Written records of bed bug infestations and treatments date back to the 1600’s. Up until World War II and the introduction of the pesticide DDT, bed bugs were very common insects in the United States. After media reports and other literature condemned the use of DDT, pest control companies were forced to employ different tactics. This made bed bug extermination a much greater challenge. In recent years, experts have studied bed bug behavior and have reported an increase in infestations, making them a more prominent topic in society.
No more than a quarter inch in length, bed bugs are tiny parasitic insects that feed off the blood of other animals. Unfortunately for humans, bed bugs think we’re an excellent food option. Within fifteen minutes, an adult bed bug can suck enough blood to swell up to three times its size. This transformation makes it difficult to distinguish bed bugs from other insects and presents a challenge to spot them in your home.
In hot weather, bed bugs have an incubation period of about ten days. At the end of this period, a bed bug can lay five or more eggs at a time. Some females have demonstrated the ability to lay over 200 eggs in a lifetime. Newly hatched bed bugs will immediately search for food and will need approximately five full feedings before they are adult sized. Marked by a small, itchy bite, bed bugs can be a real nuisance if they infest your sleeping area or clothing. Unlike mosquitoes and other parasitic insects, these critters do not carry the risk of transmitting nasty diseases.
When learning about bed bugs, it is important to study how they travel and how an infestation is likely to occur in your home. If you’ve ever bought second-hand furniture, you may want to think twice next time. These are notorious places for bed bugs to dwell. The previous owners may have ditched the furniture because of bed bug problems; virtually handing you an infestation on a silver platter.
Neighbors and friends who enter your home also pose a risk. They can carry bed bugs on their clothes, suitcase and other personal items. Apartment buildings are more complicated because there are so many people sharing the same general area. Bed bugs can move fairly easily from one unit to the next through wiring, piping and other utilities. Apartment laundry rooms are also hotspots for bed bugs, so be careful to check your clothing before and after use.
Many believe poor extermination practices are largely responsible for the increase in bed bug infestations. Experts report that most pest control companies employ strategies used to kill spiders, roaches and other insects when trying to eliminate bed bugs. These methods do not work on bed bugs, and they continue to thrive as a result.