed frames and mattresses, are most likely to harbor bed bugs. Watch out for items found on the curb! Because they survive for many months without food, bed bugs could already be present in clean, vacant apartments. In a few cases, bats or birds could introduce and maintain bed bugs and their close relatives—usually bat bugs and bird bugs. The source of the infestation determines where your inspection should start. Look through these scenarios and see which fits: Only one bedroom: inspect that room first. People watch TV or snooze on a couch: check it after inspecting the bedroom. A traveler returned home: insects can hide in luggage and then crawl out when it’s dark and peaceful—begin where luggage was placed upon returning home. A used bed or piece of furniture (bought or from the curb) was brought into the house: inspect it first. The problem began after a visitor stayed overnight: inspect the beds that they slept in and where their luggage was placed. Next, inspect the nearest place where people sleep. An infestation persists after several treatments by a professional: bed bugs may come through the wall from a neighboring apartment. Inspect rooms that share a wall with a neighbor. (This scenario happens in large apartment complexes and hotels where management didn’t get adjacent rooms treated.) If the building has a laundry room, inspect it too. Home health aides come in frequently: bed bugs may have hitched a ride on their bags. Backpacks go to and from school: could have bed bugs. Inspect the bed or couch nearest the spot where backpacks are kept.
You can’t describe the bites as looking only one way. Some look and feel like mosquito or flea bites. Some people don’t react at all. On the opposite extreme, others get big itchy welts that take two or more weeks to heal. There’s a myth that bed bug bites occur in threes (“breakfast, lunch, and dinner”), but it’s not true. Bites can occur singly, in clumps, or in a line. Bites can show up within hours—or two weeks later. Confirming an infestation on bites alone is impossible. You need evidence: a bed bug. Bed bugs usually feed while people sleep, about an hour before dawn. But if they’re hungry and given the opportunity, they feed anytime. Feeding itself is painless—the bed bug’s saliva numbs the skin and makes the blood easier to drink. But later, many people react to the saliva, getting itchy bumps or rashes. After feeding for about five minutes, drawing only a drop or two of blood, bugs return to their hiding places. Although bed bugs can live for over a year without feeding, they typically seek blood every five to ten days. The only way to know for sure what bit you is to find a bug and get it identified. Bed bugs live off only blood—like mosquitoes do. They probably prefer to feed on people. But if people move out, bed bugs can survive by feeding on rats or mice—so control these pests, too. They’re attracted by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide—what we animals breathe out. They usually feed about an hour before dawn, but given the opportunity, they may feed at other times of day or night.</p> <p>Remember—not everyone reacts to bed bug bites. (Not everyone reacts to poison ivy, either.) You could get an itchy rash while your home companion gets—nothing.</p> <p>If you think bed bugs bit you, have a PMP do a thorough inspection to determine whether an arthropod is in your living space, or send samples to a diagnostic lab
Bed bugs may have evolved when a close relative, the bat bug, switched to feeding off cave-dwelling humans. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans wrote about them. They were part of many peoples’ lives in the U.S. and around the world before World War II. Then DDT came along. DDT seemed wonderful at the time. Unlike most of the insecticides sold in stores today, DDT had a lasting effect—a long residual effect. Insects died when they crawled where DDT was used, even if it had been there for weeks. Though most homeowners used DDT for large pests like cockroaches, it did the bed bugs in too. When the bed bugs came out to feed, there was something there to kill them. Modern furnishings and appliances helped too. Bed bugs don’t care if a home is clean or messy. They just like good hiding spots—and food. When modern furniture came into style they had fewer hiding spots. Home appliances such as washing machines and vacuums helped keep them at bay. Bed bugs were a rarity in the US from the early 1950’s through the late 1990’s. A whole generation of people grew up who’d never seen one. By the mid 1970’s insecticides like DDT, which were blamed for environmental problems, were on the outs. The pest control industry began to use the environmentally friendly approaches common today. Using noninsecticide traps and monitors, blocking entry into homes, and using pest-specific, least-toxic insecticides became the staples of an integrated pest management approach. Bed bugs had been off the radar for so long they were almost forgotten. By the time anyone noticed, they were back in a big way. Right now there are no traps or monitors proven to detect a population when it’s still small. And since bed bugs travel on things such as luggage, souvenirs, and furniture we bring into our homes, it’s hard to block their entry. Fortunately, some modern insecticides work well. Because these insecticides break down quickly—making them safer for humans—they may not be around to kill the bed bugs that hatch from eggs laid before the insecticide was applied. Two or more carefully targeted applications are the best way to eliminate bed bugs. Leave insecticides to the professionals—even the right ones, used incorrectly, can scatter bed bugs to other rooms. It would take an extremely capable and dedicated person to learn and do everything necessary to get rid of bed bugs on their own.
flashlight. magnifier or hand lens. a vial, pill bottle, or ziplock bag to hold specimens for identification. tweezers or sticky tape to help grab the bugs. gloves (vinyl, latex, etc.—or even a plastic bag over your hand). knife, index card, or credit card for swiping bed bugs out of cracks. trash bags and tape for bagging infested items. vacuum cleaner (just in case you find a large group): keep a few for identification and suck up the rest. Since the vacuum bag will have live bugs in it, take out the bag right away. Seal it in a plastic bag and throw it away. Look for bed bugs in all their life stages: eggs, nymphs and adults. Also look for cast skins and blood spots. But note: blood spots, hatched eggs, and cast skins may be from an infestation that’s been dealt with already. Live bed bugs are the only confirming evidence. Use a flashlight—even if the area is well lit—and work systematically. A magnifying glass will help you zoom in on hard to see spots. Start with one corner of the mattress and work around the piping, down the sides, and underneath. Do the same with the box spring. If you own the bed, slowly remove the dust cover (ticking) on the bottom of the box spring and seal in a trash bag. Next, inspect the bed frame. If you can take it apart, do so. Bed bugs could be hiding in the joints. No bed bugs yet? Work out from the bed in a systematic way (clockwise or counter-clockwise) to the walls of the room. Look in the pleats of curtains, beneath loose pieces of wallpaper near the bed, the corners and drawers of desks and dressers, within spaces of wicker furniture, behind door, window, and baseboard trim, and in laundry or other items on the floor or around the room such as cardboard boxes. Inspect everything. Any crack, crevice, or joint a credit card edge could fit in could hide adult bed bugs. This routine gives you a systematic approach and increases the chance you’ll find evidence early on. One last way to inspect—about an hour before dawn, lift the sheets and turn on a flashlight. It might lead to a discovery, but this method can also be unsettling. If you don’t find bed bugs but bites continue or you find blood spots on bedding, contact a professional with bed bug experience and have them inspect. Professional inspection may be done by a person or by a bed bug-sniffing dog and its handler. Dogs have a powerful sense of smell and can be trained to find bed bugs (which do give off an odor). They’re best used to find infestations. If used to tell whether bed bugs are gone, they may find old evidence rather than fresh. If you hire a handler and dog, be sure they’re accredited. If you find bed bugs at home, it’s best to keep sleeping in the bed—or try to find someone who will sleep there. Packing up to spend time elsewhere could bring bugs to an uninfested area. And the bugs could move to neighboring rooms in search of a meal.