Bed Bug Information Part 3
Written by Paul J. Bello, author of The Bed Bug Combat Manual
This list of practical and useful things to know about bed bugs was written specifically with the many bed bug victims, hospitality professionals, property management professionals and pest management professionals in mind. Please note that these bits of information were gleaned from years of first hand field experience in dealing with bed bugs and working with industry colleagues across the country. They are presented to you the reader in an effort to assist you with your current bed bug concerns.
51. Researchers have found that females may migrate away from bed bug harborages as a reaction to or as an avoidance behavior associated with traumatic insemination.
52. Depending upon your perspective, generally speaking bed bugs are a "people problem". They are not a œbuilding problem. However, if you're the neighbor of someone who brought bed bugs into your building, your perspective is likely different.
53. What do bed bug bites look like? People may react to bed bugs bites differently and the bites may appear differently on different people. Generally speaking, bed bug bites appear as raised reddened bumps on the skin that are usually itchy. There are photos of bed bug bites available for view online.
54. Can I feel the bed bugs bite me? It's doubtful that you will. Bed bugs make their living by being "stealthy". That is, they need to sneak in, find a suitable place to bite, stick in their piercing mouthparts, suck your blood and sneak away. If you could feel them do this, you'd wake up and simply squish the bed bug. Like mosquitoes, bed bugs inject an anti-coagulant and an anesthetic so you won't feel the bite and the blood flows.
55. It is possible to feel a bed bug crawl on you if it inadvertently contacts hair, such as those hairs on the back of your hand or arm as it crawls.
56. While bed bugs are commonly active at night, they will feed in the daytime if their host happens to be a night shift type worker or a person who maintains such hours. At the end of the day, these are tiny animals and their behavior can vary as individuals or local circumstances dictate.
57. Some people may be bitten over extended periods of time without knowing that they are being bitten. In extreme cases we've seen people experiencing bed bug bites for over a year without them or their medical doctors being able to identify that they in fact have bed bugs.
58. My husband isn't being bitten and thinks that "it's all in my head" and that there are no bed bugs. Is this so, am I crazy? From time to time the lady of the house asks this question and at one home the husband was particularly tough on his wife regarding her suspicion of bed bugs in their home. After inspecting his recliner I advised her to ask him why we were able to find six œwell fed bed bugs in his Lazy Boy and who's blood was in them. Your husband may be being bitten but may be one of those people who just doesn't react noticeably nor suffers any itchiness from bed bug bites. Again, your mileage may vary.
59. Won't my doctor be able to tell if I have bed bug bites? Your medical doctors or dermatologist may not know about bed bugs. Medical doctors may not have training in medical entomology and, even at best, insect bites can be difficult to detect or diagnose accurately. We once had a woman who was an intensive care nurse who had experienced bed bugs for nearly two years before she discovered that she, in fact, had a bed bug problem. This woman had been to her general practitioner and was later referred to a dermatologist. She had received prescriptions and treatments for dry skin, psoriasis, seborrhea dermatitis, scabies and other skin related maladies over the course of those many months when her actual problem was bed bugs.
60. How bad can bed bugs get in a hotel, home or apartment? The worst I've seen is an apartment with a sole occupant who was a retired man in his seventies. The apartment was sparsely furnished with just a bed, table with four chairs, and an upholstered chair in front of a television set on a plastic milk crate. There had to be over ten thousand bed bugs in this apartment. I visited this apartment the day after one of my clients performed a bed bug treatment there for the follow up inspection. Dead bed bugs were mounded like drifted snow in the tracks of the sliding glass door leading to the terrace. Mounds of dead bed bugs were in every corner of every room, along all the floor wall junctions and the walls were covered with fecal stains. The last few surviving bed bugs were found along the crown moldings. While the application work was very successful, there were still live bed bugs present and follow up treatments were scheduled. Within about 48 hours this person was moved out, the apartment was rendered bed bug free and totally renovated. Interestingly enough, when I asked this man if he had been bitten by bed bugs he replied that he wasn't and that he had never been bitten in the six months that he had lived in this apartment. It was clear that this person was suffering from mental health related conditions as well as severe bed bug problems. In a hotel I've been to locations where up to about 75% of the rooms were infested.
61. Bed bugs are tough adversaries. Just like a very good team exposes the weaknesses of their opponents, bed bugs will expose the weaknesses in a poorly designed or poorly implemented bed bug program.
62. Where can I find reliable information about bed bugs? There is a lot of good information available online. Generally, I recommend that folks review the information found on unbiased web sites including university based web sites, medical school websites and others. You can do a search on bed bugs and find many references to learn more about bed bugs. The more you know, the better able you are to make good decisions.
63. Bed bugs crawl at about the same speed as argentine ants or odorous house ants ( about 1/8th inch ants commonly found trailing into homes & buildings in many areas of the US ) . As mentioned previously, we found an adult bed bug is capable of traveling at from three to four feet per minute when crawling across common poster board.
64. After feeding, when fully engorged bed bug nymphs can grow as much as about six times their body weight.
65. Bed bug adults may grow about two to two and a half times their size after feeding.
66. Bed bugs excrete digested blood as a fecal liquid that produces stains on various surfaces where the excretion takes place.
67. Just as it's useful to know how many fecal pellets rodents produce, it would be good to know how many fecal stains bed bugs produce œon average when assessing a bed bug situation.
68. Recently we found that an isolated and fully engorged second instar bed bug nymph produced just twenty fecal stains over a sixty day time period.
69. Recently we found that an isolated and fully engorged third instar bed bug nymph produced just twenty six fecal stains over a sixty day time period.
70. Recently we found that an isolated and fully engorged adult bed bug produced just six fecal stains over a two week time period.
71. While the information presented in items #64, 65 & 66 are interesting, we understand that a larger population sample size and more work is needed to arrive at a more accurate average number of fecal stains produced over time by bed bugs.
72. Based on current results on average it appears that well bed bugs are producing about one fecal stain per day.
73. Bed bug fecal stains on walls and other such surfaces will œrun when sprayed with water or spray cleaners.
74. There are many bed bug videos that can be seen online if you do a proper search.
75. There are many excellent bed bug photos available online if you do a proper search.