Characteristics: Two pairs of wings, mouth forming beak or rostrum for piercing and sucking normally found under the body. Metamorphosis incomplete with egg and nymph stages.
Small, flat, oval shaped insects with short forewings that have no function. The rostrum can be found in a ventral groove, 3 segmented tarsi. Solley feeds by bloodsucking.
Species, characteristics, habitats and hosts
Common Bed Bug: (Cimex Lectularius): Adults are around 5mm long and red/brown in colour, purple after feeding. They have well developed, prominent antenna. Their feet form claws to allow them to climb rough surfaces.
Host/Habitat: Humans are the primary hosts; however, any warm-blooded animal will surface. Beg Bugs can be found in any house that is lived in.
Other blood feeding bugs
All other blood feeding bugs are quite similar in appearance to the Common Bed Bug. They can be found infesting bat roosts and birds’ nests. On rare occasions these bugs can infest human homes, these bugs include:
Pigeon Bug (Cimex Columbarius) – Similar size, shape and colour as the Common Bed Bug they can be identified by the ratio of head width to length of third antennal segment, which in most Pigeon Bugs is less than 1.6.
Host/Habitat: The primary hosts are birds, they can be found in birds’ nests and poultry houses. On rare occasion they will invade human homes and attack humans.
Martin Bug: – Look Similar to the common bed bug however, they are more hairy and smaller in size.
Host/Habitat: The primary hosts are birds, they can often be found in Martin’s nests. On rare occasion they will invade human homes and attack humans.
Bed Bugs are flightless insects, so they can only get around by crawling or being transported passively via clothing, furniture, luggage, books and other things that can be used as harbourage. Bed bugs can go months without feeding this helps them survive while being transported until they find a host. Any household can fall victim to a bed bug infestation.
Most bed bug infestations can be found in bedrooms of domestic properties. They will hide in cracks, mattresses, beds, skirting boards anywhere that’s dark. Bed bugs are nocturnal, so they will come out at night to feed on their hosts while they are sleeping.
Bed bug infestations thrive in densely populated places, so hotels and hostels are particularly susceptible.
Bedbugs thrive in warmer climates, so they reach their peak around early autumn, after this the life cycle slows down, they stop laying eggs and juvenile development slows down. Bed bugs tend to die out in the winter months unless a house is well heated.
Bed bugs don’t tend to carry diseases, however, the irritation caused by their feeding can be quite severe causing, lack of sleep, low energy levels, listlessness, especially in children. Younger children have also been known to develop iron deficiencies from excessive feeding by the bed bugs. A bed bug bit usually forms a hard-white swelling which makes it easy to distinguish from a flea bite which leave a red spot. Everyone does react differently to bed bug bites, some may even develop immunity.
Bed bugs make themselves known in your property, not just by their feeding, but their excrement leaves speckled like marks around wherever they are hiding, and their stink glands cause infested rooms to be infused with a rather nasty almond like smell.
There are many factors contributing to the sustainability of the bed bug population some being, modern building techniques, allowing easy access to adjoining buildings, the increased use of heating is making it possible for bed bugs to continue to thrive in the winter months and the growing popularity of buying second hand furniture which helps towards the distribution of the bed bugs.
In all cases of a bed bug infestation it is important to try and determine the source of the infestation so that the proper course of treatment can be carried out. A thorough inspection should be carried out through out the entire property to distinguish the full extent of the infestation. Control measures used should be thorough and directed at all places the bed bugs are using to hide.
Eradicating bed bugs requires specialist treatment, someone who knows where to look for the insects and then apply the correct control methods.
If you think you may have bed bugs then call Manchester Pest Control on 0161 210 2536 to arrange a survey.