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BED BUGS

Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite…

Description, Behavior & Habitat:

Bed bugs belong to the family of Cimicidae.  The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, has increasingly become a growing concern worldwide, primarily in large cities. Toronto is no exception.  Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown in colour, with oval, flattened bodies, and look very similar to an apple or flax seed.  They look more like an apple seed when engorged, (had a blood feed).  Immature bed bugs (nymphs) look similar to the adults but are smaller and lighter in colour.  Bed bugs go through 5 stages before they reach adulthood.   They require a blood feed in order to (molt) develop from one stage to another.   They are between 1.5mm and 4.5mm in size depending on the stage.  Each bed bug will feed every 7-10 days; however, females may feed more often when laying eggs.  The lifespan of a bed bug is about 1 year, during which time, a female can lay about 500 eggs, an average of 5 a day.  Eggs are whitish in colour and are about the size of a speck of dust which makes them very difficult to see with the naked eye.   They are laid wherever a female may wander, either in a cluster or individually.  The average bed bug can mature in as little as a month, producing multiple generations per year. 

 

Bed bugs are one of the oldest insects known to humans.  They once lived in the caves of our prehistoric ancestors.  Since they feed exclusively on blood, they tend to nest in very close proximity to their hosts.  Bed bugs feed primarily at night, therefore, about 90% of a bed bug infestation is found in and around the bed and adjacent furniture.  They can also be found in couches and other sleeping areas.  Unlike other insects, bed bugs do not have “nests”, but can congregate in common places.  They hide in tiny cracks and crevices due to their small flattened bodies, which may make them difficult to spot when an infestation first begins.   One of the first indications are brownish-red to black fecal stains which may be found by the seams of mattresses, underneath box springs, and in holes and cracks of wooden bed frames.

Prevention and control:

There are a few precautions one can take to prevent having to deal with a bed bug nightmare.  The most important is to stay away from, what we call, ‘high risk’ activity.  This may include: bringing home furniture that others have discarded, borrowing books from the library, having family and friends sleep over often, and most commonly, traveling.  Some ‘high risk’ activity however, is sometimes unavoidable.   A health care worker or Social worker that is required to frequent many homes, as well as those that travel often for business and/or pleasure, must take extra precautions.

 

Travel Tips:

There are some general rules to abide by when travelling.  Most importantly, before travelling, read the reviews on the hotel you’ll be staying at.  You are particularly looking for comments past guests have posted relating to bed bugs.  You may find that the most prestigious hotels have had a bed bug encounter.  Don’t be alarmed!  The critical issue is how these situations were/are dealt with, as well as the precautions the hotel has established to prevent their spread.

When arriving at your destination…

Once you feel comfortable with your choice of hotel, it doesn’t hurt to do some checking yourself.  When arriving at your destination, leave your luggage by the door.  Pull the covers and sheets back by the head of the bed to check for bed bug stains.  Inspect the headboard, as well as the edges of the box spring.  You are looking for bed bug excrement (feces) that appears as black or reddish black dots clustered together by the seams of the mattress and/or box spring.  You can also look between the mattress and box spring for signs.  Keep in mind that when an infestation is new, you may not necessarily see an actual bed bug.  This is why it is important to look for this ‘primary’ sign, stains.  Suppose you do not find any evidence of bed bugs but are still feeling anxious; place your belongings (toiletry/cosmetic bags, laptops, suitcases etc.), in the bathtub overnight.  This will protect your things, as bed bugs cannot climb up a porcelain bathtub.  You can also hang items such as coats and backpacks in the closet.  If you discover anything suspicious, of course, report your findings to the hotel management immediately!

Better Safe than Sorry…

Whether or not you encountered Bedbugs in your travels it is best to do the following when getting home.  Leave some garbage/plastic bags by your front door or in your garage.  When arriving home, immediately separate and place all the clothing from your trip into the bags, and then directly into your washing machine.  Items that will ruin if washed should be kept in sealed bags and taken to be dry-cleaned.  Inspect and vacuum personal items that cannot be washed.  Shoes and backpacks should be kept in a sealed plastic bins by the entranceway.  Most importantly, suitcases should be vacuumed thoroughly and placed in large garbage bags for storage in your garage or on your balcony until your next trip.   NEVER BRING SUITCASES UP TO YOUR BEDROOM!

I think I have Bed Bugs, what do I do?

Most importantly, DON’T PANIC!!  People that panic tend to make decisions that could not only be costly, but could spread an infestation, making it more difficult to eradicate.  The following are key points to consider.

  1. Proper identification is crucial.  Is it a bed bug or a carpet beetle?  Email us a picture to info@deltapestcontrol.ca

  2. Our clients often tell us that their first inclination is to discard their mattress.  This will not solve the problem.  Encasing your mattress and box springs with bed bug-proof covers, along with a safe and responsible treatment strategy will prevent you from having to replace them. 

  3. Do not discard linens and sheets.  They can also be laundered and salvaged.

  4. Transporting infested items through your home is risky as it will only spread the problem. 

  5. DO NOT sleep on your couch or in other areas of the home.  Bed bugs will crawl longer distances in search of a meal.  They will eventually find you and spread throughout your home.

  6. DO NOT try any home remedies or spraying chemicals on your own.  You will only make matters worse.  Leave it to the professionals at DPC.

Call the professionals:

Eradicating bed bugs is a challenge, even for highly trained professionals in our industry.  A bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs in a very short time, and just one bed bug left behind could re infest a home in as little as a few weeks.  Our understanding of bed bug behaviour and habitat along with our client’s cooperation and assistance has been the basis of our high success rate in complete elimination. Don’t Delay, Call Delta Pest Control Today!! CLICK HERE

416-446-0278 or 905-737-1366