It’s alarming but there has been a reported increase in the number of bed bug infestations in Australia and other parts of the world. The last ten years have seen infestation spread over various countries and that’s mainly because these fiends have developed resistance to common insecticides people buy off the shelves.
An increase in international travel is also a contributing factor, with bed bugs finding their way into shoes, luggage, and clothing. As these insects cling on to any of your belongings, they’ll hitchhike from the hotel all the way to your bedroom. From there, a new infestation can begin. A scary thought, isn’t it?
Having seen a steep rise in infestations, hotels worldwide have begun banning their guests from using their own sleeping linen as a safety precaution against these blood-sucking pests. A far better option is to call in professional pest control.
Although the insect’s name derives from the place where we typically rest, bed bugs have been found in other parts of houses, bedrooms and hostels. In fact, they’ve been seen in places where there is little movement e.g. theatres or cinemas. While they cannot fly, these critters compensate for it with incredible speeds. In fact, they can quickly scamper and hide once exposed to any form of light.
Bed bugs are nocturnal in nature, resting through the day and feeding most of the night. They’re attracted to their food source (us!) through the warmth and carbon dioxide we emit. They also feed on our blood every five to ten days but can survive for months without it. As they’re about to feast on you, they use two hollow tubes to pierce the skin; one draws out blood from the sleeping victim (you) and the other injects anticoagulants and anaesthetic.
The use of anaesthetic means that their bite is generally painless while the anticoagulant keeps the blood from clotting. This leaves you totally oblivious that pests are literally drinking your blood while you sleep at night, only leaving tell-tale spots of blood on the bed sheets by the time you wake up. For anyone allergic to the injected anticoagulants, they may see large welts and swelling on the limbs that have been bitten.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
Because of how elusive bed bugs are, it can be hard to tell if your bed is already infested. To slowly gain the upper ground against them, you’ll have to be on the lookout for these clues.
- Dark spots of excrement or blood on the mattresses, bed sheets, skirting boards, or nearby cracks and crevices.
- Live bed bugs (or cast skins)
- Eggs (can be visible against dark-coloured fabric)
- Distinct ‘bug’ smell (in severe infestations)
- Bite marks on the skin
In most cases, bed bugs tend to feed off exposed parts (e.g. shoulders and arms) in distinctive lines. While the bites themselves aren’t generally considered a health risk, some may find them painful and may react badly to the bed bug’s saliva, often experiencing a localised allergic reaction. In extreme cases, the victim can suffer anaphylactic shock—a life-threatening allergic reaction—to the said bites.
Detecting a Bed Bug Infestation
In the early stages of an infestation, you’ll find bed bugs hiding around the beading and folds of mattresses, sleeping bags, and bedsheets. As it worsens, the bugs move to any crevices, be it in the skirting boards, cracks in nearby bedroom furniture or plaster, even in bed heads.
On white sheets and beddings, adult bed bugs can be easily seen with the naked eye. It may be much more difficult to do the same on dark surfaces and wooden floors. Their young nymphs are much more difficult to spot on any surfaces, though.
A proven way to detect bed bugs is to observe common hiding places and look for black or brown spots of dried blood excrement. In the case of severe infestations, that area may also give off an offensive, sticky odour that is similar to the smell a stink bug gives off when squashed. If your eyesight is keen, you can see white eggs, egg cases, and moulted skin shells, along with the live bugs.
It’s worth noting that bed bugs often live in close proximity to a suitable host. Once they find their victim, they’ll quickly make themselves at home and multiply in a short amount of time.
Bed bugs nowadays have developed a degree of resistance to most common insecticides you see on the market. This is why it’s nearly impossible to eradicate them completely on your own. Even if you find one that seems to do them significant harm, the chemical may not be able to affect the eggs. So while you’d enjoy a good night’s rest for a few days, you’ll wake up to a rude surprise not too long after: the cycle of infestation has only been put on hold. Needless to say, professional inspection and commercial treatment have to be part of the solution.
As long as a single egg survives the initial treatment, the bed bugs can repopulate the affected location all over again. With an incubation of two weeks and the fact that they’re hidden in areas that are difficult to reach, an infestation can persist and continue to torment you until you decide to bring in the experts. Once an infestation has been detected, you should have all adjoining rooms inspected and treated before the bed bug population gets out of hand.
Judging by how complex bed bug control is, it’s best to leave the job in the hands of a licensed pest control company. It’s best if they apply pesticides registered and permitted by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for the control of bed bug populations, too. For the most part, the pesticide to use in any case largely depends on the usage requirement. Using dust may be excellent at penetrating cracks where bed bugs live but they may not be as effective in spaces where it can be dispersed by constant vacuuming and foot traffic.
Fortunately, you don’t need to look far to find a licensed pest exterminator. Give our bed bugs removal team a call and we’ll eliminate these blood-sucking threats before they leave you haggard from all those nightlong bouts with them.