WILL PEST CONTROL GET RID OF BED BUGS?
That was the question my pal asked me a few days ago.
He seemed to be a bit skeptical about the current pest control methods being used against bed bugs, those tiny insects that suck blood from their hosts. He did have a point.
Bed bugs are everywhere, and millions of Americans are struggling with its population explosion with no end in sight. These bloodsucking insects seemed to have grown stronger than ever and have developed some form of resistance to pesticides that used to work against them.
Most customer complaints received by pest control companies also involve bed bug infestation. Knowing these, I do not blame my friend for being so skeptical.
Pest control can be defined as the act of controlling insects or animals that affect the human way of life negatively. Supposedly – based on the definition – pest control should take care of the bed bug infestation problems that have been bugging all of us.
So why are they still around?
There actually is no single answer to that. In this article, we will explore what bed bugs are, how they became such an unstoppable force, and discuss how we can protect ourselves from these bugs.
“Don’t let the bed bugs bite”
Bed bugs are small insects, about 4 to 5 mm in length and 1 to 3 mm in width. To give you a perspective on how small they are, bed bugs are the size of an apple seed. They have flat, oval-shaped bodies that are brownish in color. Their appearance change after a blood meal, turning red in color and their bodies bloat. Bed bugs are not capable of flying but can crawl quickly. Their flat bodies allow them to hide in small cracks and crevices that make them difficult to reach.
Bed bugs feed at night since they are nocturnal. There are cases, however, when they feed during the day. This is especially true when the opportunity presents itself, like when they catch a host sleeping during the day and the infestation is heavy.
Female adult bed bugs can produce hundreds of eggs in their lifetime. This is why they are so successful and, as we said, there seems to be no end in sight as far as bed bug infestation is concerned.
Bed bugs go through a complete metamorphosis all their lives. They begin as eggs, which look like grains and are white in color. These eggs are placed in small cracks and crevices to keep them safe. An egg is 1 mm in size, making it hard to see with the naked eye. These eggs hatch within two weeks. After the eggs hatch, they turn into nymphs.
The nymphs are young, immature bed bugs that molt 5 times before they reach maturity. They are of course much smaller than the adults but they look the same. They are also not yet capable of reproducing. The younger nymphs are yellowish-white, while the older ones are brownish-red in color. At this stage, they are already bloodsuckers, as they need a blood meal in order to molt to the next stage.
If the temperature is right, nymphs become adults in 5 weeks. Then the cycle starts all over again with the adults reproducing another batch of eggs.
This information is important if we are to beat the bed bugs. Identification will always be the first step. Let us find out where they hide.
Initially, bed bugs would hide in areas that are near their food host. In this case, they stay around the bed where the host sleeps. They can be found in the mattress, in headboards and bed frames. When their numbers increase, then they spread to other parts of the house. They would hide in cracks and crevices of walls and floors, inside drawers, on furniture, carpets, and even inside electrical receptacles.
If they spread like this, it would be very difficult to beat them.
How do we get bed bugs in the first place?
Did you know that we once beat the bed bugs in America?
It happened in the 1950s after scientists discovered new pesticides that helped eradicate them all. Americans lived relatively restful lives for about four decades, only to resurface in the 1990s.
Travel was said to be the reason why bed bugs first came to the United States in the 19th century, and travel was once again said to be the main reason why they made a major comeback in the ’90s. More and more Americans are going to many different countries as the world gets smaller. Along the way, they get to pick up bed bugs, be it in cheap motels or 5-star hotels.
Bed bugs do not choose any place to stay as long as they can feed on human or animal blood. They are very good hitchhikers; they latch on luggage or clothes. This way American travelers take them back home.
Other ways to get bed bugs is when you buy or bring in used furniture or clothes that may have bed bugs on them.
Bed bugs as pests
Bed bugs are one of the most common household pests. They bite their hosts in order to suck blood. We would not feel them biting because aside from the fact that we are asleep, they inject an enzyme that acts as anesthesia, making their bloodsucking activity unhindered and our sleep undisturbed.
Their bites are itchy and look ugly on the skin. These bites would not show up until after 7 to 14 days, however. These bites usually heal by themselves without any need for medical intervention. You can simply wash the bites with soap and water.
Bed bugs are considered as high health risk pests by three government agencies, namely the United States Department of Agriculture, the Center for Disease Control, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Even though they are not known to transmit diseases, cases of insomnia, stress, anxiety, and social isolation, and even depression.
With all these negative effects, we really should act swiftly if we have a solution for bed bug infestation at home.
What are the signs that they are around?
Signs of bed bugs
Watch out for these signs of bed bugs so that you may act on them quickly.
Keep in mind that if you wait any further, it would be too late.
- Bloody marks on the mattress. If you do not have a wound yourself, then these marks are probably bed bugs that you have crushed as you were sleeping.
- A sweet, musty odor coming from the scent glands of bed bugs.
- Skin shedding on the bed.
- Fecal stains that are red in color.
- Actually seeing a bed bug. Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, especially if your mattress and pillowcases are white in color.
Pest control methods that can get rid of bed bugs
It is really scary to have bed bugs. Their negative effects are a real threat. It is a good thing that there are pest control methods to help us keep them in check.
It may take a long time to completely eradicate them, but all is not lost with these tips to eliminate bed bugs yourself.
- Use some diatomaceous earth and sprinkle it around areas where there are bed bugs. You may purchase this item from a local gardening store near you. Diatomaceous earth is made of fossilized remains of diatoms and appears as tiny shards of broken glass. Once the bed bugs crawl on it, it would inflict tiny cuts on their bodies and kill them.
- When it comes to tiny pests like bed bugs, the vacuum cleaner is your best friend. Vacuum in places where bed bugs like to hide, like in cracks and crevices, on furniture, and on the beds. After vacuuming, tie up the vacuum’s bag and dispose of it properly.
- If you are living in an apartment unit, immediately inform the landlords so that they would be the ones to call for a pest control company. This would also stop the spread of bed bugs to the rest of the units.
- Wash your bedding in hot, soapy water. This will kill the bed bugs. After washing, dry it using a dryer and place it on its maximum setting. Do this for 30 minutes.
- You may also want to invest in bed bug proof mattress encasements. These are fabric sacks in which you can slide your mattress or even your box springs into to protect you from bed bug bites.
I do hope you would not lose faith in pest control methods like my pal, but if all these fail, there is still hope.
To get rid of bed bugs, you may call the Raleigh exterminator for bed bugs, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth has earned the trust of residents and businesses in Raleigh for 60 years now.
For more information, or to request a free estimate, call us now or check us out on www.go-forth.com.