About Bed Bugs
Most of us have heard the saying “Good night, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” It is an old saying which actually holds some affection, but one whose origin is based on facts.
So what are bedbugs?
Bedbugs are small parasitic insects from the family Cimicidae. The insects from this family have as a defining characteristic: they feed on the blood of warm blooded animals.
The term bedbugs is used for the insects which prefer to feed on human blood and usually live in the human environment, the term itself being a reference for their preferred nesting place in beds, sofas, easy chairs or other places where humans sleep.
The common bedbug or Cimex lectularius, is the species best adapted to the human environment and is mostly found in temperate climates, but there are other species of bedbugs found in only certain regions of the globe. Cimex hemipterus is mostly found in tropical regions and are known to also infest poultry and bats. Leptocimex boueti is a species found mostly in West Africa and South America and which infest bats as well as humans. Cimex pilosellus and Cimex pipistrella infest mostly bats, while Haematosiphon inodora, found mainly in North America, infests mainly poultry.
An adult bedbug is a reddish-brown color, with a small flattened oval body. They do not possess wings. They are usually 4-5 mm in length and 1.5 to 3 mm wide. Bedbugs have microscopic hairs which lead to their banded appearance.
Newly hatched bedbugs, known as nymphs, are translucent and have a lighter color than the adults. Their color grows darker with age, when they molt.
Main characteristics of the bedbugs
Bedbugs communicate by pheromones and kairomones and so they transmit information about nesting locations, attacks and even reproduction.
The lifespan of the bedbug varies from species to species but is also greatly influenced by the resources and the environment.
Bedbugs are not nocturnal creatures, but they are mostly active at night.
How to avoid bedbugs
Proper hygiene is the key to combating a bedbug infestation.
First, you need to change your bed sheets with clean ones once a weeks or even more frequently if you’ve had a recent infestion. Wash your bed sheets at high temperature with proper detergent to eliminate any small parasites.
Second, you need to clean the bead and air the mattress at least every couple of months and we recommend that you air the mattress and leave it in the sun for one day at least once every six months. This will eliminate any small parasite, as well as eliminate excess dead skin which has accumulated in time.
Finally, when you come back from a trip, I recommend that you wash all your clothes, because there is the possibility that a bedbug or another type of pest can reside in them. Wash your clothes at high temperatures, as bedbugs cannot survive over 45 C and all forms of life are killed by an exposure of 7 minutes at a temperature of over 46 C.