At the dawn of time, the prehistoric Cimex lectularius lived in the nests of birds and guano-covered roosts of bats, quietly doing what nest parasites do: feeding on other animals. Today, this insect still enjoys these same habits—but it prefers human nests to animal ones.
Bed bugs, once happy in animal roosts, have developed a taste for human blood. And they live in your bed or sofa and rely on you as their food source. Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about bed bugs, so you can keep your home free of this pest.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are a small, wingless parasite. As previously mentioned, they survive by feeding off of warm-blooded animals, like humans. They also leave a small, red, itchy mark when they bite.
If you disturb them, bed bugs scuttle for dark cracks (like the lining of your mattress, for example). They’re small: hatchlings are about the size of a poppy seed, and adults don’t grow to be much larger than a grain of rice. Although they can look white in appearance, most bed bugs are brownish in colour. If you look closely, they’re visible to the human eye.
When bed bugs bite, they insert two hollow tubes into the skin. One tube injects the host with an anesthetic and an anticoagulant. This step prevents the host from feeling the bite and makes the blood easy to suck through the second tube.
How Does the Growing Bed Bug Epidemic Affect Me?
The last thing anyone wants is a pesky, blood-sucking pest in their mattress. Bed bugs are a nasty problem, and unfortunately, they’re spreading very quickly.
Take New York City, which in 2004 reported only 82 confirmed infestations throughout the city of 8.4 million. In 2010, the number had climbed to 4,084. And the number of reports continues to grow.
Unfortunately, bed bugs used to be a problem mainly in large cities, but with an increasingly mobile population, bed bugs can be found just about anywhere, including Calgary.
How Do I Know If I Have Bed Bugs?
Check your skin for red, itchy bites. Bed bugs usually bite in straight lines, something other parasites are less likely to do. If you contract these bites while you sleep (meaning you go to bed without the bites, and wake up with them), you may have bed bugs.
Scan your bed and sofa for bed bugs. Carefully examine the creases in your mattress, places beneath fitted sheets, and other dark spaces. Bed bugs are fast and they hide, so even a close inspection may not reveal the parasites.
How Do I Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
If you suspect that you have bed bugs in the Calgary area, contact a pest control specialist such as Best Control Pest Control immediately. These professionals eliminate parasites from your home, so you can sleep or sit without fear of irritating bites and bugs. You can also ask your pest control specialist how to prevent bed bugs in the future.
Link to larger image of the CDC 3000