Bed bugs or Cimex lectularius are small flat parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of humans, but will feed on other warm-blooded animals while they sleep if no other food sources are present. Bed bugs in general are nocturnal, but have been found to feed and be active during the day, usually near where a person may sleep or rest for long periods of time. Bed bug complaints and calls for information have been on the rise since the late 90's with infestations being found in residential homes, apartments and schools, businesses, movie theaters, senior living centres, health care facilities, furniture outlets, public transportation of all kinds, emergency vehicles and fire stations, libraries, churches and wherever people socialize or congregate.
Bed bugs are small, oval, reddish – brown in color, wingless and can live several months without a blood meal. Adult bed bugs are large enough to see with the naked eye, approximately the size of an apple seed. They have oval-shaped bodies, when unfed, and range from 1 mm to 7 mm long. Bed bugs have a short broad head and flat thorax. Despite having no wings, they can crawl quickly over floors, walls and ceilings. Bed bugs cannot jump or fly. Prior to feeding, they are flat; however, after feeding with their piercing sucking type mouthparts, they turn dark red and appear elongated and bloated.
A female is capable of laying hundreds of eggs over her lifetime, depending on temperature and available hosts. The eggs are difficult to see, are pearl white, translucent in color and display obvious eyespots of the nymph inside when 5 days or older. Eggs are usually laid in small clusters in cracks and crevices, eggs are laid using very sticky glue like adhesive to a site and are very hard to remove by hand. Eggs can hatch anywhere from three (3) to ten (10) days or longer depending on environmental conditions. The nymph stage, which looks like a small adult, is the immature stage of the bed bug, and they need to start to feed immediately. They molt 5 times with each stage ranging from 14 to 30 days. The entire life cycle from the first instar / nymph to adult is typically 4 to 9 weeks, dependent of environmental conditions and availability of a host.
Bed bugs are bloodsucking insects that are attracted to their hosts primarily by carbon dioxide, secondarily by warmth, and also by certain chemicals.
When bed bugs feed, they inject their “beak” into the skin and their saliva acts as an anticoagulant to bring up the blood meal, their bites are usually painless and are not usually noticed at the time. Although individual responses vary, the common reaction is for the skin to become red, inflamed and irritated. Often the skin lesions are unnoticed or mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other skin conditions. Rashes range from localized red and itchy spots arranged in a linear fashion to the development of a series of two to three low itchy welts or lumps filled with liquid or blood that may take weeks to go away. They prefer exposed skin, preferably the face, neck and arms of a sleeping individual.
Bed bugs are very resilient to not having a human host always available and research has shown that they can survive 12 to 18 months without feeding, depending on the environmental conditions they are in. Under typical conditions they will try to feed at five to ten day intervals and adults can survive for about five months without food. Younger instars cannot survive nearly as long, though even the vulnerable newly hatched first instars can survive for weeks without taking a blood meal.
Current research on bed bugs has never demonstrated that they are capable of transmitting or vectoring any human diseases.
Bed bugs and eggs are inadvertently on people visiting an infested area (e.g. dwelling, means of transport, entertainment venue, or lodging) and carrying the bugs to another area on their clothing, luggage, or bodies. Bed bugs are increasingly found in air travel.
Bed bugs can also be transported into a dwelling on or in items such as used or discarded box springs, clothing, furniture, purses and luggage. Hotels, apartments, hostels, shelters or any other multi-unit dwelling are at risk.
Most infestations start around beds and spread throughout a room and beyond. Bed bugs are often found in the following areas (this not inclusive of all the possible areas that bed bugs can be present):
Bed bugs can also travel (migrate) from room to room or apartment to
apartment by moving along electrical wiring, pipes and other conduits if there is no food source present.
Adult bed bugs can survive without a blood meal for approximately 12 - 18 months dependent on environmental conditions so if a room or home is vacated, it does not mean that the bed bug problem has been resolved due to their migration or by entering a hibernation like state until a host returns.
Bed bugs are elusive and usually nocturnal which can make their detection difficult. They often lodge in dark crevices, and the tiny adhesive eggs can be nestled by the hundreds in fabric seams. Aside from bite symptoms, signs include fecal spots (small dark sand-like droppings that occur in patches around and especially beneath nests), blood smears on sheets (fecal spots that are re-wetted will smear like fresh blood), and the presence of their empty molted exoskeletons.
Although bed bugs can be found singly, they tend to congregate once established. Although they are strictly parasitic, they spend only a tiny fraction of their life cycles physically attached to their hosts. Once feeding is complete, a bed bug will relocate to a place close to a known host, commonly in or near beds or couches in clusters of adults, juveniles, and eggs which entomologists call harborage areas or simply harborages to which the insect will return after future feedings by following chemical trails. These places can vary greatly in format, including luggage, inside of vehicles, within furniture, amongst bedside clutter, even inside electrical sockets and nearby laptop computers.
The use of scent detection dogs is an effective way of determining the presence of bed bugs in your home or business.
Bed bugs can be incredibly small and hide in a variety of places such as under carpets, behind baseboards, behind walls, within mattresses and box springs, as well as head boards and many other hard to access areas making it extremely difficult for human visual inspection to be effective.
A properly trained bed bug scent detection dog can effectively locate and identify a very small number of bed bugs of any life stage including viable eggs with a high degree of accuracy.
All bed bug treatments begin with A1 Pest Solutions Inc performing an inspection to customize the most effective and efficient pest control solution to eradicate your bed bug infestation.
Be aware not all “heat” treatments are thermal heat treatments. Thermal heat treatment is the gold standard of bed bug eradication. Thermal heat treatment involves A1 Pest Solutions Inc bringing in specially designed equipment to raise the temperature in your home to lethal bed bug temperatures killing all stages of bed bug life cycle including eggs, usually in only one treatment. Our specialized heaters will raise the temperature of all surfaces and items within the treatment area in a safe and controlled fashion to temperatures greater than 120°F (49°C) for a minimum of 2 hours all while being continuously monitored. During thermal heat treatment, the ambient air in the treatment area will generally reach temperatures of between 130°F (54.5°C) and 140°F (60.0) °C. This treatment will not only treat the structure but all items within such as furniture, electronics etc. saving you time and money having to replace your belongings.
Treatment times to perform thermal heat treatments will vary depending on the property being treated, most thermal heat treatments will usually be completed between 24 - 48 hours
Prior to the treatment, you will be provided preparation instructions to prepare your home for thermal heat treatment as well as instructions for when returning home.
During thermal heat treatment pets and any heat sensitive items that may melt or be damaged should be removed from the area being treated. Make sure you discuss this with your A1 Pest Solutions Inc representative as anything not treated with heat will need to be treated in another way or thoroughly inspected prior to being returned into the dwelling.
All A1 Pest Solutions Inc thermal heat treatments includes a residual pesticide perimeter application throughout the home or treatment area, unless otherwise requested by customer.
Here at A1 Pest Solutions Inc we now offer a natural, biopesticide called Aprehend. Aprehend is composed of Beauveria bassiana fungal spores applied in a proprietary and patented formulation to control bed bugs.
The treatment works by spraying Aprehend strategically in narrow strips, creating a barrier around areas where bed bugs are known to walk. When a bed bug walks across the Aprehend barrier, it picks up the fungal spores and carries them with it back to its nest or harbourage area. The spores are very easily transferred to other bed bugs. Within 20 hours of contact, the spores begin to germinate, penetrating the bed bug’s exoskeleton, allowing the spores to colonize inside the bed bug resulting in death. Bed bugs of all life stages and sex are killed within 4 - 10 days of contact with Aprehend. Due to its long-term activity, the Aprehend residue can provide up to 3 months of protection.
If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your home, the best starting point is to have a bed bug inspection completed.
The effectiveness of pesticide treatments for bed bugs vary greatly depending on the scale of the infestation, the preparation for treatment performed by the customer and whether or not there is pesticide resistance in the bed bug infestation.
Residual pesticide treatments involve a minimum of 2 - 3 applications from A1 Pest Solutions Inc, as it is unlikely the eggs will be killed during the initial treatment due to their resistance to pesticides as well the difficulties applying pesticides where they are laid.
Before any treatment the A1 Pest Solutions Inc technician will provide you with detailed preparation instructions for how to prepare your home for treatment. It is very important to follow these directions closely, as properly preparing the home is an extremely important step in any treatment process. Improper preparation is one of the main reasons that pesticide treatment for bed bugs fail.
We strongly discourage use of over the counter products for self treatment of bed bugs infestations, which may make your bed bug infestation more difficult to eradicate.
At A1 Pest Solutions Inc we understand how upsetting and mentally exhausting bed bugs can be.
Let our friendly, knowledgeable, fully licensed and insured staff find your pest management solution and eliminate your bed bug infestation today.
We offer several bed bug treatment options to fit your budget.
Please call or e-mail to find out which treatment option will work best for you.