Keep the Bed Bugs from Biting
Bed bugs are frequently found in locations such as hostels, motels and boarding houses or other locations where itinerant travelers may stay overnight. Buildings which are used to store used furniture and/or clothing may also provide a hospitable environment for bed bugs. Typically, bed bugs are transported with luggage, clothing and other items but very rarely on the actual person.
Bed bugs hatch from eggs. From the egg, the bed bug will pass through five nymphal stages before it reaches adulthood. Each nymphal stage must attain at least one blood meal before it can moult to the next stage. The entire development process lasts between six and eight weeks. Adults as well as nymphs leave the area where they harbor to feed approximately every two to three days. Typically, they will feed for three to five minutes during the night as well as the early morning hours before they return to their harborage area. In most cases, the harborage area is located quite close to their feeding area. Surprisingly, bed bugs can live for quite some time without a blood meal, so even if an area has been vacant for awhile this does not indicate the bugs would have died off from lack of nourishment. Adult bed bugs can live an average of six to twelve months.
Species in Australia
There are two main species that are known to bite humans, the Cimex lectularius and the Cimex hemipterus. The Cimex lectularius has been long known to exist in Australia; however, the latter species, which is a tropical bed bug, has only been recently identified in Australia.
Health Hazards for Humans
Bed bugs will bite during the night. In the morning upon waking you may notice small dots of blood on your bed linens. There may also be a sickly sweet odor to the blood in addition to dried blood deposits around the cracks in the bed, mattress, bedside furniture and flooring. In some cases, individuals who have been bitten by bed bugs will have an adverse skin reaction. This is because the bed bug injects an anti-coagulant chemical into the bloodstream of the host which will prevent their blood from clotting. It is the injection of this chemical which will allow the bug to suck the blood from its host until it is completely engorged. The anti-coagulant around the bite area can become irritated, particularly in persons with sensitive skin. This area may itch uncontrollably. Scratching can result in further infection of the bite area; however. Medication can be provided by a physician to assist in healing the area.
To ensure a safe and effective control of a bed bug infestation a professional pest controller should be hired. A thorough inspection of the infested area will be conducted before any treatment procedures are applied. It is imperative when conducting a pest control inspection for any potential daytime bed bug harborage areas to be located. These areas can then be treated with an insecticide manufactured specifically to eradicate bed bugs. The most common harborage areas include the underside of the bed, bed frame, skirting boards, legs of the bed, floor boards, picture rails, picture frames, curtain fixtures, light switches, wardrobes, power points and bedside tables. Generally, the entire room will need to be treated in order to flush the bed bugs from their hiding places.
In most cases, do it yourself pest control measures will not be enough to kill a bed bug infestation. In fact, attempting to spray over the counter pest control products on bed linens and mattresses could pose a danger to the safety and health of occupants while failing to eradicate the infestation.
To prevent future infestations it is important to carry out high standards of hygiene and sanitation. Inspect the area on a regular basis to look for signs of bed bug infestation. When attention is provided to the facility on a regular basis, it is easier to prevent a severe bed bug infestation.