Bed Bugs

icon-bed-bug
Bed Bugs Scared Baby

Yikes … bed bugs!


Top view of a bed bug

Top view of a bed bug

Bed Bugs were once thought of as purely a scourge of third world countries or in areas with poor hygiene standards. In fact about 50 years ago, bed bug presence had nearly been eliminated in countries such as Australia, the UK and The USA however with increasing international travel has come the return of bed bugs . . . and at an alarming rate!

Bed bugs don’t pose as high a medical risk such as fleas for example. Their medical implication is more the irritation their bites can effect on human skin. Bedbugs are a rather unique pest in that normal pest control methods can be ineffectual so a specialist understanding of their life cycle and habits is essential in the elimination of bedbugs.

WHAT ARE BEDBUGS?
Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood by piercing the skin. They usually seek out blood meals at night. They do not live on humans and do not burrow into the skin. Bed bugs are very mobile, but only move short distances to feed, so are commonly found near food (blood) sources i.e. human skin.  Their appearance is small with a dark, rusty colour and quite often they are confused with fleas however there are differences between the two as the following chart indicates:

Bed Bugs Vs Fleas Table

Bed Bugs Vs Fleas Table (click to enlarge)

HABITS OF BED BUGS
Bed bugs tend to be nocturnal creatures that hide during the day and come out to feed at night. Their hiding places tend to be small cracks and crevices such as:
• bedside furniture
• bed frames
• in picture frames
• behind wall paper
• in cracks and crevices or other areas of a room that will provide them with protection, such as edges of rugs, behind skirting boards, in wooden slats or springs of a bed and between wooden floor boards

When they come to feed off their host (humans) the feeding time is generally three to five minutes and usually goes unnoticed by the victim. Bed bugs can spread to adjoining rooms not so much by crawling, but by being transported by human movement.

Bed bug infestation under a chest of drawers
Bed bug infestation under a chest of drawers
Metal bed springs provide ideal harbourage for bed bugs
Metal bed springs provide ideal harbourage for bed bugs
Spotting on a mattress indicates bed bug presence
Spotting on a mattress indicates bed bug presence
In and on wooden bed slats are an ideal home for bed bugs
In and on wooden bed slats are an ideal home for bed bugs
Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites

SIGN OF BED BUG INFESTATION
Aside from the obvious visual sighting of bed bugs on, or under mattresses, there are other signs that show the presence of bed bugs in your home:
• Blood spotting on bedding as well as furniture and skirting boards
• Skin welts and irritation caused by the bites
• Dark spots of bed bug excrement or shedded skin
• Sweet musty smell is sometimes present

With regard to bed bug bites, as was mentioned earlier, these do not lead to transmission of any disease or present any great health threat  . . . they tend to be more of an irritation to the skin of the victim where skin reaction may include redness, swelling and wheals up to 2cm in size and an itching or burning sensation. Humans tend to be bitten on the arms and shoulders in distinct lines. Having said this, it’s also worth noting that some people may not show any reaction at all to bed bug bites.

CONTROL OF BED BUGS
The eradication of bed bugs in your house can be quite detailed and not just a case of vacuuming bedding and furniture. Doing these may remove visible offenders however, as mentioned earlier, bed bugs and bed bug eggs will be hidden in many areas . . . not just in bedding.

Perth Pest Control is well versed in locating and eliminating bed bugs and we follow a proven protocol in the control of these pests:
• Isolation – we ask you, prior to our visit, to bag all clothing, bed linen etc. All these items will need to be washed in hot water with a non-enzyme detergent and by doing all this, the bed bug threat will be contained. Contact us for more details on this step.
• Inspection – we will then make an inspection of the area and this involves checking not just the bedding, but also surrounding furniture, carpet edges, skirting boards, power points etc.
• Non-chemical treatment – once the existence of bed bugs has been confirmed, our technician will provide a steam treatment to all parts of the infected room.
• Chemical treatments – it needs to noted firstly that normal pesticides don’t work with bed bug eggs and it’s imperative that the eggs be destroyed, as well as the adults, to prevent further infestation.  At Perth Pest Control we would assess each situation always keeping human safety as the number one priority. Generally, we would use two types of treatment….a special residual pesticide for areas such as cracks, skirting boards etc, and then a less persistent one (but one with a high safety margin) for areas in contact with humans such as mattresses, furniture etc.
• Follow up – it’s crucial to understand that one treatment for bed bugs from Perth Pest Control will, in most cases, eliminate the problem. However, in cases of severe infestation or improper isolation procedures, a second treatment may be required. Our technician will discuss this with you at the time of the initial treatment.

A bed bug having a meal

FAQ – Bed Bugs
I’ve found bed bugs under my mattress and yet I’m fanatical about cleaning . . . why have I got them?

This is not an uncommon occurrence and one that seems to be on the increase. Bed bugs can be bought into a home unnoticed via suitcases (If you’ve been travelling), flowers purchased at a local florist may harbour bed bugs, second hand furniture can be a vehicle for bed bug transportation or they may have even been bought in to your home on a painting you’ve just hung on your wall. Spotless hygiene habits doesn’t preclude bed bugs appearing but it does help. If you have evidence of bed bugs, contact Perth Pest Control and we can detail the strict protocol we follow in bed bug elimination.

I’ve found some unusual bites on my children’s arms and legs and am worried they are form bed bugs. What does a bed bug bite look like?

A bed bug bite consists of a small, raised red bump or a flat welt often accompanied by very intense itching. A bed bug bite may appear similar to a mosquito bite however they tend to last longer than a mosquito bite. Bed bug bites tend not to have a red dot in the centre as flea bite would have and also, bed bug bites tend to appear on shoulders and arms and present as lines of bites. Please contact our office if you wish to discuss this issue further.

Will vacuuming my room and washing my linen in hot water get rid of all bed bugs?

This is a very good start. As well, all nearby clothes should be washed and shoes cleaned thoroughly. Unfortunately bed bugs, and their eggs, can be located in small cracks (in a cupboard or bed head for example) so whilst the washing may kill the obvious bed bugs, the infestation may still be present so a more aggressive approach may need to be taken which would involve a specialist treatment from Perth Pest Control.

Will your bed bug treatment kill ALL the bed bugs present in my bedroom?

The treatment we use will be effective very quickly however it will not kill the bed bug eggs. These eggs may hatch over the ensuing weeks. To make sure we eliminate all the bed bug infestation, Perth Pest Control’s technicians use a residual spray that should kill the bed bugs once they hatch. In some case we may recommend a follow up inspection and this can be discussed with the technician at the time of treatment.

I’ve heard that freezing clothes and linen will kill bed bugs . . . is this true?

Yes. Studies have shown that 2 hours freezing will kill bed bugs but the problem is, do you want to be stuffing all your best linen and clothes into your fridge or freezer? It will kill the bed bugs but it’s simply not a convenient, or practical, option for most people.

After your treatment, can I sleep in the bedroom that night?

This shouldn’t be a problem. Our treatments involve the use of low risk pesticides but if one has a propensity for allergies, it may be wise to sleep in another room for 1 night.

Why can’t I use a “bed bug repellent” bought from a supermarket?

Bed bugs are extremely difficult to treat. At Perth Pest Control we are licensed to use products that cannot be bought at the supermarket or hardware store. The products we use whilst they are very efficacious in the elimination of bed bugs, are also safe to use and are designed to target bed bugs specifically which is not necessarily the case for store bought pesticides which tend to be aimed at a wide range of pests. Our products also have a residual effect meaning that any bed bug eggs present at the time of treatment will die when they hatch over the ensuing weeks and again, this is not necessarily a feature of store bought products