One of the major menaces of any home with the right, or rather wrong, conditions is the problems of bed bugs. These little mites of misery can make life a living hell for anyone coming in contact. They are literally bloodsuckers that have a lifespan of four to six months in the right conditions. Female bedbugs lay over 500 eggs in its lifetime and these hatch two weeks from when they are laid. Young bugs or, as they are called, nymphs move through five molts before attaining maturity. Every molting stage is completed with a blood meal, which means ingesting blood to gain the requisite energy. They become adults in five weeks.
Detecting the vermin
One of the major problems in case of removing infestation of bed bugs is to detect them in the first place. For one, they are nocturnal and are mostly inactive during the day. They live in darkest of crevices and cracks of the beds or seams of bedding. They hide their eggs in plain sight within the fold of fabric sticking everything together. In most cases, bed bugs exist alone although they do congregate when newly established. In addition to that, these pests like to relocate to a location close to the known hosts after feeding. Most professionals know what to look for and concentrate on that to find them.
Signs to look for
Some of the signs of bed bug infestation that professional pest control services look for are:
- Living or dead carcasses of bed bugs in and around the furniture of the home.
- Look for skins cast off during the molting processes of the bed bugs.
- Fecal material in the furniture and mattresses in reddish black.
- Eggs of cream colored variety found hidden in dark crevices and corners of the bedding.
- The infested areas smell like rotting raspberries
- Using dogs and gas chromatography to detect bed bugs
Chemical pesticides used
Eradicating the existence of bed bugs requires a combined effort involving non-pesticides and pesticides. Some infestations can be removed when vacuumed and heat treated. Some professionals like to use the combination of heat and drying treatments to remove all vestiges of the bugs. Since they survive to over 100 – 300 days without food, starving them is futile. There are some pesticides that are marginally effective in such cases like pyrethoids, malathion and dichlorvos. One drug that has a high success rate is propoxur, which is quite harmful to children, owing to its lack of popularity. Most government agencies suggest the use of professional services in lieu of DIY projects.
Effective non-chemical methods
There are different ways to remove these bugs but mostly two main methods are followed. As already mentioned above, the techniques are mostly chemical and non chemical. When it comes to non technical methods:
- Inspect all the areas suspected to have a colony. Remove the mattresses or cushions if required.
- If the areas have already had a treatment, they will require more to counter the infestation.
- Vacuum the area carefully and thoroughly to remove all vestiges of the bugs from the area. Never forget to place the remnants collected in a plastic bag and dispose it.
- Any washable clothing suspected or confirmed to have an infestation should get a wash in hot water of at least 60°C and then dried and ironed.
- Pest control agencies are the best bet to clean mattresses. Most of these companies have the right technology and mechanics that help to clean the different problems that may emerge from this one problem.
Eliminate the cracks and fissures that house these bugs and keep all the surrounding areas clean. Clean the mattresses and furnishings, to prevent future infestations.