About Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are back and not just Nationally, but worldwide. They’re now being seen in 5 star hotels, hospitals, retail stores, movie theaters, homes and even college dormitories. The reason for this increase in bedbug activity is because global travel has been on the increase for the past few years. Bed bugs  bite mostly at night because they are nocturnal. They are small and easily overlooked.

“Angel” signaling an Alert on a Mattress

If you think you can starve a bed bug you are sadly mistaken. Adult bed bugs are capable of surviving for up to one year and six months without food. Bed bugs not only find shelter in beds but also are often found in furniture at home and at work, as well public transit, cruise ships, shipping crates and many other locations. What happens if you find that you have a bed bug infestation? It is a fact that bed bugs feed exclusively on blood, but bed bugs pose no risk to humans nor do they transmit disease.

What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are in fact insects. There are a few types of bed bugs that live among people, and that being the common bed bug and the bat bug. Both of which live amongst each other and are nearly impossible to differentiate, unless you are looking at it through a microscope. Regardless, you will still get bed bug bites from both.  Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown while the younger nymphs are more of a tan color, have oval shaped bodies, and have no wings. When looking through a microscope you will notice short hairs on their upper body. An unfed bed bug is about the size of an apple seed and as flat as paper.

A Bed Bug Biting the Palm of my Hand

This enables them to fit into the tiniest of cracks and navigate from room to room. While they are feeding though, you can visually see their bodies expand why they fill their inners with your blood. Immediately after feeding, the breeding process with the males and females begin and shortly after, the female bed bugs will lay their eggs. Bed bug eggs are very small, white, oval shaped and just about 1/32″ long, about the size of a pinhead. The adult female will lay her eggs in crevices in groups of 10–50 eggs. When they hatch, the new born instars look exactly like a bed bug, but, nearly colorless and so small that they are virtually impossible to see. In heavy infestations you will find adults, nymphs, instars and eggs all within the same place.

Do Bed Bugs Multiply?
Given the right conditions, bed bugs will multiply at an astounding rate. The fact that a bed bug will live a year and a half without a blood meal are pretty good odds that they will breed sooner or later. A recent study at the University of Florida determined that in ten weeks an infestation starting with only 4 bed bugs quickly became 35,000 (thirty five thousand!). If a host is available Eggs hatch in roughly ten days. At this time, the young will reach adulthood in only 5 weeks, but in order to do so, the nymphs will need to feed 5 times, with each time shedding their skins before reaching full adult.

Do Bed Bugs Bite?
Bed bugs prefer humans more so than Animals or Pets such as dogs and cats.  The amount of blood Bed bugs suck depend on how often a host is available. If a bed bug has the ability to get food every night it may only spend 5 minutes feeding, but if a bed bug goes a while without feeding it could spend up to 15 minutes taking in its food supply. Bed bugs feed at night, mostly because humans are sleeping and still. After the meal bedbugs will  crawl into a crevice and digest their meal for several days before coming back for more. The areas bed bugs like to bite are the arms, legs, neck and face because these are the areas most exposed to them while we sleep. Because every person reacts differently to bed bug bites not every person will have the same reaction. Some people may not experience any reaction at all, where others may have to be rushed to a doctor..Extremely heavy cases of bed bugs have been shown to cause anemia in children as well as the elderly. Bed bug infestations are not only a pest issue, but in some cases have cased severe mental stress and sleeplessness. Their presence may be undetected for months. Bed bugs can survive for a year and six months with out a food source and because of this, they are able to occupy abandoned homes, apartments and buildings without being eradicated. Seasonal rental homes are another unthoughtful place these little blood suckers like to hide out.

Bed Bug Detection Dogs
For years dogs have been on the job in detecting bed bugs. Their noses are so sensitive that they can pick up scent on just one egg. Not only can they detect eggs, but also certain dogs can even distinguish between the odors of a live bed bug vs. a dead bed bug, only detecting to the lives ones. Bed bug dogs are best used in the beginning stages of infestations when you cannot visually see any infestation at all, but don’t let not seeing an infestation fool you. Humans don’t typically notice infestations until it’s too late, mostly because the bed bugs are so elusive. By the time you can visually see them everywhere, you don’t need a dog anymore, you need a Pest Management Company.

After treatments from your IPM dogs are then used to determine if the odor of live bed bugs and viable eggs are still present in the home or structure. If so, then a retreatment or spot treatment may be needed. Using the dogs as a follow-up to a bed bug treatment is important for any consumer dealing with this problem. If just one female survives you could soon be right back to square one having to go through the nightmare all over again.

In recent years K9 bed bug detection companies have been popping up everywhere. Its now becoming more difficult to know what company is the real deal and which companies received training for their dogs via back yard trainers. Also an important fact to know, is that the University of Florida did a study on how accurate bed bug dogs actually are and claimed that the dogs doing the study were in fact 98% accurate in finding live bed bugs and viable eggs.  The only company that would agree to do this study was J&K Canine Academy (Pepedogs) out of High Springs Florida. Every other major training facility rejected the invitation to do the study. If you every have a question to whether you are receiving a K9 Company that promotes they are 98% accurate you can always contact J&K Canine Academy and ask them if its one of their dogs.

Another great way of telling if you have a gold standard detection company working for you is to look up their certifications.  Both the dog and handler should be listed as a team (not separately) and should adhere to the standards set forth by the NPMA (National Pest Management Association). Currently there is only one 3rd party certification agency nation wide and its called NESDCA. Every other certification you hear of are all made up by the same people who train the dogs. NESDCA is considered the nations premier certification for bed bug dogs for they go above and beyond the standard currently set forth by the NPMA. You are also able to visit their website to look up active handler and dog teams and are recommended to do so.