BedBug

Bedbugs (or bed bugs) are small nocturnal insects of the family Cimicidae that live by hematophagy, feeding on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts. Bedbugs are very flat, allowing them to hide in tiny crevices. A crack wide enough to fit the edge of a credit card can harbor bedbugs. In the daytime, they tend to stay out of the light, hidden in such places as mattress seams, mattress interiors, bed frames, nearby furniture, carpeting, baseboards, or bedroom clutter.

 

Physical characteristics

Adult bedbugs are reddish brown, flattened, oval, and wingless, with microscopic hairs that give them a banded appearance. A common misconception is that they are not visible to the naked eye, but adults grow to 4 to 5 mm (one-eighth to three-sixteenths of an inch) in length and do not move quickly enough to escape the notice of an attentive observer.

 

Feeding habits

Bedbugs are generally active only at night, with a peak attack period about an hour before dawn, though given the opportunity, they may attempt to feed at other times of day. Attracted by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide, the bug pierces the skin of its host with two hollow tubes. With one tube it injects its saliva, which contains anticoagulants and anesthetics, while with the other it withdraws the blood of its host. After feeding for about five minutes, the bug returns to its hiding place. The bites cannot usually be felt until some minutes or hours later, as a dermatological reaction to the injected agents. Although bedbugs can live for up to 18 months without feeding, they typically seek blood every five to ten days.

 

Selection of professionals

Due to their absence from North America for several decades, not all exterminators in that region are familiar with extermination techniques for bedbugs. In the past, fumigation with Cyanogas was used for bedbug control. This was very effective, but also very dangerous. This method is no longer used. Fumigation - that is the use of poison gases - is costly, and though this has been tried as a method of control in isolated cases, it is transient. New infestation can be imported shortly after a fumigation has taken place. Fumigation does work, but it may not be practical, and may not be permitted in most jurisdictions. Care must thus be taken when selecting an exterminator, in order to select a professional that knows how to conduct proper bedbug removal.