It’s the homeowner’s nightmare; awaking in the morning to find itchy red bites all over your skin. Or else finding the tell-tale black spots of droppings on bedclothes and furniture. Or even seeing one of the insects themselves, crawling out from their hiding places.
Bedbugs have been part of human life since ancient times, but in the developed world in the second half of the twentieth century, they became almost unheard of. In the past decade, however, these parasitic insects have made an astounding comeback. Every major city in the world is afflicted by these nocturnal bloodsuckers.
Do you have bedbugs?
The first sign of a bed bug infestation is usually the bites. Bedbugs will feed every night if they can, and their bites often leave small red bumps like a mosquito bite. This is caused by an allergic reaction to the bedbug’s saliva which it injects as it feeds. However, not everyone reacts to the bites in the same way. Some people
develop huge welts; others don’t react at all. There is currently no way to tell from a bite whether it was caused by a bed bug or another insect. The best indication is if there are multiple bites, but even that is not definitive proof.
Another sign of bedbug infestation is the droppings they leave. Since they feed exclusively on blood – preferably human – the droppings they leave are essentially blood spots. These often show as black, and may be seen on bedclothes, furniture, baseboards or wherever bedbugs hide.
The third and most obvious sign is seeing the bugs themselves. Fully grown bedbugs are 4-5mm in length, oval shaped, with slightly flattened bodies (though this varies according to how recently they have fed). Bedbugs are a translucent whitish colour when they first hatch from an egg, but after feeding they take on a dark red colour from the blood they’ve ingested. Bedbugs will feed every night if they get a chance; however, they can survive for over a year without feeding.
How to get rid of bedbugs
Bedbugs are a notoriously difficult pest to get rid of. Their flattened bodies allow them to hide in the smallest cracks and crevices of a room, and when first hatched out, the tiny transparent bugs are extremely difficult to see. Additionally, their eggs are impervious to many of the pesticides currently in use, so multiple treatments are often required. If a single adult female escapes the treatment, the problem will recur as soon as she begins to lay eggs again.
Due to these factors, bedbug treatments are best left to a professional pest control technician. The best treatments utilise a combination of pesticide applications and physical controls. For instance, Active Pest Solutions utilises a steam treatment to kill all stages of bedbugs, from eggs through to adults. In fact, our steam treatments are so effective that they can eliminate the need for pesticides altogether, reducing the potential for harm to both the customer and the environment.
It’s important when shopping around for bedbug treatments to make sure you’re comparing like with like. Any reputable pest control company will be happy to inform you about their treatment procedures. Do they rely only on chemical treatments, or do they use other methods too? While it’s tempting to try and save money where possible, there’s no point paying for a treatment that you’ll have to repeat again and again. At Active, we aim to get rid of bed bugs with a single treatment. Our treatments include a follow-up visit one week to ten days after the initial treatment to ensure that no bedbugs or eggs have survived.
Bedbugs have gotten a lot of attention in recent years, and that’s a good thing. Better awareness can lead to earlier detection and more effective treatments. But don’t panic, and don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Talk to a licensed pest control professional. At Active, our staff are available to answer your questions any time of day. Give us a call today!