Bed bugs have exploded in recent years due in part to increased international travel and lack of proper treatments and preparation for such treatments. Bed bugs are found throughout the world, most commonly in densely populated areas and human habitats. Bed bugs are parasitic insects feeding on the blood of humans and other animals and are primarily nocturnal. The presence of bed bugs can be detected in many ways such as blood spots on sheets and mattresses, bites on the body of humans (often clustered), feces and cast skins.
An adult bed bug is reddish-brown in color with a flat oval shaped body growing to almost 1/4 inch in size. Bed bugs expand in size as they consume blood, turning a reddish color with visible signs of blood within their bodies. Bed bugs do not fly but can move rapidly within wall voids and across floors, ceilings, furniture and bedding. Their small flat bodies and ability to live for one year on a single feeding add to the complexities of proper elimination.
A fully developed female bed bug is capable of producing hundreds of eggs over their lifetime. Once hatched, nymphs develop by molting their skin several times before full maturity. Bed bug nymphs must have a blood meal between molts in order to survive, reaching adulthood in as little as one month.
As with all well designed pest management programs, proper identification and a thorough inspection are necessary to develop the appropriate course of action. Prior to treatment, infested properties may require a fair amount of preparation. Due to the resilience, physical characteristics and hitch hiking nature of the common bed bug, extensive treatment methods are required for proper results. Vacuums, over the counter products and home remedies will not control or eliminate a bed bug infestation.