Bed Bugs

Acknowledgement: Some of the material in this article is being used with permission of Harvard University
bed bug taking a meal
Not long ago bed bugs were considered has beens of the pest world. Now, however, in the wake of restrictrions on the most powerful pesticides, increased travel, and urban congestion, bed bugs have made a serious comeback. In this article we consider the phenomenon of bed bug return, and we will look at the life style and life cycle of this ubiquitous pests.

Bed bugs are part of the insect family Cimicidae. There are three Cimicidae species that feed on people. The most common bedbug one found in human infestations is Cimex lectularius. Bedbugs may feed on any type of warm blooded mammal, including bats, birds, and rats.

Cimex lectularius is most often seen in the northern temperate climates of North America, Europe, and Central Asia and is most adapted for city dwelling areas. It is found more sporadically in southern temperate regions. In Florida and tropical locales it is replaced by C. hemipterus. At one time, as a result of effective insecticides such as DDT, bedbug infestations were greatly diminished in number. In recent years, however, because of the ban on the most powerful insecticides, greater urban congestion and the increase in international travel, they have made a comeback.

IDENTIFICATION AND LIFE CYCLE


Mature bed bugs have no wings and are 1/5 inch long oval rusty red or mahogany in color. Bed bug bodies are very thin and have long antennae. Bedbug eyes are small, and the area behind their head puffs out on either side giving the appearance of a renaissance ruff collar. Immature bedbugs appear identical to adults except for their size, thinner cuticle, and a lighter, yellowish white color. Bed bugs are readily distinguished from kissing bugs, the vector of Chagas disease by their smaller size, more rounded shape, and lack of wings as adults.

Bed bugs can multiplying rapidly, and even a single pregnant female can infest a home. A single fertilized female lays anywhere from 200 to 500 eggs (in batches of 10 to 50). They lay their eggs in very readily available places including rough surfaces such as wood or paper. Bed bug eggs are covered with a sticky substance and hatch in about 10 days. Even after the eggs hatch, the shells frequently remain on the substrate.

Subsequently, bed bugs pass through five nymphal stages of growth. Characteristically, the nymphs require a single blood meal before molting to the next stage. The entire life cycle from egg to adult stretches over a span of time lasting anywhere from 5 weeks to 4 months, depending on temperature. Bed bugs develop more quickly in a warm climate with thermometer readings ranging from 72 to 80 degrees. Both  nymphs and adults most commonly take their blood meal at night and hide in crevices during the day. Common  hiding places include mattresses and box spring seams, cracks in bed frames, spaces behind loose wallpaper, backs of picture frames, and insides of furniture fabric coverings.

Bed bugs can live for 80 to 140 days without any nourishment; more mature ones can live longer without feeding than younger ones. Adult bed bugs have continued without nutrition for as long as 550 days. A bed bug can ingest six times its weight in blood, and their meals can extend 3 to 10 minutes. They generally live about 10 months and can produce up to 3 or 4 generations of oppspring in the course of a year.

Bed bugs may be picked up in theaters, on buses and trains, and subsequently brought into homes on clothing, bedding, luggage, or even firewood. Additionally, although much less commonly, bed bugs that feed on other mammals and birds (chickens, mice, rats, and rabbits) that live near the home may under some circumstances feed on humans if, for example, their primary hosts disappear.

Financial and Social Price of the Bed Bug Infestation

Bed bug epidemics take a bite out of the social and financial well being of anyone suffering the presence of these scuzzy pests in their residence. Bed bug infestations are more difficult to treat than your typical residential pest problem, but in some situations the cost can rise remarkably. For example, an assisted living center in Martin County, North Carolina recently spent over $100,000 to eradicate bed bugs. Bed bug infestations also assess a stiff social toll when girlfriends, relatives, and friends find out that you’re living in a dwelling infested with the annoying bloodsuckers.

A New York entertainer recently published an online article about the sometimes amusing but oft-times embarrassing social side effects of this modern infestation. One night the aspiring entertainer successfully lured a new beaux back to his flat, but to his chagrin she woke up the next morning with bed bug bites on her arms. The burgeoning relationship experienced a set back to say the least. Similar encounters occurred again and again and introduced a wrinkle in his social life. The problem in his apartment introduced itself into other social encounters. One evening he was eating at a reputable dining establishment with aqauaintances when a bed bug unexpectedly stepped off his shirt’s sleave and dropped onto the table. Keeping in mind that a single bed bug is capable of clearing a courtroom, it’s not difficult to imagine how this uninvited intruder put a damper on the evening.

Bed bugs can also put pressure on family relations. A mother-in-law thought the bed bugs in her home were a minor nuisance and mistakenly thought her daughter-in-law would feel the same way. The daughter and her husband were invited to be guests for the Thanksgiving holiday. After waking up with bed bug bites, the daughter-in-law moved her husband and herself to a near-by hotel. She trashed her entire set of luggage, and on returning home she washed all her clothes in hot water followed by drying at high heat. The mother-in-law was aggravated by her daughter’s extreme response and wrote to an online columnist. The columnist responded unsympathetically. She wrote to the mother that everything the daughter did was recommended actions to take when bed bugs are discovered. The mother-in-law should cease lambasting the daughter, should pay her for all damages, and should straight away get her house adequately exterminated. Hopefully, the columnist’s cogent suggestions saved the mother-daugther-in-law relationship.

Landlord tenant relations can also suffer, at times, when the noisome vampire bugs are discovered in one of the rental flats. In the worst of scenarios, tenants have taken landlords to court and sometimes won large settlements for discomfort due to the blood suckers, and ill treatment by the landlords. In other situations landlords are nervous as new local ordinances increase their responsibility for maintaining their units as bug free.

So bed bug infestations are much more than the discomfort engendered by vexatious bites in the dark, they are social plagues as well that create drastic social consequences. These two accompanying consequences of the bed bug plague illustrate why the community is so panicked about the tiny leech like bugs. And they explain why people are agreeable to shelling out large sums of money to bed bug technicians who will eradicate these vixom pests.

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Social Price of A Bed Bug Infestation

Bed bugs take a bite out of the social and financial security of anyone suffering the inhabitance of these scuzzy pests in their flat. Bed bug infestations are more difficult to treat than your average house bug problem, but at times the cost can inordinately rise . A responsbile assisted living center in Martin County, North Carolina had to hand over more than $100,000 to a pest control company for their eradication services. There is also a social cost for bed bug infestations, as relations with neighbors, loved-ones, and family members can sometimes suffer because of the presense of the skeevy invaders.

A New York comedian recently shed light on the at times painful social side effects of this modern home invader. Riding the waves of success from his first National TV commerical the upcoming performer was able to to convince a girl to spend the night with him, only to find she was covered with bed bug bites in the morning. The budding relationship experienced a set back to say the least. Similar encounters occurred repeatedly, and introduced a wrinkle in his social life. The problem in his apartment soon put a damper on other social encounters. One evening he was eating dinner at an upscale eating establishment when a single bed bug dropped off his shirt and onto the table. The comedian turned red as uh, uh, well fed bed bug. A single one of these blood gobbling monsters can clear a courtroom, and needless to say the uninvited guest who decided to drop in for dinner was not welcome.

Bed bugs can also seriously pressure family relations. A mother-in-law considered the bed bugs in her home to be a minor nuisance and mistakenly thought her daughter-in-law would feel the same way. The daughter and her husband were invited to be guests for the Thanksgiving holiday. After waking up with bed bug bites, she moved her husband and herself to a near-by inn. She subsequently threw out their entire luggage and on returning home scrupulously washed all the clothes, she had taken with her, in hot water followed by drying at high heat. The mother-in-law, who felt the response was extreme, wrote to an advice column. The columnist responded unsympathetically. She praised the daughter for responding appropriately to exposure to bed bugs . She ordered the mother to compensate the daughter for her financial loss, and to adequately disinfect the home from bed bugs. Possibly, the columnist’s timely advice saved the mother-daugther-in-law relationship.

Landlord tenant relations can also suffer, at times, when the sleazy vampire bugs are discovered in one of the rental flats. In the very worst of scenarios, tenants have taken their landlords to court, at times winning large settlements. At best landlords are more nervous as new ordinances define growing responsibilities for landlords with bug infested buildings. .

So bed bug infestations are much more than the discomfort engendered by irritating bites in the dark, they are social afflictions as well that assess oppressive social consequences. These two accompanying consequences of the insect plague bring to view why the community is so unnerved about the tiny predator bugs. And they explain why people are willing to shell out large sums of money to bed bug technicians who will rid their homes and apartments of these vixom pests.

Resource:
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Bed Bugs Still in the News

An examination of daily news reports

Bed Bugs Appearing Everywhere

Bed Bugs on a Mattress

about bed bugs indicates the pesty invaders continue to make headway across America and around the world.n a recently released survey conducted by Terminex, Philadelphia has displaced New York as the most bed bug infested city in America. They achieved that dubious distinction after the number of calls for bed bugs rose %300 per cent over the last year. What was the chilling about the report was the number of smaller cities who entered the rankings this years with rises in calls for bed bugs by as much as 1,000%.

One finding of great concern was described in a report coming out of a mid west town, which noted that local bed bugs appeared to be gaining immunity to some of the standard chemicals being used for eradication. In other areas the fear of infestation is rising to such a pitch that neighbors in one locale called the police when a woman from a bed bug infested home threw her mattress into the local dump. And all over experts report that the bed bugs, which cause painful itching and general discomfort, are robbing many people of their sleep, which leads to daily crankiness, poor memory recall, and mood disturbances.

Bed bugs do not carry disease; however, they bite the victim after anesthetizing local tissue with a chemical secreted by their mouth glands, and they leave itchy and painful bites, which can become infected. Worse than the bites and the itch is the perception that a tiny creature is crawling in the victims bed, sucking off his or her blood, and leaving fecal stains on the sides and in creases of their mattress. The thought is enough to rob many people of their sleep.