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Bed Bugs

The Bedbug is a very small, parasitic insect that feeds on human blood, occasionally causing skin infections and scars. Bedbugs are a highly evolved, persistent pest that has the ability to live in close proximity to humans. They are active after dark, emerging to feed on the warm bodies of sleeping humans. They are able to consume up to five times their own body weight, changing from very thin and pale in colour, to dark and bloated with blood.

They are an extremely resilient species, occasionally going many months in between feeding and taking up residence at inaccessible places making it very difficult to identify a problem. They are able to reproduce almost exponentially with a female laying up to 500 invisible eggs in her lifetime. Eggs hatch within a 16-day period and up to 4 generations can be produced every year making a stronghold infestation.

Although relatively uncommon, Bedbug infestations occur more frequently in dwellings with high turnover of inhabitants such as hotels, motels, hostels, dormitories, and prisons. It is thought that most single-family infestations are transported into the house through luggage, clothing, or furniture brought in from other sources (or indeed from traveling).

There are only a few telltale signs of an infestation – most Bedbugs spend their days hiding in dark crevices, often within the bed itself. There may be an infestation present if you find clusters of dark droppings, or exoskeletons (shed skins). Bites are not often a good indication of infestation until the problem is bad enough to create repeated bites over a prolonged period. Even so, in up to 50% of cases, there is no visible sign of bites. The bites are typically red, swollen welts, and are often mistaken for mosquito bites. Bedbug bites tend to last longer than mosquito bites, and do not have a red dot in the center (characteristic of a flea bite). However, similar to Fleas, Bedbug bites are sometimes sequential, in rows of two or three. They are not normally considered disease carriers but their bites can cause severe irritation, particularly in children.

As with most pests of this type, prevention is incredibly important to reduce the risk of infestation. Make sure to carefully inspect all suitcases, furniture, or second-hand items to ensure you are bringing an infestation into your home. If a problem is discovered, there are several varieties of insecticide spray, and dust killers that can be effective in treating the infestation. Fumigation and fogging is also sometimes necessary to eradicate the pest. If you must fumigate, it is imperative to take proper precautions for your own health and the health of people and animals surrounding your property. It may be necessary to inform your local council if you intend to fumigate. The key to beating the problem is identifying it quickly and dealing with it immediately.

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