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Who are you sleeping with tonight?

Bed Bug Swat Team

Effective Bed-Bug Control

Bed-bugs, (eg. The common bed-bug Cimex Lectularius), probably received their common name from a close association with human beds where they are often found hiding during the daylight hours. At night, these insects make their way out to feed and are attracted to body heat. Bed-0bugs preferentially feed on human blood but they can also make use of other hosts such as bats, poultry and other birds.

Bed-bugs have been around in Australia probably since the arrival of the first fleet but there has been a recent resurgence of the pest which has come about for a number of possible reasons(including the increased affordability of overseas travel and a change in Professional Pest Management cockroach control practices).

The bed-bug is easily recognized by its shape and appearance. The adults are wingless and about 5-6mm long, and somewhat oval and flat. Coloration is mostly brown, but may be reddish are feeding.

Life History

The eggs are deposited into cracks and crevices or on rough surfaces and secured with transparent adhesive. The average female will produce about 300 eggs in her lifetime, but may produce as many as 500 plus. The nymphs go through 5 instars (moults), and require a blood meal before each moult. In the absence of blood meals, nymphs have been known to survive as long as 2 years. Under ideal conditions, the egg to adult life cycle takes about 21 days. In Australia however, they live for only a few months.

The bite of the bed-bug is normally painless; however, about 80% of the population will develop an allergic type reaction to the bite. The bite is difference from other biting insects in that there is no red spot at the bite points, and there may be general swelling that extends beyond the area of the bite.

Bed-bugs have been found infected with as many as 25 different disease-causing organisms. Although they may carry different diseases, transmission to humans has not been proven completely.

Inspection

There are several good indicators of be-bug infestation; eg. Small spots of bloodstains found on the bedding, live insect sightings or bite evidence on people sleeping in the vicinity. A thorough inspection should be performed to places where they may be found including the mattress and box springs of beds, any crack of crevice in the bed frame, behind wall hangings, night stands, stuffed furniture, under and behind skirtings, behind loose wallpaper, light switches, door and window frames. Keep in mind that they will travel considerable distances to get a blood meal.

Bed bugs may be introduced in several way to a structure:

  • Used furniture from an infested area
  • People can transport the insect

They have been found in public areas such as on trains, aircraft, buses and boats. They have also been found in theatre seats and the associated framework.

Control

In all infestations, particularly those newly established in well kept premises, an attempt should be made to determine the source of the infestation so that proper measures can be taken. They key to control is throrough inspection to establish the extent of the infestation. Adults and nymphs are usually easily seen if present (refer Fig 1 - 5).

Once the location of the infestation has been located then thorough treatment of harbourages should be carried out. Since harbourages are likely to be small the potential for run-off from spray is high; therefore it is advisable to either use a fine spray delivered very quikly into such locations or a dedicated crack and crevice nozzle (ie: to minimise volume). Applying a coarse spray into small harbourages will result in flooding and liquid run-off.

Bed Biting?
Call in the Bed Bug Swat Team!