Bed Bugs: What are they, how to get rid of them.
Bed Bugs are a public health pest that has plagued mankind for centuries. In recent times there has been a resurgence of this pest due to many factors, the most probable is travel, as we can now travel great distances in less than a 24 hour period, (both domestic and international).
How do bed bugs spread?
Bed bugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually transported in or on luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, and other items . Bed bugs are a major pest of hostels and backpackers, motels, hotels, restaurants, boats, trains, aircraft and even private homes and apartments.
What do bed bugs look like?
The adult bed bug is reddish brown in colour. It is approximately 4-5mm long and has a flat, oval shaped body, (some people say they look similar to an apple seed). The Juvenile stages, (known as nymphs), look similar in appearance to the adults but are smaller and often transparent. Bed bugs can live on average for 6 – 12 months. Females lay 1-5 small eggs, (1mm), per day in cracks, crevices and on rough surfaces mostly in their harbourages. Eggs usually hatch in 6 -17 days depending on temperature, but it can be much longer in cooler conditions.
What do bed bugs eat?
The bed bugs only food source is blood of warm-blooded animals. Humans are their preferred host but they can readily feed upon poultry, rodents, dogs and cats. Bed bugs feed on their host through piercing /sucking mouthparts. Bed Bugs find their host by detecting warmth, carbon dioxide. Bed bugs normally feed at night favoring darkness and dormant hosts, but can feed during daylight hours depending on food supply available.
Bed bugs habour in dark locations mostly near their food source. They will hide in cracks and crevices including folds in mattresses, coils of spring ensembles, bed linings, frames and wheels, bed heads and bed side furniture, skirting boards, doors and window frames, hollow curtain rods, light fittings, carpet edges, picture frames, curtains, cornice and cracks in walls, floors and ceilings.
How common are bed bugs?
The Caboolture branch of Amalgamated Pest Control has noticed an increase in bed bug related service in recent times, an example of one such job is as follows:-
A local Caboolture resident came into the Caboolture branch with an insect specimen he collected in a jar. When I identified the specimen as a bed bug the resident could not believe it.
Treating Bed Bugs
We arranged to inspect the property to gauge the infestation level. During pest inspection of the Caboolture resident’s property the following observations were made.
- Inspection of the master bedroom and adjacent rooms revealed a high infestation of bed bugs
- Bed bugs were located to the following areas
- Mattress folds
- Carpet edge
- Bedside tables
- Behind picture frames on the wall
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs Permanently
Many times, people try to treat the problem themselves – self treatment often leads the beg bug infestation re-occuring
Successful bed bug management requires an integrated pest management approach, (IPM), meaning both the customer and the pest manager working together to resolve the infestation.
How we work with you to ensure bed bugs are gone
Our bed bug treatment process is tried and tested and we will always work with you to provide the most effective treatment.
In our example, while working with the customer the following tasks were performed:-
The Beg Bug Treatment Process
All beds were striped of bed linen prior to treatment and the bed linen was placed into sealed bag and securely tied off at the top to prevent the spread of bed bugs to other areas of the home. All bed linen was then placed in a washing machine and washed at the hottest hot water setting available. The bed linen was then placed in a dryer and subject to the highest heat setting available until dry.
- The mattress was then inspected and thoroughly vacuumed, concentrating on the seams and folds to ensure all bed bugs, nymphs and eggs were removed.
- The mattress was then placed into a mattress encasement. Mattress encasements are designed to provide a seal for complete protection against allergens, dust mites and bed bugs.
- The bed frame was dismantled to allow access to the cracks and crevices and the areas were treated and reassembled.
Bedside Furniture and the room.
- All clothing, from the bedside drawers and wardrobes and room curtains were placed into sealed bags and securely tied off at the top to prevent the spread of bed bugs to other areas of the home. All clothing, stuffed toys and curtains were then placed in a washing machine and washed at the hottest hot water setting available. The clothing and other items were then placed in a dryer and subject to the highest heat setting available until dry.
- Non washable items such as books & pictures were inspected, bagged, removed from the room and placed outside in direct sunlight prior to treatment, (this method is called solar heating and should only be used for smaller items).
- Bedside tables and wardrobes were dismantled vacuumed and treated.
- The carpets were vacuumed and a crack and crevices treatment was performed to the walls, floors and ceiling including such areas as carpet edges and skirting boards, picture frames, door and window frames, etc.
- A residual treatment was then applied to floor surface.
- Bed bug monitors were then installed to bed legs and other strategic locations within the room
This treatment and treatment method was then applied to the other bedrooms in the home.
The cushions from the lounge chairs were removed and the lounge was vacuumed and turned upside down, the bottom undercover was removed so the chairs internal voids could be inspected and treated as required.
The rest of the room was treated as listed above.
Important!: Clean the Vacuum Cleaner
When we had finished using the vacuum the contents of the vacuum were removed and placed in a sealed plastic bag and disposed of. The vacuum was then treated.
Achieving control of bed bug infestation requires
- Client / customer co-operation
- Chemical and non chemical methods
- Follow up inspections and treatments as required
If you believe or suspect that you have bed bugs, please contact your local Amalgamated Pest Control, branch for further advice.