Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularis)
The Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularis) is a nocturnal parasite which feeds exclusively on mammalian blood, most commonly human.
The Key Facts About Bed Bugs
As with most insects, bed bugs are incredibly small, typically less than 5mm in length. They are similar in size and shape to an apple seed, and if one knows what to look for they are fairly easy to identify. Bed bugs are commonly either dark yellow or brown in colour, taking on a more reddish tinge when they have recently fed. These pest insects take their name from the fact that they prefer a warm habitat with an easily accessible food source- meaning they are commonly found in or around beds.
Bed bugs were almost completely eliminated from the UK in the early 1940s due to the widespread use of highly toxic chemicals such as DDT. Such pesticides are no longer considered safe, though, and hence are banned from being used. In addition, in the years since, knowledge and understanding of this pest issue diminished. People assumed that bed bugs were a thing of the past, and therefore made no effort to safeguard themselves against these troublesome pest insects.
However, in the last 10-15 years, the numbers have started to increase again and we are now observing a bed bug epidemic with reported infestations in large cities such as London, Glasgow and Edinburgh increasing exponentially. This is now a common trend worldwide with increased infestations even being encountered in rural settings.
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularis) are always associated with human habitation, hiding in furniture and structural cracks and crevices, emerging at night between 1-3am to feed. A bed bug will feed on human hosts by breaking the skin with its piercing mouthparts and taking a blood meal. The bed bug will feed for 5-10 minutes in up to 3 locations until completely engorged with blood before returning to its hiding place. During feeding, the bed bug will inject its saliva through a separate tube to the feeding tube. This saliva contains anticoagulant and anaesthetic properties as to help mask their presence.
Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularis): The Significance of Control
Thankfully, bed bugs rarely carry any diseases, and they cannot pass on any blood-borne infections like HIV from one person to another. The worst that they can do is cause a sore, itchy mark once they have bitten you, although some people may have a more significant reaction to such bites. Yet while bed bugs cannot cause any serious direct harm, an infestation can still have enormous consequences on people’s wellbeing. The distress that can be caused by a Bed Bug infestation can be extreme with people reluctant to sleep in their beds or homes and in some cases the infestation leads to associated physiological trauma.
There is evidence to suggest that bed bug activity may be partly responsible for the lowering of social standards in areas of infested housing, where some householders are tempted to move away from the area to avoid the trouble and the stigma of the problem.
Bed bug infestations are also potentially devastating to the business and reputation of many hotels, hostels, guest houses, bed and breakfasts and the hospitality industry in general. In this setting, the correct course of action and adequate staff training on bed bugs (Cimex lectularis) is essential to safeguard businesses. There have been many newspaper stories and legal cases in recent years to show the impact of bed bugs on the hospitality industry.
Fortunately, despite bed bugs being so small, there are a number of visible signs of an infestation. The clearest of these is the appearance of bite marks on your skin during the night since it is hard not to notice these. Bed bugs may also leave their droppings behind, which appear as tiny black marks. Finally, the bugs themselves may be found in joints and gaps of your bed or other furniture- shine a torch into these spaces, and you may be able to see them.
Call Pest Solutions to Get Rid of That Pest Today!
Pest Solutions have local Branches across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our professional local technicians are at hand to visit today. They are all highly experienced in dealing with bed bug infestations, and can therefore tackle even the most severe issues with ease. We understand just how distressing it can be to have to share your home with these unwelcome visitors, so our pest controllers always get to work as quickly as possible. By targeting every last bed bug within your home, we will make sure that the infestation doesn’t just reemerge after a couple of months.
If you are being plagued by a bed bug infestation, then don’t simply put up with the problem. Instead, call Pest Solutions today on 0800 027 2555 for a FREE survey, and let us help keep your property pest-free.