Order: Hemiptera, the Bed Bug
At one time this was considered a pest of slums and poor properties, but now much reduced by higher standards of hygiene. Still common, however, in apartment buildings, hotels and motels, with a rapid turnover of residents. Always closely associated with man, who without us would not virtually exist as we are its only host, it has been known to use bats and also cats. Regarded by most with abhorrence, this bug is not a carrier of disease.
Males, females and nymphs are all obligate blood suckers. Most of their time is spent hiding in cracks and crevices in close proximity to their sleeping host. Bedbugs feed at night and are not evident during the day, preferring to hide in the cracks and crevices of walls, mattresses, head boards and furniture. The adult female must have a blood meal before egg laying. Eggs are cemented to surfaces close to the host in batches of 10 or more. Nymphs must have at least one feed between moults, typically nymphs undergo 5 moults. In her lifetime a female may lay 300 to 500 eggs. Her life span can be as short as 45 days up to 12 months depending on conditions, they can survive several months without a blood meal
In heavy infestations the stink glands produce an objectionable smell. When Bedbugs bite there host, saliva with anticoagulant properties are injected. Bedbugs have a tendency to test bite which often results in a line of bites.
An essential first step in the treatment of Bedbugs is to determine the extent of infestation. Quite often treatment is required to adjoining rooms, rooms opposite and in cases of multi-level buildings rooms above and below are treated. Where possible rooms should be thoroughly cleaned prior to treatment. Careful treatment to cracks and crevices is required, broadly the methods of application involved may be surface spraying, crack and crevice with aerosols, space spraying and where appropriate dusting.