Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ectoparasites - Bed Bugs

The Bed bug is making a come back! Bed bugs and their close relatives (the true bugs) are universal pests of humans and domestic animals, as well as bats, birds and various other mammals. The sole food of the bed bug is the blood of warm-blooded animals. Common names used for the bed bug include mahogany flat, chinch and red coat.
An adult bed bug is about is about 1/5-inch in length and 1/8 inch wide. It's reddish brown to mahogany in color and the body is greatly flattened and oval in shape. After feeding, the bug's body enlarges considerably, becoming longer and much less flattened. Bed bugs have piercing-sucking mouth parts that enable them to pierce the skin and suck blood from their hosts.
Humans are the preferred host for the common bed bug, but it will feed readily on other animals such as poultry, mice, rates, canaries, dogs and cats when necessary. Normally the bug feeds at night but they will feed during daylight hours in places such as theaters, offices, and rest rooms that are not ordinarily used at night. There is no evidence that bed bugs can transmit diseases.
Bed bugs generally hide in cracks and crevices during normal daylight hours. The enter such areas easily because of their extremely flattened bodies. Typical hiding places are in the folds and tufts of mattresses, coils of springs, cracks and hollow posts of bedsteads, and upholstery of chairs of sofas. However, they are not restricted to these places. In heavy infestations, bed bugs are frequently found in places such as behind loose wallpaper, behind pictures on the wall, under door and window casings, behinds baseboards, and even in light fixtures or medicine cabinets.
Bed bugs give off a distinct odor from their thorax and a pest control operator becomes experienced in identifying this smell. Bed bug treatments should only be handled by a pest control company that is experienced and has the correct tools. Bed bug elimination is routinely expensive because of the hours and treatment required. An average treatment time for a single bedroom is 4 to 6 hours.

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