Understanding and Fighting Bed Bugs

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Bedbugs, by their scientific name Cimex lectularius, are harmful household parasites that feed on human blood. In recent decades, they have experienced a global resurgence, infesting homes, hotels and other public spaces. Their presence can cause significant inconvenience and health problems. This article explores the characteristics of bed bugs, signs of infestation, and methods to eliminate them.

Characteristics of Bed Bugs

Bedbugs are small, flattened, reddish-brown insects measuring between 4 and 7 millimeters in length. They are often difficult to spot with the naked eye, especially during the day, as they hide in dark cracks and crannies.

Life Cycle

The bedbug life cycle includes several stages:

  • Egg: The female lays between 200 and 500 eggs during her life. The eggs, tiny and whitish, hatch in around ten days.
  • Nymph: Young bugs, called nymphs, go through five instars before becoming adults. They must feed on blood at each stage.
  • Adult: Adult bedbugs generally live between six months and a year, depending on environmental conditions.

Signs of Infestation

Recognizing a bedbug infestation is crucial to acting quickly. Here are some common signs:

  • Binges: Bed bug bites often appear in lines or groups, causing intense itching. They are usually located on exposed parts of the body, such as the arms, legs and neck.
  • Blood Stains: Small blood stains on sheets or mattresses can indicate the presence of crushed bed bugs after feeding.
  • Feces: Bedbugs leave behind tiny black spots, which are their droppings, visible on sheets, mattresses and furniture.
  • Odors: A heavy infestation can produce an unpleasant sweet odor, due to bedbug pheromones.

Methods for Combating Bed Bugs

Getting rid of bedbugs can be a challenge, but several methods prove effective.


Prevention is the best way to avoid an infestation:

  • Inspection: Regularly check mattress seams, furniture cracks and baseboards.
  • Hotels: When staying in a hotel, inspect the bedding and keep your luggage off the floor.
  • Cleaning: Maintain rigorous cleanliness and reduce clutter to limit potential hiding places.

Chemical Treatments

Insecticides are often used to treat infestations:

  • Aerosols and powders: Applied to infested areas, they kill bedbugs on direct contact.

Non-Chemical Treatments

Non-chemical methods are also effective and often preferred for safety and health reasons:

  • Vacuuming: Vacuum mattresses, furniture and baseboards to eliminate bedbugs and their eggs.
  • High temperature washing: Wash bedding, clothing and fabrics above 60°C to kill bedbugs.
  • Heat treatment: Bedbugs do not survive temperatures above 50°C. Using a specialized heater can eradicate an infestation.
  • Freezing: Place infested items in sealed plastic bags. Place them in the freezer. Set the temperature to -18°C. This method is effective at all stages of insect development. The treatment will last at least 4 days.
  • Steam treatment: Slowly apply steam using a steam device at high temperature (over 100°C) to infested areas. Bedbugs and their eggs will not survive there.
  • Thermal tent: Place a thermal tent around your infested furniture. Set the interior temperature to 50°C. It will take several hours to kill the unwanted people.
  • Dog Detection: Use dogs specially trained to detect bed bugs. They will use their keen sense of smell. Infested areas can be identified quickly and precisely.

Call for Professionals

In cases of severe infestations, it is often necessary to call in professional exterminators. These experts have the knowledge and tools needed to safely and effectively treat bed bug infestations.


Bed bugs are stubborn and invasive pests, but by understanding their habits and taking preventative measures, it is possible to minimize their impact. In the event of an infestation, a combination of chemical and non-chemical control methods, as well as the intervention of professionals, can help eradicate these pests and restore a healthy living environment.