The incidence of Bed Bugs in Canada is increasing year-over-year to the point where ongoing inspection is a prudent practice by both businesses and home owners. Regular Proactive Bed Bug Management Inspections will help avoid the spread of an existing infestation and prompt early intervention so the issue can be addressed immediately.
Bed bugs are back! They are turning up in surprising places, such as 5 star hotels, college dorms, airports, hospitals, camps, daycares, schools and even in your home. Experts believe that international travel is a major culprit. People and goods are traveling in greater number then ever before.
WHAT DO BED BUGS LOOK LIKE?
Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed solely upon the blood of warm-blooded animals – humans being their preference. They are small (less than ¼ inch long), oval shaped bugs typically rusty red in colour. An adult bed bug is about the size of an apple seed. Bed bugs need blood to grow (molt) and can live as long as 12 months on one feeding.
BIOLOGY & LIFECYCLE
- Female bed bugs lay from 1 to 12 eggs per day.
- The eggs are coated with a sticky substance that can adhere to most surfaces.
- The eggs hatch in 6 to 10 days and nymphs can immediately begin to feed.
- Nymphs require a blood meal in order to molt. Bed bugs reach maturity after 5 molts.
- Bed bugs can live 12 to 18 months
- Three or more generations can occur each year.
BEHAVIOUR & HABIT
- Bed Bugs live in clusters – they aggregate.
- They prefer to live as close as possible to their host.
- They feed mostly at night when their host is asleep.
- Nymphs become engorged with blood within 3 minutes, adult bed bugs usually feed for 10 to 15 minutes.
- They hide during the day in dark, protected sites.
- They seem to prefer fabric, wood, and paper surfaces.
- They can move fairly quickly and can easily hide in cracks less than 1 mm.
- Initially they are found in the tufts, seams and fold of mattresses – later they travel to the box spring and headboards.
- In heavier infestations they hide in areas farther away from the bed – door frames, electrical boxes, floor cracks, fire alarms, baseboards, furniture, under the tack board for carpeting, picture frames, drapery pleats and loosened wall paper.
- The bite is painless.
- After using their sharp beak to pierce the skin of a host, they inject a salivary fluid containing an anticoagulant that helps them obtain blood. The salivary fluid typically causes the skin to become irritated and inflamed, although individuals can differ in their sensitivity.
- Bed bugs feed during a person’s most vulnerable time – sleep. Because we don’t “catch them in the act” the result of their bites may go unnoticed, or can be mistaken for the bites of other pests and/or sensitivity to other items.
- All people react differently to bed bug bites, so while some victims break out in rashes from the bites, other people may not display symptoms.
- Bed bugs have been discovered to harbour 28 different human pathogens, but fortunately, the transmission of these diseases to people has not been confirmed scientifically.
- Some individuals respond to bed bug infestations with anxiety, stress, and insomnia – others suffer tremendously when infestation are identified, completely uprooting their lives.
WHAT DO BITES LOOK LIKE?
- Symptoms vary from person to person
- It can take anywhere from 2 days to 4 weeks to display symptoms
- 60% of the population does not display symptoms after a bed bug bite
- The best way to determine if you have an infestation is to look for bed bugs where you sleep (or rest) and where you typically set down luggage (or bags).
- Your luggage and places where your luggage may be stored are also some of the first areas to look.
- In bedrooms, investigate around box springs, mattresses, bed frames, behind wall paper, clocks and pictures, cracks in wood floors, and under the edge of carpet, you may see bed bugs.
- Dark blood spots on sheets and bedding may indicate bed bug feeding.
- Cast skins will indicate molting stages.
IF YOU SUSPECT AND INFESTATION WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Contact a Professional to help you determine next steps.
IF YOU SUSPECT OR SEE A BED BUG WHAT SHOULDN’T YOU DO?
Don’t panic. Although bed bugs can be annoying, they can be treated safely and successfully if you adopt a well planned strategy.
Do not apply pesticides! Generally, landlords, owners and building managers cannot legally apply pesticides. They should, instead, hire a licensed Pest Control Service Provider to develop an integrated pest management plan.
Do not dispose of furniture that is infested. Placing infested furniture (particularly mattresses) into common areas or on the street may simply help spread bed bugs to the homes of other people. Infested furniture intended for disposal should be defaced to make it less attractive to other people.