Anyone can be affected by bed bugs, including luxury hotels. While they had disappeared in the 1950s, here they are again, posing real health problems, to the point that the minister in charge of housing needs to take up the subject. How does this insect live and how to eradicate it from the house? It is important to know your enemy in order to get rid of them better. So, here is our file which will help you to come to end of it.
Who is the bed bug?
Recognizing bedbugs is essential in order to act quickly to control their development. The bedbug is an insect of the family of Cimicidae, parasite of humans. But unlike lice, it doesn’t live on us. Here is their description:
- Adult bedbugs are usually brown, with red variations when engorged with blood, their nymphs being light brown, translucent,
- Their shape is oval,
- Visible to the naked eye, they are the length of an apple seed, measuring between 4 and 8 mm,
- As they have no wings, they do not fly. They don’t jump either, moving at an ant’s speed.
These insects have been known since ancient times, but they had almost disappeared from our lives after World War II, when thehygiene had developed significantly, as had the use of insecticides. However, these bugs reappeared in the 2000s to settle again in our lives. The causes are multiple: more limited use of pesticides, increased travel and trips which they take advantage of to spread, fear of ostracization of infected people who do not report their presence.
Reproduction and movement of the bedbug
The bedbug’s mode of reproduction is rare in insects. It is said to be “traumatic” because the male pierces the female’s abdomen thanks to his sharp reproductive system. By injecting his sperm into the female’s paragenital organ, he also risks introducing pathogenic microorganisms that can cause at least one disease, if not the death of the female.
Reproduction gives rise to the laying of whitish eggs, the size of a pinhead, forming clusters fixed in small tight spaces like micro-cracks, and this 3 to 10 days after fertilization. They hatch between 7 to 15 days after laying, depending on temperature conditions. The eggs hatch to give birth to nymphs, which are like adults, but smaller. They will become adults after a month. The life of an adult bedbug lasts 5 to 6 months. In the absence of food, unlike the nymph which does not survive, the adult can resist for more than a year by placing itself in a state of dormancy.
Adult females can lay between 5 and 15 eggs per day, between 300 and 500 eggs in a lifetime. It is therefore important to react without delay to limit an infestation that will otherwise settle in some months only.
The life of the bedbug is very sensitive to temperature:
- Bedbugs only develop above 13 ° C,
- It survives 20 minutes at 48 ° C, 5 days at – 7 ° C and 2 days at – 18 ° C,
- It no longer feeds below 9 ° C and goes into hibernation.
Its ideal development temperature is between 21 and 28 ° C.
Bed bugs are spread during moves, travel, in walls, ceilings and floors, along pipes, conduits and electrical cables, by contact of soiled linen with unsoiled linen in laundry rooms and laundry rooms. Be wary of items acquired from flea markets and thrift stores.
How does the bedbug eat?
The bedbug feeds on blood, which is what makes it a parasite and our nightmare. Both males and females bite us to suck our blood, like a mosquito would. The meal lasts 3 to 15 minutes. The insect then hides for digestion which usually takes several days. A bug bites on average once a week.
As with the mosquito, during the bite, the saliva of the insect acts as an anticoagulant to keep the blood fluid and facilitate aspiration. Result: a reaction of the skin to the insect’s saliva, traces of bites similar to those of mosquitoes, causing itching whose strength varies between individuals. The bites are on the parts of the body discovered during sleep. The bites can form characteristic lines but also spread all over the body.
Bedbugs are especially active at night: the bedroom is therefore their chosen land. Shunning light during the day, they fold up in dark, narrow and inaccessible places: box springs, mattresses, bed frame but also cupboards, plinths, etc.
Spot the bed bug
Besides the bites it leaves on the body of their victims, and since they hide during the day, the easiest way to identify them is to spot the small ones. black stains that they leave on the sheets, the mattress or the box spring: it is their excrement. In case of a heavy infestation, it is possible to see them alive, moving in the bed, and to crush them while you sleep, in which case you will see traces of blood on the sheets. Translucent skins can also be found in different places, like so many traces left behind when they molt.
How to get rid of bed bugs ?
The big cleaning is the first reflex to adopt! Here are the different actions to take:
- Machine wash over 60 ° C and tumble dry for at least 30 minutes for supporting clothes.
- For other clothes, freeze at -20 ° C, 72 hours minimum.
- Cleaning the carpets, curtains and corners of your home with a device generating steam at 120 ° C.
- Suction of baseboards, cracks, bed structures and other less frequently cleaned places with the fine nozzle of the vacuum cleaner. After operation, packing of the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and deposit in an external trash. Clean the vacuum cleaner duct with soapy water.
- Some surfaces require the use of the brush. It is about unhooking the insects, their eggs and their larvae. It is essential to vacuum or clean the entire area after passing the brush.
- If you want to get rid of a contaminated mattress or furniture, it must be deposited directly in the landfill, without deposit in the street or elsewhere which could lead to reuse and therefore a displacement of the problem.
If bed bugs are still present despite your efforts, it is necessary to resort to chemical methods. But these can only be implemented by professionals. The selected company must be specialized in detection by sniffer dogs and have a Certibiocide certificate issued for less than 5 years.
For any question, there is a telephone number open by the State: the 0806 706 806, accessible at the cost of a local call.
Photo credit: CDC / Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert