One of the most detested and misunderstood pests known to mankind is the bed bug (Cimex lectularius). How many of us dropped off to sleep at night as youngsters with the parting rhyme of our parents in our ears “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite”?
Bed Bugs most probably started to feed on human beings at about the time when we moved into caves, the bat bugs Cimex pilosellus and C pipistrella primarily feed on bats and it is a fair chance that bat feeding species of bed bus evolved to feed on human blood when our ancestors started staying} in bat infested caves.
Before the production of DDT in the early 20th century bed bugs were common unwelcome guests in most low quality homes.
The later years of the 20th century saw pest operatives called out to very few bed bug call outs indeed, their presence being largely restricted to budget holiday hotels and student housing etc.
Most people mistake dust mites, which aren’t visible to the naked, with bed bugs which most certainly can be seen.
Adult bedbugs are reddish in colour, about a quarter of an inch in size and swollen after a feed of human blood.
Bed bugs regularly feed on a target’s blood every week or so, appearing in the early hours of the morning and finding their target by smelling the exhaled carbon dioxide from human breath and when close in on their target, the heat from the body of their intended target.
In the absence of a suitable human host to feed on they can lie in a period of dormancy for periods of up to 18 months.
Signs of a bed bug infestation are spots of blood on bedding and on the edges of mattresses and many people can react badly to the bites of these bugs.
The early part of this century has seen bed bug numbers expoding all over the planet, the easy availability of international and economic migration have both been argued as reasons for the resurgence.
What is positive is that that are now making a real resurgence not only in cheaper quality housing but high class hotels, schools and even hospitals.
One London borough cited a doubling of bed bugs problems every year from 1995 to 2001.
One night stay in an infested premises is all it takes, they catch a ride in your suitcases or bags. Stretford Pest control companies are also now reporting cases of transport related bed bug infestations on tubes, trains and buses so a simple ride to work on an infested tube or train can be sufficient to spread bed bugs to your own home.
They are an tricky pest to eradicate as contrary to popular opinion they do not just live in beds. They hide in any nook and cranny anywhere close to a sleeping human, beds, electrical sockets, televisions, bed side telephones etc and dealing with them is both laborious and time consuming. They have even been revealed found living under the toe-nails of infirm people and in the creases of flesh on very fat people.
They are not a pest that can be tackled by an amateur and a pest control professional will almost certainly be required.
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