Most people of this generation have never seen a bed bug. Until recently, they also were a rarity among pest control professionals. Bed bug infestations were common in the United States before World War II. But with improvements in hygiene, and especially the widespread use of DDT during the 1940s and ’50s, the bugs all but vanished.
In recent years, however, bed bugs have made a comeback in the U.S. They are increasingly being encountered in homes, apartments, hotels, motels, dormitories, shelters and modes of transport. International travel has undoubtedly contributed to the resurgence of bed bugs in this country. Changes in modern pest control practice – and less effective bed bug pesticides – are other factors suspected for the recurrence.
Adult bed bugs are about 1/4 inch long and reddish brown, with oval, flattened bodies. The immatures (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and somewhat lighter in color. Bed bugs do not fly, but can move quickly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Female bed bugs lay their eggs in secluded areas, depositing up to five a day and 500 during a lifetime. The eggs are tiny, whitish, and hard to see without magnification.
Infestations can be detected by the examination of possible hiding places for the presence of live bugs, cast-off nymphal skins, eggs and excreta. The excreta may also be visible as small dark brown or black marks on bed sheets, walls and wallpaper. Houses with large numbers of bedbugs may have a characteristic unpleasant smell. Live bugs can be detected by spraying an aerosol of pyrethrum into cracks and crevices, thus irritating them and driving them out of their hiding places.
Bed bugs are challenging pests to control
They hide in many tiny places, so inspections and treatments must be thorough. The professionals at Eco-Safe® know where to look for bed bugs, and have an assortment of management tools at their disposal.
Affording access for inspection and treatment is essential, and excess clutter should be removed. In some cases, infested mattresses and box springs will need to be discarded. Since bed bugs can disperse throughout a building, it also may be necessary to inspect adjoining rooms and apartments.