We hope you enjoy Bug Off Pest Control Center’s latest post. This is the second part of a series of posts to follow up Dr. Ballard’s presentation at the NY Pest Expo 2010Advances In Bed Bug Control Protocols. Please feel free to leave your comments.

A Description

Adult bed bugs are about 1/8-inch long and reddish-brown with oval, flattened bodies.  Four-segmented antennae are attached to the head between the prominent compound eyes. The proboscis is located beneath the head and passes back between the front legs.

They feed solely on the blood of animals. They first got a taste for human blood when cave-dwelling humans lived beneath bug-infested bat roosts.  Bed bugs do not fly but can move swiftly over walls, floors and ceilings.  Females attach their eggs in secluded areas. The eggs are whitish and very hard to see with the naked eye.  Under ideal conditions, eggs hatch in about seven days.   Newly hatched nymphs shed their skin approximately five times before reaching maturity.  A blood meal is required between each successive molt.  Bed bugs complete development in about one month, producing three or four generations per year.  Bed bugs are very resilient and resourceful, they can survive for months without feeding and in the absence of humans, they will bite other warm-blooded animals, including pets.

Bed bugs are nocturnal. During the daytime, they hide in cracks close to where humans sleep. The prefer tiny crevices in mattresses, boxsprings, bedframes and headboards. In these hiding spots you will find fecal stains, eggs, molted skins, blood spots and in heavy infestations, a musty odor. As the population grows, they will spread to other cracks and crevices throughout the room, adjacent rooms and other apartments.

Bed bugs are attracted to humans by body heat and emissions of carbon dioxide.  As they bite, they inject an anesthetic which allows them to feed undetected. They typically require a 5- to 10-minute blood meal in order to completely engorge themselves.  The saliva that is injected in the puncture results in circular, red, itchy welts.  Although more than 25 infectious agents have been associated with  bed bugs, they are not considered vectors of disease since these pathogens are not transmitted.  Though not presently considered a public health threat, bed bugs take an emotional toll on many victims.  We cannot dismiss the stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, anger, frustration, nervousness, fatigue, humiliation, embarassment and depression suffered by many. In addition, excessive scratching of bites may cause infection.

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