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Bed Bugs – An Overview of the Bed Bug

HistoryBed Bug

Bed bugs were brought to North America early in the 18th century via sailing ships returning from Europe. We know this due to logs and diaries of sailors reporting they had been bitten by crawling insects while in their sleeping quarters. Bed bug infestations were abundant up until about the 1950's when DDT was introduced as a pesticide. For the next 40 years, bed bug infestations were relatively rare, and the pests all but disappeared.

By the 1990’s, bed bug infestations were making an alarming comeback. DDT was banned as a pesticide in the 1970’s over debate that it was harmful to humans. Replacement pesticides were subsequently used until the early 1990’s at which point the pest control industry took an even more environmental approach. This new approach involved less pesticide spraying and more baiting, which targets only the insects that feed on food residues. Since the bed bug feeds solely on the blood of other animals (mainly humans), they are completely unaffected by insect baiting systems. Bed bugs rapidly multiplied all over the world, transporting inside the suitcases and bags of unsuspecting travelers. This brings us to the present day, where bed bug activity is at an all time high in most urban cities.

Bed Bug Biology

  • Bed bugs feed on the blood of human beings.
  • There are 5 nymph stages in a bed bugs lifecycle.
  • A bed bug will shed its skin after each stage in the lifecycle.
  • A bed bug must partake in a blood meal to advance to
    the next nymph stage.
  • After the 5th feeding, a bed bug is considered a fully grown adult.
  • From egg to adult, it takes between 30 and 50 days, depending on conditions.
  • Bed bugs multiple rapidly and abundantly – females lay up to 5 eggs per day – making them one of the most stubborn pests to eradicate.
  • A fully grown female bed bug can produce up to 300–500 eggs in its lifetime.
  • Once the eggs are laid, it takes between 7–14 days for the eggs to hatch.


Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?

  • Bed frame and box spring.
  • Tufts, seams, and folds of mattresses.
  • Dresser drawers, wall units, end tables, closets.
  • Couches, tables, and chairs.
  • Cracks and crevices in hardwood flooring.
  • Under carpets, between walls, behind wallpaper, and under tack strips.
  • Baseboards, window and door frames, picture frames.
  • Electrical plug outlets and switches.
  • Amongst, lamps, telephones, electronics, televisions, computers, radios, and alarm clocks.
  • Amongst suitcases, luggage, backpacks, purses, footwear, clothing, and jackets.
  • Book bindings, magazines, CDs, and DVD's.


Common Bed Bug Misconceptions

Misconception 1
Bed bugs only live on bed frames, mattresses, bed sheets, and pillow cases.

Bed Bugs live on beds, and everywhere else in your home!

Misconception 2
Only the lower class of society has bed bugs.

Bed bugs don’t discriminate! They affect all classes of society, whether you are clean or dirty, and regardless of how much money you make.

Misconception 3
Bed bugs are so small that they are invisible to the human eye

Incorrect. Hatched babies are 1-2mm in size, and a fully grown adult bed bug can grow up to 3-5mm in size and are reddish brown in colour.

Misconception 4
You can eliminate your bed bug problem by throwing out your mattress.

Bed bugs infest all kinds of items, including dressers, sofas, electronics, and more!

Misconception 5
Bed bugs are not the problem because only my partner gets bitten.

Scientists believes that up to 70% of the population do not react to bed bug bites.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do bed bugs only come out at night?
A: No. Although a bed bug prefers hiding in dark places, they will feed during the day if conditions are favourable. Ex. Curtains closed, blinds down, lights out, no disruptions, desperately seeking food, etc.

Q: Do bed bug mattress covers work?
A: Mattress covers do not eliminate the problem, but do take away common hiding spots such as the seams. This makes a bed bug easier to spot. A mattress cover will also preserve the mattress by protecting it from feces and blood stains.

Q: Can I get rid of bed bugs myself?
A: Not likely. A trained pest control technician has expertise and experience that is essential for successful bed bug eradication. To properly treat the problem, there are multiple areas of the home that need to be prepared and treated, not just the bed. Moreover, over the counter pesticides are ineffective compared to professional grade treatments.

Q: Can bed bugs spread disease?
A: At this point, there is no scientific evidence that bed bugs can spread disease.

Q: Can I solve my problem by leaving the house for a month or two?
A: No. A bed bug can survive without food for up to a year! Therefore unfortunately, leaving the home for several months will not force the extinction of your bed bug problem.


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