Who Are You Sleeping With – The Bed Bug Problem

Bed bugs are one of the most common insects in the World. Until a few years ago they were rarely seen because of the widespread use of DDT during the 1940’s and 50’s to exterminate all sorts of pests. However it is only in the recent years that they have been categorized as major pests and we are faced with a problem. They are tiny, brown insects that have a preference for humans.

What makes them a pest is that they are very resilient. The bed bug’s nocturnal behaviour makes it hard for people to identify if they have one on their furniture. It is not confirmed if they are aware that their hosts are asleep when they feed. There are people who have no reaction to bites from these bed bugs but some experience an itchy, swelling bump on the skin where they have had their fill.
The real bed bug problem is infestation of them on a grand scale.

Bed bug infestation has been a problem documented as early as medieval times in Europe or during the time of Aristotle in Greece. They are scientifically known as “Cimex lectularius”, they are wingless with a brownish ultra thin body. This type is found in temperate climates.

A starving bed bug looks different compared to one that is well fed. Young nymphs resemble the adults but have a yellowish color after malting. They use their highly developed mouthparts to bite and suck blood from the skin of an unsuspecting person. An adult can absorb around seven times of its own body weight in blood. An hour before dawn is bed bugs peak attack and they immediately retreat to its hiding place after feasting and then lays eggs again.

The bed bug comeback is mainly attributed to people traveling from country to country, from place to place and staying in bed bugs infested hotels and motels.

Bed bugs can live more than a year without feeding. When a mosquito bites you you feel the sting when it sucks the blood. You know immediately when you have a mosquito bite. With bed bugs it is different the itch will only be felt an hour or more after the bite. They pierce an opening in the skin and inject anaesthetics and anticoagulant, to avoid blood clotting, before it will suck blood from your skin.

A bed bug rash will appear an hour after you were pierced, it starts with an itch, but the rash won’t be visible yet when you feel the itch. With some people, the rash appears only after some days or week from being bitten. This depends upon the body’s reaction to the chemicals being secreted by them.

When a bed bug rash becomes visible, it may just be a single, swollen bump. For people who move a lot in their sleep the rash may look like a few in-line bite marks as they are disturbed during feeding time but will often use the same blood vessel when they continue their feed. One feed can take up to 10 minutes. When you notice that the rash is multiplying it means that other bed bugs are biting you as well.

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Travis B Armatige

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