Riley Pest Management
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FLORIDA BED BUGS
A source for information on bed bugs

Bed Bug  Cimex lectularius

 

Appearance:
The adult bed bug is flat, oval-shaped and has no wings. It is reddish brown in color except after a blood meal when the body becomes swollen and dark red.

Size:
Approximately 1/4-inch long.

Behavior:
Female bed bugs deposit 3 to 8 eggs at a time, and one female can produce 200-500 eggs. The eggs are tiny and slightly curved. They are usually deposited in clusters and fastened to cracks and crevices or rough surfaces near adult harborages with a sticky cement-type substance.

The eggs hatch in 4-12 days. The newly hatched nymph is straw colored before feeding, and then turns red or purple in color after a blood meal. There are 5 nymphal stages for bed bugs to reach maturity, which usually take 35-48 days. Adult bed bugs can survive for 6-7 months without a blood meal and have been known to live in abandoned houses for 1 year.

Bed bugs feed mainly on the blood of humans, but also suck blood from other animals, such as rodents, rabbits, pets, and even birds and bats. Bed bugs usually feed at night when people are asleep. As they feed, they inject a salivary secretion into the wound that prevents coagulation. This fluid often causes the skin to itch and become swollen. Scratching can cause sores that may become infected.

Habitat:
Bed bugs shelter in a variety of dark locations, mostly close to where people sleep. During the day, bed bugs hide in cracks and outlets in the walls, behind baseboards, wallpaper and pictures, between bed joints and slats, around the tufts of mattresses and in bed linens. They have a sweetish, foul odor that is caused by an oily liquid they emit. Blood spotting on mattresses and nearby furnishings is often a tell tale sign of an infestation.

Bed bugs can be carried into homes by infested clothes, suitcases, second-hand beds, furniture, and bedding, or by people. Bed bugs are most frequently found in dwellings with a high rate of occupant turnover, such as hotels, motels, hostels, dormitories, shelters, apartment complexes, tenements, and prisons.

Health Concerns:
The bite of a bed bug is generally painless. The salivary fluid injected by bed bugs typically causes the skin to become irritated and inflamed, although some individuals can be more sensitive than others. A small, hard, swollen white welt may develop at the site of each bite. This is accompanied by severe itching that lasts for several hours but may last for days. Scratching may cause the welts to become infected. The amount of blood loss due to bed bug feeding typically does not adversely affect the host.

Rows of three or so welts on exposed skin are characteristic signs of bed bugs. Welts do not have a red spot in the center such as is characteristic of flea bites. Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease. However, some individuals respond to bed bug infestations with anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

Diet:

Feed on blood.

Reproduction:

Females can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live over 300 days.

Facts:

Bed bugs (often misspelled as bedbugs) are small, nocturnal, wingless insects that belong to the family of Cimicidae. They feed on human blood and other warm-blooded hosts. They are oval in shape and grow up to 4-5mm long when fully grown. Their skin color is rust brown to a deeper red brown. Bed bugs are also known as “mahogany flats”, “red coats” and “chinches.” The adult bed bug does not have any wings and has a flattened body.
Bed Bugs Petri Dish

Bed Bugs Petri Dish

Not only are they dorsoventrally flattened, but they are also thin which creates a great advantage for them. They can hide in unusual places such as behind baseboards, floor cracks, and under carpets or behind loose wallpaper, which makes them difficult to detect.

Not only are they undetectable, but bed bugs also tend to stay close together and have a distinctively sweet, yet unpleasant smell. Blood spotting on mattresses and nearby furnishings are also signs of a bed bug infestation.

Their bites can leave itchy, welts on the skin and can cause allergic reactions, such as severe itching.

Bed bugs have existed since the ancient times and are found in temperate climates throughout the world. There are different types of bed bugs, but the common bed bug with a scientific name of Cimex lectularius, is adaptable to human environments.

In tropical regions, including Florida, other visible kind of species called Cimex hemipterus, are also known to swarm among poultry and bats. Other places, such as West Africa and South America, are home to the Leptocimex boueti species that infests bats and humans. On the other hand, the species that are found among bats are called Cimex pilosellus and C. pipistrella, and are lurking all over in North America, primarily in poultry farms.

Since they can survive in birds’ nests, they can be seen in houses and buildings that have several bird nests, particularly on rooftops. They are also known to feed on bats or household pets, but their typical source of nutrition is human blood.

Bed bugs have a great worldwide distribution due to human travelers who transport luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture. Though they may reside in unusual places, they are also likely to be found in small cracks near a bed or in comforters and bed sheets.

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs:

It’s possible to pick up bed bugs almost any place – they’ve infested offices, stores, hotels, gyms and countless other places we never would have imagined just 10 years ago. They can hide in your luggage, personal belongings, or even on you, and hitchhike a ride back to your home, condo, townhouse or apartment. Once indoors, they can be extremely difficult to eradicate without the help of an experienced pest control professional.

A bed bug infestation has nothing to do with cleanliness – you can pick them up in even the finest hotels, and they can hitchhike into the cleanest homes at any time. But, you can help reduce your chances of a costly bed bug infestation by catching them early.

Traveling
When traveling, think of the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to remember the following action steps to help avoid taking bed bugs home with you.

  • Survey surfaces for signs of an infestation, such as tiny rust-colored spots on bed sheets, mattress tags and seams, and bed skirts.
  • Lift and look for all bed bug hiding spots, including underneath the mattress, bed frame, headboard, and furniture. Typically, they come out at night to feed, but during the day, they are most likely found within a 5-foot radius of the bed.
  • Elevate your luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed and wall, since bed bugs can often hide behind head boards, artwork, picture frames and electrical outlet panels.
  • Examine your luggage carefully while repacking and when you return home. Always keep luggage off the bed and store it in a closet or other area, far away from your bedroom.
  • Place all your clothing from your luggage immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from travel.

In the House
When at home, follow these handy tips to help keep bed bugs at bay.

  • Remove all clutter from your home, which makes finding bed bugs easier.
  • Wash and dry your bed linens often using the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.
  • Closely inspect any second-hand furniture for bed bugs before you bring it into your residence.
  • Inspect your residence regularly – after a move-in, a trip, a service worker comes in, or guests stay overnight.

In many cases we can deal with our clients issue quickly and without incident. On occasion where a population bloom occures and creates a severe problem, we work with another Florida company who specializes in using heat to totally eliminate every living bed bug in the area. This company also owns two bed bug sniffing dogs that can be brought into your establishment and certify that your property is bed bug free. This company is a good friend and works with us to keep the costs reasonable for our customers. They assist us in being able to give you the ultimate peace of mind when this issue strikes.

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-- Duggan Cooley, former CEO- RCS

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