The Bed Bug
What is the bed bug?
The bed bug is a small insect that feeds exclusively on human or animal blood. It’s a prolific insect that most often hides and multiplies in and around the bed (mattress, bed base, bed frame…). When it feeds, the bed bug bites, which frequently causes skin reactions that often resemble those observed following mosquito bites. One can recognize their bites, which are sometimes lined up in straight lines in groups of three or four. At the start of the infestation, it’s not uncommon for the insect to focus on a single individual of the family. It’s also important to know that a portion of the population doesn’t show any skin reaction following bed bug bites, which often delays the detection of the infestation. (1)
What does the bed bug look like?
The adult bed bug measures 4 to 7 mm. It has a flat, ovoid body, the shape of which is reminiscent of an apple seed. The colour of its body is brownish, but it becomes more reddish after its meal of blood. The pupae (juvenile bed bugs) are smaller, pale, and translucent.
Main nuisances caused by the bed bug
Besides bites, itching, and skin reactions, the presence of bed bugs in a home can cause insomnia and amplify certain anxiety disorders. Their presence can also be the source of unpleasant feelings such as disgust or shame and promote social isolation. The bed bug secretes histamine, which can affect people with asthma or allergies. Finally, in large quantities, bed bugs can make the mattresses and furniture on which they leave their droppings unsanitary and give off a “sweet” smell.
What do bed bug bites look like?
When it feeds, the bed bug inflicts bites that frequently cause skin reactions that look like those observed following mosquito bites. In some cases, the bites give way to redness, erythematous papules, hives, or even bullous reactions. Skin reactions can appear during a period ranging from the moment of the bite up to 14 days later. (2 )
Are you looking for more information about the skin reactions caused by bed bug bites? Read our blog article “Photos of Bed Bug Bites.”
What are the signs of a bed bug infestation?
Bed bugs sometimes escape from small drops of blood on the sheets. They are also sometimes injured or crushed during the night. Look for round or linear spots—either red or brown—on your sheets.
Bed bug droppings look like little black spots. They are often found on the mattress, on the bed base, under nightstands…
Bed bugs moult several times before becoming adults. It is sometimes possible to see empty bed bug carcasses in or around the bed.
The pupae (juvenile bed bugs) are smaller and more translucent than adult bed bugs.
How to find bed bugs?
The bed bug is particularly fond of the hems and folds of mattresses. It’s not uncommon for it to take refuge in the folds of the hems on the back of the mattress. It is also found inside bed bases, behind the headboard, and in the crevices of bed structures. It is also fond of screw holes in wooden furniture.
Sofas and chairs can also be a site of infestation, especially when they are used over long periods or for sleeping.
Desk drawers and closet shelves can also hide beg bugs. Special attention must be paid to the crevices and corners.
Nightstands and small furniture should be turned over. Check for the presence of bed bugs as well as black spots (droppings), which could indicate their presence.
Bed bugs also like baseboards (mouldings at the base of the wall), undersides of carpets, and cracks and crevices in the floors and between the walls and ceilings.
They are also found behind removed tapestries, mirrors, frames, and curtains.
They also hide in electrical outlets, smoke detectors, television sets, clocks, and telephones. (3)
An inspection by a technician is inexpensive and can help you take stock of the situation.
If you need to check for the presence of bed bugs, read our article entitled “How to Find Bed Bugs” as well.
How to get rid of bed bugs?
There are several ways to fight this tough insect. It is often necessary to coordinate everyone’s efforts in order to successfully get rid of bed bugs. Landlords, tenants, and pest management specialists must all unite their efforts to achieve the best results. A preparation of the home precedes the treatment, and a decluttering may be a good idea in some cases to reduce the number of hiding places where bed bugs could take refuge.
Treatment using approved products
Treatment using approved products is currently the most common approach. This involves applying insecticides that kill bed bugs. As the eggs are immunized against these products, the treatment normally has to be repeated between the second and third week to target the bed bugs that will come out of the eggs. At Solution Cimex, we combine this treatment with the application of dry steam to certain items. This allows us to eliminate as many eggs, pupae, and adult bed bugs as possible from the first treatment.
The bed bug heat treatment lets you eliminate bed bugs quickly and effectively. During this treatment, the ambient temperature of the house and the furniture is raised to a level where adult bed bugs, pupae, and eggs are eliminated. This type of treatment is carried out in less than a day and doesn’t require a second appointment. At Solution Cimex, we offer one of the most effective heat treatments on the market.
Heat chamber treatment
The heat chamber is a “tent” in which objects and furniture are placed to eliminate bed bugs using heat. The heat chamber treatment is particularly appreciated by movers who have a limited number of objects to treat.
Treating clothes in the dryer
To stamp out bed bugs on clothes, we recommend treating all those that can handle it by drying them on the hottest cycle for 45 minutes. The clothes must then be placed in hermetically sealed bags to protect them. This treatment can be carried out with a household or commercial dryer. If you don’t have easy access to a dryer, Solution Cimex can help you with its mobile clothes drying service.
Treating clothes and items through freezing
For clothes and items that can’t tolerate heat, it’s possible to treat them with a bed bug treatment protocol involving freezing. Solution Cimex also offers this additional bed bug freezing treatment service to accommodate you.
Should a mattress be kept or thrown away?
In most cases, it’s not necessary to throw away mattresses and furniture. However, when the infestation is extensive, it may be preferable to dispose of them. Bed bugs produce histamine to let their fellow creatures know where to find them. People who suffer from allergies or asthma may be more sensitive to this substance, which is found in the mattress, among other places.
Where do bed bugs come from?
Bed bugs have always been present over the course of the last few centuries. Since the mass spraying of powerful insecticides such as DDT, we’ve lost sight of them so much that we’ve practically forgotten their existence.
Among other things, the bed bug has taken advantage of the ban on DDT (and other powerful insecticides) and the increase in international travel, vacationers, and cruise passengers to make a spectacular return.
Once inside an apartment or hotel room, bed bugs can spread to the clothes and luggage of its occupants or visitors, among other places. They can also spread from one room to another or from one home to another via the crevices that let them pass from one dwelling to the next (e.g., holes that let the heating, plumbing, or water pipes pass).
To learn more about the spread of bed bugs in everyday life, read our blog article “Bed Bugs: Where Do They Come From?”.
Who can get bed bugs?
The bed bug is not an insect attracted by uncleanliness. The presence of this insect is usually an accident more than anything else. Anyone can get bed bugs, regardless of cleanliness, wealth, or social status. The same goes for hotels. Even the rooms in the most prestigious hotels aren’t immune from bed bugs.
Do you have a bed bug problem?
Don’t panic! We’ll take care of you. Contact us now.