Bed bugs occupy a special place among insects. Bed bugs are the most numerous and include dozens of families. They can be carnivorous or herbivorous, highly beneficial or very harmful to humans, plants and animals. Despite their differences, they share many characteristics, such as appearance, coloration, behavior and the characteristic smell of most bed bugs.
Features of the structure of a bedbug
Next, let’s answer these questions: bed bugs are insects or not, what order do bed bugs belong to, do they jump or crawl, do bed bugs have wings?
The semi-rigid-winged bed bugs got their name for the special structure of their front wings. They are heterogeneous, most of them covered with hard chitin, and the apical part is softer, with clearly defined veins. The hind wings are transparent. There are short-winged and long-winged individuals, and one species may include both. Find out more here here
Do bed bugs fly or not? In some bed bugs, wing length varies depending on the sex. Long-winged individuals can fly, while short-winged ones are incapable of doing so. The order also includes representatives who have completely lost their wings. The most striking representatives of this category are bed bugs, which are absolutely not adapted to flight.
How do bed bugs move? The external appearance is complemented by three pairs of legs, the length of which depends on the species. Many herbivores have strong, well-developed limbs that allow them to move quickly.
Bed bugs have short, weak legs, move slowly, and cannot travel long distances. Most bed bugs have long antennae and a stabbing-sucking mouthpiece.
The size of bed bugs varies depending on the species. The smallest have a body length of no more than 1 mm, while the largest can reach 10 cm. The body is flattened, rounded or slightly angular; the wings are folded on the back and are almost invisible. Bacilliform or globular forms are rare.
Coloration can be dark or bright, patron coloration is almost uncommon. Predatory bugs are brightest colored, their wings may have a brilliant metallic green, deep red, orange, or bluish hue, and mottled forms are also found. Bed bugs are colored in deep, dark brownish-brown tones.
Are bed bugs afraid of the cold? Bed bugs, like all arthropods, are afraid of cold and overheating. Therefore, at temperatures below +12˚C it becomes more difficult for them to survive: they begin to have problems communicating with their congeners, migrating, and reproducing. Usually, females stop laying eggs, larvae do not move to new stages of maturation – the growth of the colony slows down. Therefore, if you want to get rid of them, it is enough to use the “cooling beds” method, when you take the litter out for one day to a cold temperature.
What do bed bugs smell like?
The conspicuous coloration is combined with the characteristic smell of the secretion secreted by the bed bugs’ thoracic glands, which are located behind the first pair of legs. Entomologists believe that the fragrant secret serves not only to scare away predators, but also to attract the opposite sex by acting as pheromones. The smell of bed bugs is very unpleasant for humans and animals, and cymic acid is responsible for its intensity. Thoracic glands that secrete secret are well developed in parasitic bed bugs. Many predatory species, as well as water bugs, are devoid of odorous glands. Bed bug smell
Feeding and reproduction
Semi-strawflies are ubiquitous and their colonies are very extensive. However, bed bugs cannot boast of excessive fecundity.
Females lay a couple of dozen to 200 oval, cylindrical or conical eggs. Each egg has a lid at the end, from which a larva emerges at a certain stage of development.
Most bed bugs lay their eggs in secluded places, but there are some species that incubate their young on their own. Larval development occurs in 5 stages, with growth time to an adult insect ranging from a couple of weeks to 2 years. Larvae are very similar to adult bed bugs, distinguished by nuances in coloring, smaller size, shorter antennae, absence of spines and other characteristic features.
Most bed bugs are herbivorous, but predators as well as individuals with a mixed type of feeding occur. A large proportion of the semi-rodent bugs are pests and cause great harm to agricultural crops.
Depending on their families, bugs affect cereals (both spring and winter crops), crucifers (cabbage, lettuce, rape, and mustard), and fruit trees.
Adult insects and larvae suck sap from leaves, after which they turn white, curl and fall off, and the plant may die or stop bearing fruit. Predatory bugs specialize in killing insects.
Most families live in the wild, but some members prefer human dwellings. There they prey on flies, gnats and other insects. A separate place is occupied by bed bugs, which feed on the blood of humans and small animals (pika mice, bats, birds). Several species of this family live exclusively in human dwellings, while others can be found in birds’ nests, cavities and other shelters.
They live a nocturnal lifestyle, attacking mainly in the dark. Adult bugs bite almost painlessly, injecting anesthetics, but bites of small bugs are much more unpleasant. Bites leave distinctive red dots on the skin, either in clusters or in chains. Bed bug bites cause intense itching, pain, local swelling, and allergic reactions are possible.
Home remedies for bed bugs
Bed bugs (bed bugs or bed bugs) in your apartment are quite common. Do not think that the reason is uncleanliness or low standard of living.
They do not care about your income, and they reproduce perfectly well in “troubled” houses and in apartments with a renovation. Small pests can get into the house with the furniture, carpets, clothes, to move from the neighbors or you can bring them from a trip.
There is a huge arsenal of remedies for bed bugs at home, you only need to choose the most appropriate option.
How do I get rid of bed bugs in my apartment?
Do not think that the process of getting rid of bed bugs in the apartment is so simple. It is worth understanding that if you disinfect incorrectly, the parasites can easily adapt to the substance used and continue to live next to a person.
In addition, there is no single, one hundred percent effective means, able to once and for all get rid of your unpleasant neighbors.
So what to do, you ask? Begin the fight, keeping in mind that the success of the event will depend on how large the colony of insects, what means you plan to use and how thoroughly the treatment will be carried out. More about bed bugs in apartment
So, the actions should take place according to the following scheme:
- You must decide whether you will conduct the disinfection yourself or ask for help from professionals.
- Choose the method and means: folk or special chemical ones.
- Ensure maximum safety and use gloves, goggles, mask, and respirator.
- Keep your apartment free of people and pets.
- Strictly follow the instructions for use of the chosen remedy.
- Treat all places where bed bugs can live very carefully.
Particular attention must be paid to:
- furniture (upholstery folds and frame);
- Crevices under baseboards;
- Mattresses and bed frames;
- The backs of furniture.
Bed bugs are not the only insects that can cause people a lot of trouble. On our website you will find a series of useful materials about such household pests as fleas, cockroaches and ants.
Now let’s look in detail at the folk and special industrial remedies that can be used to control bed bugs at home.
In general, all crayons (insecticidal crayons) from bed bugs are divided into two types:
Wax crayons. They consist of paraffin, wax and other additives.
Chalk crayons. They are based on chalk or gypsum. A pyrethroid pesticide is usually used as the active ingredient. Since bed bugs move in short runs and quickly enough, crossing the line drawn by the poisonous chalk, it not only poisons itself, but also brings the substance into the population.
Its action is aimed at blocking the vital processes occurring in the body of the insect: blood supply, digestion, etc. In order for the drug to destroy them, contact of the insect with the drug itself is necessary.
- low cost;
- it is possible to treat hard-to-reach places and vertical surfaces;
- the period of action of the applied preparation is about 7-10 days.
- Limited scope of action – usually bed bugs “settle” in furniture upholstery, under wallpaper, baseboards, etc.
- The chalk is not capable of penetrating that deeply.
- There is no immediate effect.
- Bed bugs adapt to the active ingredient.
Sprays and aerosols
Aerosols and sprays are the most popular among buyers. There is nothing surprising, because this is the most convenient form among ready-made preparations and it is very effective. It is worth noting right away that there is some difference between sprays and aerosols.
The spray is a liquid concentrate, which must be diluted with water before use, poured into a spray gun and only then applied. Most often this form of poison is used by professional exterminators, because their use requires good protective equipment.
Aerosol is an already diluted concentrate poured into a special cylinder and ready to use. It is less harmful to humans because it has a lower concentration of the active ingredient. How is the result achieved when using sprays and aerosols? Chemicals enter the body of insects in two ways: Through the chitinous cover and soft tissues. Through the stomach. The most damage occurs when the substance is sprayed directly on the pests and within 3 hours of spraying.
So, among the advantages of these insecticides are:
- ease of use;
- low cost;
- moderate safety for people and pets.
From the start, it is worth saying that using liquid chemicals is the most effective way to get rid of bed bugs once and for all. These are the solutions that professionals use in their activities.
Liquid preparations are divided into two groups:
- Emulsion concentrates.
- Suspensions with microcapsules.
The first form is concentrated and is diluted with water. The second group has in its composition microcapsules with the active substance, the concentration of which in many cases makes this remedy more effective. They are also diluted with water and treated the infected premises. Before using this type of medication, make sure that a certificate is available, clarify the level of danger to humans, and read the instructions carefully.
Bed bug powders are the earliest insecticides to hit the market. But they are still popular. Why they remain effective is because bed bugs are blood-sucking parasites, which means you can only get rid of them with contact poisons. Once a bed bug has fallen into the powder, the action begins and the poisoning action is transferred to other pests because bed bugs live in clusters.
The main advantages of powders against bed bugs:
- Availability. They can be found at any hardware store and are inexpensive.
- Two uses. You can use both powder and prepare a solution.
- Prolonged effect. The poison retains its properties for a long time and one treatment is usually enough to destroy the entire population.
- Medium level of effectiveness. In order for the poison to work, it must get on the insect’s legs.
- Not very convenient to use. The powder must remain in the room for a number of days, which is not always convenient for people and dangerous for animals.
- Protection is needed. If the powder is inhaled, poisoning can occur.
Do not forget that there are a huge number of folk methods of getting rid of bed bugs in the apartment.Here are just a few of them:
- boiling water;
- minus temperatures;
- vinegar; transformer oil;
- tinctures of various herbs, such as wormwood;
- vacuum cleaner;
- hot steam.
Let’s break down some of them.
A powerful vacuum cleaner is a mechanical method of pest control. This way you can destroy the found nest or significantly reduce the population. The use of agents with a strong odor (Artemisia, vinegar, tansy) – is more likely to deter insects for a while, rather than destroy them. Spread sprigs of herbs around your sleeping area and take more effective measures in the morning.
High and low temperatures. Yes, despite their good adaptability bed bugs have their weak side. But…they don’t survive only in 40 degree heat and minus twenty Celsius. Let’s say you can take your mattress linens and couch out into a 20 degree frost and pour steep boiling water on the nest. But there is no 100% guarantee that all individuals in an apartment are dead.
Where do bed bugs come from in the apartment?
Bed bugs are small parasites that are very common in houses and apartments. It does not matter whether the house is new or old, with or without renovation. Often these insects appear at neat and tidy people, which is very puzzling for the latter. In fact, they are completely indifferent to all these factors. Their main reason for their appearance is access to a new source of food, a person. Also sometimes get into the apartment accidentally – they are brought in on things, clothing, animal hair.
It should be noted that it is impossible to unambiguously determine exactly how the parasites entered the dwelling. It may depend on the location of the apartment itself in the house, the presence or absence of them in the neighbors. And given the fact that the premises are usually connected by a single ventilation duct – the insects could be at the other end of the house.
Why do bed bugs breed in an apartment? Bed bugs are usually transferred between apartments through cracks in the floor or walls, along ventilation or cable ducts, or along the outside wall of a building. This is most common in older, dilapidated buildings, but it can also not be excluded in newer buildings. It is also worth bearing in mind that these parasites can live without food for several weeks, and therefore during this period they may quietly be in search of a new victim. Click here
WARNING The parasites move from apartment to apartment one by one, and they are not so difficult to notice if there is little furniture and regular cleaning.
In addition, these insects have a low speed of movement, and therefore they will not simply “go to visit” every night.
What breeds bed bugs and how to deal with them? If the house is in the private sector or rural areas, bed bugs can be transferred from small animals – rabbits, goats. They are excellent vectors and insects are easily transmitted by them. Often you can bring bed bugs into the apartment on your own, but you are completely unaware of this. For example, they can be brought in the luggage from foreign trips to tropical countries – Egypt, Indonesia, Thailand, or simply from a business trip to another city. Especially if you had to live in a hotel infested with bed bugs. Thus, they can hide in suitcases or bags, and then come out of hiding after your return.
IMPORTANT: You do not need to bring a large family from your trip. Bed bugs spread very quickly. One female bedbug will be enough to actively lay eggs. As a result, the colony will soon contain tens of bugs.
Can bed bugs be brought home on clothing? Yes, they can, and from public places such as movie theaters, cafes, and recreational facilities. They cannot bite through fabric, but they can easily hide in folds. Therefore, there is a possibility that after being in an infested apartment, you can bring some insects home. Another source of entry into the apartment is with items purchased on the second-hand market, “off hand”.
Domestic bed bugs
Can bed bugs be brought home on clothing? Yes, they can, and from public places such as movie theaters, cafes, and recreational facilities. They cannot bite through fabric, but they can easily hide in folds. Therefore, there is a possibility that after being in an infested apartment, you can bring some insects home. Another source of entry into the apartment is with items purchased on the second-hand market, “off hand”. Sometimes it can be very profitable to buy a good thing (for example, a sofa or a TV) for a reasonable price.
However, there is no guarantee that they have not been in an infested room. That said, the likelihood of parasites being in new items that have been stored in warehouses is quite low – there are usually no power sources in such places. Bed bugs can often be found in appliances, where they hide during the day. Thus, there have been cases where insects have been found in laptops, tablets, microwaves, tape recorders, and televisions. The most attractive are the appliances with wooden housings.
When controlling bed bugs, it is important to take action to eradicate them along with their neighbors. In this regard, they are similar to cockroaches – when you start treating with chemicals or using repellent, the pests will begin to migrate en masse from the danger zone, repopulating untreated neighboring apartments. It is important to understand how dangerous they are and what problems they can cause from their bites, especially in children.
Bed bugs can appear in any dwelling, regardless of its renovation and the wealth of its occupants. What causes bed bugs in an apartment? Their main purpose is to find new food, and to do this, they move through ventilation shafts, electrical conduits, crawl into the smallest cracks. In addition, “guests” can often be brought with them from a vacation, picked up in a public place or purchased together with a second-hand object. In many cases, bed bugs spread to neighboring apartments during disinfestation.
Previously, it was thought that these insects attack only dysfunctional apartments with unsanitary conditions. But this is not true. These nosy bugs can sneak into absolutely any house. Bed bugs and house bugs are most commonly found in apartments. These insects feed on blood, the mouth apparatus of these individuals is stabbing-sucking. They pierce human skin with their small proboscis, suck blood and simultaneously inject their saliva into the damaged area, which causes intolerable itching in the puncture area. These harmful bugs choose the owners of thin and delicate skin, such as women and children, as their victims.
Bed bug bites have their own characteristics and are easily distinguished from mosquito bites.
On a child’s skin, both injuries may appear as reddish swollen spots, but there are some differences:
- The marks usually appear in the morning, since these bugs lead a nocturnal lifestyle and become active between 1 and 3 a.m.;
- long paths of bites. The parasite chooses a spot on the skin where blood vessels are particularly close and makes several punctures, usually in a single line, to saturate;
- bed bug skin lesions can be seen under a child’s nightgown or pajamas, while mosquitoes leave bites only on exposed areas of the body.
A bedbug bite looks like this: a red swelling with a bloody crust in the middle.
Examination of the bedding can also show signs of bloodsuckers in the home. These insects do not secrete a substance that causes blood to clot, so the sheets and pillow will be stained with blood stains. It is easy enough to find bed bugs: Just turn on the light in the nursery at 4 a.m., and you will immediately see the bugs, which will hastily start hiding from your eyes.
Bed bugs are synanthropic insects. They are parasitic on humans and cannot exist outside of human habitation. Epochs, human living conditions, house exteriors and interiors, utilities change, and only the presence of bed bugs remains unchanged. The instinct of self-preservation leads them to humans, and this is the most accurate compass in the world! A bedbug knows that a human being is always warm and nourished next to him. And it’s not so important, what is the source of warmth in a house: a fire in a cave or central heating radiators in a luxurious house. Where a man is comfortable, a bedbug will be comfortable. Everything else is insignificant and has no effect on the magnetic attraction of the parasites to their victims.
What do house bugs look like?
The size of a bedbug can vary from 3 to 7 millimeters. It is easily recognized by its highly flattened, segmented, oval-shaped body. The small head is equipped with everything necessary to find the source of food and timely satiate the body – eyes, antennae whiskers and a massive mouthpiece with a pronounced sharp proboscis, with which the bedbug pierces human skin like a needle. As it becomes satiated, the body segments fill with blood, stretching and rounding out. A fully satisfied bedbug that has fallen off its victim has difficulty distinguishing any parts of its torso – it looks more like a round bead than an insect.
Where do bed bugs live in the apartment and how do you find them?
Bed bugs settle in secluded, dark and hard-to-reach places near the bed where a person sleeps. The source of food must be in the immediate vicinity of the nest. Therefore, bed bugs and their eggs can be found behind the baseboard of the wall where the bed is, under the bed itself, under the bedside rug, in the depths of the bed or sofa and even on bedside tables. The bed bug cares about its comfort and is not willing to make a long trek every night just to have dinner. However, if the victim disappears from his usual place and moves his bed to another room, the bedbug will also not be lazy to move with his entire family and settle in a new residence. The bug will travel long distances in search of food, following the scent of blood, which it can smell, even if there are no open wounds or scratches on the skin.
Typical places where bed bugs live:
- Elements of upholstered furniture;
- Baseboards near beds;
- Behind furniture pushed up against walls;
- Behind carpets hanging on walls;
- Behind pictures, posters;
- Behind folds of curtains;
- Behind the sockets;
- In the seams of mattresses.
In densely populated apartments, bed bugs multiply rapidly and soon they become as crowded as humans, and therefore you can see them even in unusual places during the daytime! This fact indicates that the number of animals has reached the acceptable limit even for bed bugs – they simply do not fit into their nests, and unoccupied sheltered places for comfortable accommodation are all over! This is a dangerous situation, which indicates a highly neglected sanitary condition of the apartment, threatening the health of the people living there!
How long do bed bugs live and what do they fear?
The average life expectancy of a bedbug is approximately 12 months. Although this figure is very relative. Any change in the temperature of a room will affect its lifespan. An increase in temperature speeds up the development and thus shortens the life cycle. Decreasing the temperature, on the contrary, slows down the maturation and development of the new generation, increasing the total lifespan.
We should not forget that under unfavorable living conditions the bedbug hibernates and may stay in anabiosis for quite a long time. The bug does not die, but all its vital processes are so slowed down that any activity is out of the question. This ability to go into lethargic sleep has helped bugs to survive many natural disasters on the planet, unlike humans. When whole civilizations perished, the bedbug preserved its life until better times, and revived to active life and reproduction at the first opportunity. Read more here
A bedbug can stay in anabiosis for a year. If its hibernation is caused by a severe drop in temperature, its lethargic sleep may last indefinitely until it gets warmer. The bed bug tolerates low temperatures ranging from minus 5 to minus 10.
The bug turns into an ice cube, but it is this state that keeps it alive. As the temperature rises, the viable parasite thaws and pounces on food with redoubled appetite. Temperatures below minus 22 degrees or above plus 40 degrees can kill it.
In addition to extremely low and extremely high temperatures, bed bugs are afraid of harsh and strong smells. Smells won’t physically kill a bedbug, but they will scare them away and cause them to migrate. Such smells include table vinegar, acetone, strong-scented perfume, ammonia, denatured alcohol, kerosene, turpentine.
Smells of certain plants can also repel bed bugs for a while. The most effective are wormwood and tansy.
However, to fight a large population of bed bugs, it is better to use professional insecticides and appropriate equipment.
What are the dangers of bed bugs?
An allergic reaction of the body to bedbug bites is the most harmless consequence of contact with parasites. Everything can be much more serious and sad under certain circumstances. Much depends on both the health of the person and his immune system, as well as the degree of infestation of the bedbug with various viruses. You can read more about it here
It has been scientifically proven that the bed bug is a carrier of viral diseases such as tuberculosis, typhoid, anthrax, and hepatitis. These viruses enter the insect’s body through the blood of a sick person on whom it is parasitized.
The bedbug feeds on blood, so there is a chance of contracting any of the diseases that are transmitted through blood. Although some virologists do not see a direct threat of infection through the bite of an infected bedbug, this possibility should not be dismissed outright. Not only are bed bug bites dangerous for humans, but even their excrement, which retains the hepatitis B virus for an extended period of time, is dangerous. Feces can be in a person’s bed, because the insect defecates in the same place where it eats, without bothering to create a special latrine. A sleeping person can inhale small particles of excrement involuntarily or accidentally put them in his mouth. Once in the person’s body, the virus will begin to develop, carrying disease and destruction.
What do bed bug bites look like?
Not all bed bugs bite their victims in the same way. A track of several consecutive punctures is considered a classic variation. That is, the bedbug is not satisfied with blood sucked from a single wound, and therefore makes several of them in one meal. However, this academic version of bites does not always occur. Bed bugs, like any living creature on the planet including humans, have their own distinctive traits, taste preferences and eating habits. Therefore, more often than not, a bed bug bite is not much different from the bite of any other blood-sucking insect. Inflamed swelling is pink or red in color with a pronounced skin puncture point inside. This is what a bite from any blood-sucking insect looks like, including a bedbug. Find out more here here
How to get rid of bed bugs at home?
Let’s consider what means are possible to defeat bed bugs.
Bed bug sprays
A spray is one of the means for exterminating bed bugs. You can buy ready-made sprays in cans at hardware stores, but they are usually ineffective and have a small volume.
Remember that you need several liters of working solution to treat the apartment, which is sprayed on all major surfaces where the insects can be or move.
Crayons against bed bugs
Chalk is a universal means of combating many crawling insects and bed bugs including. There are four components in the crayon – two of them are neutral – chalk and gypsum. The other two are the insecticides deltamethrin and zeta-cypermethrin. Getting into the body of the insect toxic substances block the nervous system, resulting in paralysis and imminent death. Like any insect repellent chalk has its pros and cons. The advantages are ease of use at home, affordable cost and relative safety for humans – when using this insecticide there is no need to leave the house and ventilate it for several hours. The obvious disadvantages include strictly local action. Therefore, you need to know the nesting places of bed bugs in order to outline them in a shallow way. You can also outline the approaches to the bed like a protective circle from the nighttime evil spirits, but bed bugs can nest in the depths of the bed itself. Also, this treatment won’t make the bed bugs disappear instantly. It takes a long time until the entire population crawls through the chalk lines and infects its relatives, bringing particles of chalk to the nest on their paws. The chalk also has no effect on bedbug eggs. You have to wait for the birth of a new generation in the hope that they will also crawl exactly where you have painted your apartment. Meanwhile, bed bugs feed on blood every night and it is not worth stretching out the process of exterminating them for a few weeks if you have more effective means with instant results. Preparing for a bed bug heat treatment
Smoke bombs against bed bugs
A smoke bomb is one of the most effective home remedies for fighting bed bugs. Great results without any effort on your part! No need to look for bed bugs’ nests, no need to mix, spray or paint anything. All you have to do is set a tinder on a metal tray so you don’t ruin the floor and light it on fire. And then the smoke will do everything for you – it will find the nests of bed bugs and destroy them. The main thing is to choose the right tinder – not all of them are suitable for disinfecting bed bugs. Hexachloran-based pesticides are very toxic and are prohibited for use in residential areas. Peritroide-based checkers, which are modern, highly effective insecticides, are suitable for exterminating bed bugs. The disadvantage of this method is that the smoke will spread throughout the apartment and soak the upholstery of upholstered furniture. So it is better to contact professionals.
But all these methods can only repel bed bugs for a short time, and then the bugs will return to their previous places!
For a serious fight against a large population of bed bugs, you will help special services that use professional insecticides and appropriate equipment.
Bed Bug Extermination
Professional extermination is the fastest, most effective, and most importantly guaranteed way to get rid of bed bugs. For insect extermination specialists, this process is a daily job. Experience, skills, specific knowledge about the habits of insects allow you to find and destroy them without unnecessary delay. Specialist does not need to prepare for disinfestation – he is always ready! The latest technology, new, fresh and reliable insecticides are always at his fingertips. And finally, professionals always give a guarantee for their work for at least a year and work on the object until the complete elimination of insects.