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We thought that we were done with bed bugs long ago, so done that most people today don’t even know what a bed bug looks like. But little did we know those atypical “bed pets” are making an unwelcome comeback, even reaching “epidemic proportions”.
Bed bugs have progressively been on the rise in North America, Europe and Australia, and even in Africa. They are silently lurking our homes, apartment complexes, office buildings, departmental stores, motels, shelters, college dorm rooms, public transportation, and even our movie theaters. At this rate, the need and demand for home extermination has tremendously increased.
Although spraying the entire house up and down is definitely required to get rid of those unwanted parasites, first we need to know “what” we are fighting: what do bed bugs look like? Where do they come from? How do they reproduce and how do they survive?
Answering these questions would give us a head start in dealing with bed bugs, and making sure that they don’t ever bother us again.
What does a bed bug look like?
They are small, brownish, flattened insects that feed on human blood. They also bite other warm blooded animals like dogs, cats, birds and big rodents. Although they are not nocturnal in nature, they are usually active at night, simply because this allows them to feed on their hosts unnoticed.
There are two types of bed bugs: adult and immature bed bugs. Adult bed bugs are quite small, and some people describe them as having the size of an apple seed. Their body is ovoid in shape, and their color ranges from rusty to red. As for the immature bed bugs, they are similar to adult bed bugs, except that they have a lighter color. However, they are big enough to be seen easily and their flattened bodies enable them to fit into tiny crevices. They are often mistaken for ticks, cockroaches, carpet beetles or other household insects.
How do they survive?
Bed bugs are among the smartest bugs on this planet! (As a matter of fact, almost all bugs are smart, that’s why it is so difficult to catch them and get rid of them). They are very tenacious and extremely resilient. They are known to dodge exterminators by hiding in tiny cracks where the pesticides and other treatments can hardly reach them. Bed bugs don’t bother much about the weather, as they can survive in various temperatures. Some could live and survive for a week in -10*C, while others can equally do well even areas as hot as 40*C! The nymphs (immature bed bugs) and adult bed bugs can survive for months, without feeding; which is very unusual for most insects. They can actually survive without a blood meal for up to a year or longer at a temperature of 55*F or less. In a temperature controlled building, they can live for two to six months.