Thursday, October 18, 2007

What are bed bugs?

What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are insects. Cimex lectularius is the species most commonly found in homes. Adult bed bugs have oval-shaped bodies with no wings. Prior to feeding, they are about 1/4 inch long and flat as paper. After feeding, they turn dark red and become bloated. Eggs are whitish, pear-shaped and about the size of a pinhead. Clusters of 10-50 eggs can be found in cracks and crevices.

Bed bugs have a one-year life span during which time a female can lay 200-400 eggs depending on food supply and temperature. Eggs hatch in about 10 days.

There are currently no known cases of disease associated with bed bug bites. Most people are not aware that they have been bitten. People who are more sensitive to the bite can have localized allergic reactions. Scratching the bitten areas may lead to infection.

What do bed bugs feed on?

Bed bugs prefer to feed on human blood, but will also bite mammals and birds. Bed bugs bite at night, and will bite all over a human body, especially around the face, neck, upper torso, arms and hands. Bed bugs can survive up to six months without feeding. Both male and female bed bugs bite.

How do bed bugs get into my home?

Bed bugs are often carried into a home on objects such as furniture and clothing. Bed bugs can be found in areas such as:

* Seams, creases, tufts and folds of mattresses and box springs
* Cracks in the bed frame and head board
* Under chairs, couches, beds, dust covers
* Between the cushions of couches and chairs
* Under area rugs and the edges of carpets
* Between the folds of curtains
* In drawers
* Behind baseboards, and around window and door casings
* Behind electrical plates and under loose wallpaper, paintings and posters
* In cracks in plaster
* In telephones, radios, and clocks

Bed bugs can also travel from apartment to apartment along pipes, electrical wiring and other openings.

What can I do if I have bed bugs in my home?

The best method to deal with bed bugs is Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which combines a variety of techniques and products that pose the least risk to human health and the environment.

1. Consult with your local health department or a professional Pest Control operator to confirm that you have bed bugs.
2. Inspect your mattress and bed frame, particularly the folds, crevices and the underside, and other locations where bed bugs like to hide.
3. Use a nozzle attachment on the vacuum to capture the bed bugs and their eggs. Vacuum all crevices on your mattress, bed frame, baseboards and any objects close to the bed. It is essential to vacuum daily and empty the vacuum immediately.
4. Wash all your linens and place them in a hot dryer for 20 minutes. Consider covering your pillows and mattress with a plastic cover.
5. Remove all unnecessary clutter.
6. Seal cracks and crevices between baseboards, on wood bed frames, floors and walls with caulking. Repair or remove peeling wallpaper, tighten loose light switch covers, and seal any openings where pipes, wires or other utilities come into your home (pay special attention to walls that are shared between apartments).
7. Monitor daily by setting out glue boards or sticky tape (carpet tape works well) to catch the bed bugs. Closely examine any items that you are bringing into your home. Note: Furniture put out by someone else for garbage pick-up could be infested with bed bugs. Use caution.
8. Consult professional pest control services and discuss options that pose the least risk to humans and the environment.

Note: If you choose to treat the infestation with an insecticide, call a Professional Pest Control Service for more information. Use the least toxic product available and follow all manufacturers’ instructions.

Whether you choose Integrated Pest Management or insecticides, you may continue to see some living bed bugs for up to ten days. This is normal. If you continue to see a large number of bed bugs after two weeks, contact a professional pest control service.

For more information:

Toronto Public Health – Toronto Health Connection 416-338-7600
New York State Integrated Pest Management Program

1 comment:

Stephen Tvedten said...

How to kill pests without killing yourself or the earth......

There are about 50 to 60 million insect species on earth - we have named only about 1 million and there are only about 1 thousand pest species - already over 50% of these thousand pests are already resistant to our volatile, dangerous, synthetic pesticide POISONS. We accidentally lose about 25,000 to 100,000 species of insects, plants and animals every year due to "man's footprint". But, after poisoning the entire world and contaminating every living thing for over 60 years with these dangerous and ineffective pesticide POISONS we have not even controlled much less eliminated even one pest species and every year we use/misuse more and more pesticide POISONS to try to "keep up"! Even with all of this expensive and unnecessary pollution - we lose more and more crops and lives to these thousand pests every year.

We are losing the war against these thousand pests mainly because we insist on using only synthetic pesticide POISONS and fertilizers There has been a severe "knowledge drought" - a worldwide decline in agricultural R&D, especially in production research and safe, more effective pest control since the advent of synthetic pesticide POISONS and fertilizers. Today we are like lemmings running to the sea insisting that is the "right way". The greatest challenge facing humanity this century is the necessity for us to double our global food production with less land, less water, less nutrients, less science, frequent droughts, more and more contamination and ever-increasing pest damage.

National Poison Prevention Week, March 18-24,2007 was created to highlight the dangers of poisoning and how to prevent it. One study shows that about 70,000 children in the USA were involved in common household pesticide-related (acute) poisonings or exposures in 2004. At least two peer-reviewed studies have described associations between autism rates and pesticides (D'Amelio et al 2005; Roberts EM et al 2007 in EHP). It is estimated that 300,000 farm workers suffer acute pesticide poisoning each year just in the United States - No one is checking chronic contamination.
In order to try to help "stem the tide", I have just finished re-writing my IPM encyclopedia entitled: THE BEST CONTROL II, that contains over 2,800 safe and far more effective alternatives to pesticide POISONS. This latest copyrighted work is about 1,800 pages in length and is now being updated at my new website at http://www.stephentvedten.com/ .

This new website at http://www.stephentvedten.com/ has been basically updated; all we have left to update is Chapter 39 and to renumber the pages. All of these copyrighted items are free for you to read and/or download. There is simply no need to POISON yourself or your family or to have any pest problems.

Stephen L. Tvedten
2530 Hayes Street
Marne, Michigan 49435
1-616-677-1261
"An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come." --Victor Hugo