Bed Bugs: Pest Guide
In our daily life, bed bugs are a constant menace to house owners and residents. Therefore, various Bed bug control methods have to be adopted to eliminate Bed bugs from residential complexes, apartments, and villas. This method helps in maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of the home in an efficient manner.
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Bed bugs belong to the Hemiptera order of insects known by the name true bugs.
It consists of a flat oval-shaped body that consists of three pairs of legs situated on either side of the body. They are usually brown and the color suddenly changes to red as soon as they consume blood from the host. They have larger antennae and mouthparts compared to other varieties of bugs.
The bed bugs belong to the Cimicidae family. They are usually flat, oval-shaped in appearance, and have functionless forewings. The rostrum lies in the ventral grove and has a segmented appearance.
Species characteristics and host/habitat
Common Bed bug
The adults are usually 5mm long, have a reddish appearance, and change into purple color after feeding. It has well-developed antennae with prominent eyes, clawed feet, which helps in climbing up rough surfaces. The ratio of head width to length of the third antennal segment is usually greater than 1.7.
Host / Habitat
It is usually found in human-infested habitations and areas of very high population, typically urban areas.
It is quite similar in size and appearance to common bug and can be easily distinguished by the ratio of head width to length of the third antennal segment, which tends to be less than 1.6 in most specimens.
Host / Habitat
As the name suggests, the pigeon bugs are generally in bird nests such as pigeons, sparrows, etc.
They are quite similar in appearance to the common bed bug but are generally smaller in size and have a hairy appearance. In addition, the front margin of the prothorax is far less concave in shape and the head width is more than twice the length of a third antennal segment. These are the two different characteristics that stand out while identifying Martin Bugs.
Host / Habitat
As the name suggests, the Martin Bugs are usually found in Martin Bird nests and tend to attack humans when in close contact with one another.
Bed bugs – Significance, Lifecycle, and Control
The Bedbugs cannot fly from one particular location to another and infest in luggage, books, and other baggage items. The Bed bugs have the rare quality of withstanding several days without consuming any food particles, which helps them easily migrate to larger distances. However, the Bed bugs tend to have an affinity towards places with lower hygiene, and therefore it becomes highly important to keep one room cleaner and tidy.
Various sorts of Bed bugs are found in domestic premises, usually in bedrooms and some tend to be hidden in several cracks and crevices and come out only during nighttime to feed on the host blood. Bug hiding places tend to be close to where the host sleeps, most probably bed frames, mattresses, furniture, etc. The infestation usually occurs in areas with many people, such as hotels, hostels, and holiday camps.
In the temperate climate, the bed bugs tend to reach their peak numbers towards the autumn season and all stages of lifecycle tend to be present during this period. However, as soon as winter approaches, egg-laying quality ceases, and juvenile development tends to slow down a bit. As a result, the Bed bugs overwinter mainly as adults since their eggs and nymphs are much more susceptible to lower temperatures.
Bed bugs are usually not regarded as disease carriers, but their peculiarity of feeding on blood causes extreme discomfort and irritation to some people. This results in loss of sleep, lack of energy, and listlessness in some children and causes iron deficiency in some infants. In addition, the excreta of Bed bugs tend to produce a speckled appearance for their harborages, and stink glands tend to confer a distinctive and almond-like smell on infested rooms. Such creatures pose a huge threat to the cleanliness and hygiene of the room and call for a larger requirement for maintaining the cleanliness of the room up to the required standards.
Several steps can be used to control the existing bed bug populations, such as increased use of central heating, allowing continued heating and proliferation during the winter season.
The eggs of Bed bugs are usually curved in shape, measuring 0.8 – 1.3 mm in length and 0.4 – 0.6mm in breadth, and are hatched to the surface of harborages. Meanwhile, unhatched eggs are opaque, pearly white, and remain in a long position after hatching. The temperature and availability of food tend to have an adverse impact under optimal conditions at a rate of about three per day. A Female Bed bug tends to lay around 145 – 150 eggs during its entire lifespan.
The first stage nymphs, which tend to hatch from eggs, are around 1mm long and appear quite similar to adults, except for size and color. Each nymph requires one blood meal before molting on to the next stage. The lengths of the five nymphal stages are 1.3mm, 2mm, 3mm, 3.7mm, and 5mm. However, the rudimentary wings are found out at last molt.
The speed of development from egg to adult and the duration of adult life varies considerably due to temperature and food availability. With frequent temperatures, adults can live for around 9-18 months at normal room temperatures, with egg incubation taking place every 10-20 days and the cycle getting completed in 9-18 weeks. Under such conditions, nymphs tend to feed about 10-day intervals and adults weekly and can survive longer without any food particles. On the other hand, under cold conditions (13°C), starved adults can survive for about a year.
In every sort of infestation, particularly those in new homes, a proper analysis must be conducted to verify the reason behind the infestation.
A thorough inspection must be conducted to verify the extent of infestation and help know the extent of damage incurred. Several control measures must be adopted, which helps in controlling the damage. A number of Those Steps which are initiated for the same are as follows.
One must maintain a higher level of hygiene and housekeeping, which helps a great deal in controlling the influence of Bed bugs in the room and preventing diseases. The Infested clothing should be laundered properly, and the fabrics of the infested room must be disinfected thoroughly to control its spread.
b) Insecticidal control
The usage of insecticides helps a great deal in keeping the premises of the room free from any pests or bugs. A professional pest control agency must be consulted, which helps a great deal in treating bug-infested areas.
Glossary of terms
Instars: Any stage in an insect’s life cycle, especially between molts.
Prothorax: First thoracic segment. Rostrum: Beak or snout.
Tarsus (Tarsi): Apical section of the leg (the foot).
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