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What Are Bed Bugs

by Richard Lindner

Adult bed bugs are brown to reddish-brown, oval-shaped, flattened, and about 3/16 to 1/5 inch long. Their flat shape enables them to readily hide in cracks and crevices. The body becomes more elongate, swollen, and dark red after a blood meal. Bed bugs have a beak-like piercing-sucking mouth part system. The adults have small, stubby, nonfunctional wing pads. Newly hatched nymphs are nearly colorless, becoming brownish as they mature. Nymphs have the general appearance of adults. Eggs are white and about 1/32 inch long.

Bed bugs superficially resemble a number of closely related insects (family Cimicidae), such as bat bugs (Cimex adjunctus), chimney swift bugs (Cimexopsis spp.), and swallow bugs (Oeciacus spp.). A microscope is needed to examine the insect for distinguishing characteristics, which often requires the skills of an entomologist.

Where are bed bugs found?

Bedbugs are very flat, which allows them to hide in tiny crevices. A crack wide enough to fit the edge of a credit card can harbor bedbugs [even in the ceiling]. In the daytime, they tend to stay out of the light, preferring to remain hidden in such places as mattress seams, mattress interiors, bed frames, nearby furniture, carpeting, baseboards, inner walls, tiny wood holes, or bedroom clutter. Bedbugs can settle in the open weave of linen; this will often appear as a gray spindle a centimeter long and a thread wide, with a dark speck in the middle.

Can bed bugs harm humans?

Bedbugs have no wings and cannot fly. They are light to dark brown and up to 1/3 inch. They look a little like small ticks but have only six legs (ticks have eight). Bedbugs bite mainly at night. They feed on animal blood and the common bedbug prefers humans, but will also feed on dogs and cats and other warm-blooded animals. Some people do not notice the bites, but other people become allergic and the bites can be itchy and cause much misery and lost sleep. Bites can become infected, but bedbugs are not thought to carry disease.

How do I know if my home is infested with bed bugs?

A bed bug infestation can be recognized by bloodstains from crushed bugs or by rusty (sometimes dark) spots of excrement on sheets and mattresses, bedclothes, and walls. Fecal spots, eggshells, and shed skins may be found in the vicinity of their hiding places. An offensive, sweet, musty odor from their scent glands may be detected when bed bug infestations are severe.

How are bed bugs eradicated in the home?

While professional pest control companies are usually very efficient in eliminating bed bugs, they are very expensive and in most cases have to come to your home more than once. A cheaper yet still effective method of treating and eliminating these pests can usually be found in consumer bed bug sprays or home treatments. Using a bed bug spray and following the steps below will typically be just as effective as a professional but much more cost effective.

Bed bugs infested bedding materials and cloths will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Take them to a laundry mat if you donít want to bedbugs in your washer and dryer. But never use insecticides on materials that would come in contact with your body. Also, if you have pets, be sure to understand the possible affects chemicals may have on them.

A thorough vacuuming effectively removes both bed bugs and their eggs from mattresses, walls, and carpeting. Special attention should be given to creases and crevices. Be sure to get rid of the vacuum bag/contents in a sealed garbage bag. A professional hot water carpet extraction is also recommended if possible.

For more helpful information on Bed Bugs visit Getting rid of bedbugs.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com





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