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BedBugs – the blood sucking pest

Nov 10, 2009

Bed bugs are small, nocturnal insects that feed exclusively off of the blood of hosts while they are sleeping or stationary for long periods of time. Bed bugs can range in size from 1 mm or 0.04”(nymphs) to 6 mm or ¼”(adults) and have six legs; they do not fly or jump. Adult bed bugs are similar in size and shape to an apple seed and would be easily visible if out in the open. Prior to feeding, their bodies are very flat, after they have fed, they become bloated and dark red (mahogany to rusty brown). Depending on the life-cycle stage, their colour varies from different shades of brown. Newly hatched nymphs look very much like adults however they are almost colorless and gain their reddish brown color as they mature.

Bed bug eggs are whitish, pear-shaped and about the size of a pinhead, they would be hard to spot by an untrained eye.

Unlike lice, bed bugs do not live on people but only visit them to feed. Bed bugs are most active at night, however if they are hungry enough, they will emerge to feed during the day. Their bite is similar to being bitten by a mosquito; it is painless and may result in a small, red, itchy bump.

People commonly find out they have bed bugs when they notice bites on their skin. Bites are usually clustered in the same area, or in a row. They tend to welt and be very itchy, similar to flea or mosquito bites.

Other telltale signs of bed bug bites may include dried blood spots on your sheets and/or mattress from crushed, just-fed bed bugs, or groupings of tiny black spots, which is bedbug fecal matter. You may also notice molted skins and eggshells where bed bugs hide. In severe cases, you may notice an offensive, sweet, musty odour from their scent glands.

The most accurate and easiest way to confirm or rule out if you have bed bugs is to have bed bug sniffing dogs complete an inspection in your home, apartment building or hotel.

During the day, bed bugs tend to hide close to where they feed; for example, where people sleep. Qualified bed bug sniffing dogs have the ability to smell in parts per trillion, enabling them to smell through walls, furniture, drawers that contain clothes, suitcases, box springs and mattresses.

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