Bed Bugs

History of the Bed Bug

Bed bugs, bed-bugs, or bedbugs are parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood. Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug, is the best known, as it prefers to feed on human blood. Other Cimex species specialize in other animals, e.g., bat bugs, such as Cimex pipistrelli (Europe), Cimex pilosellus (western US), and Cimex adjunctus (entire eastern US).
The name “bed bug” derives from the preferred habitat of Cimex lectularius: warm houses and especially near or inside beds and bedding or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night, but are not exclusively nocturnal. They usually feed on their hosts without being noticed.

A number of adverse health effects may result from bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms.They are not known to transmit any pathogens as disease vectors. Certain signs and symptoms suggest the presence of bed bugs; finding the insects confirms the diagnosis.

Bed bugs have been known as human parasites for thousands of years. At a point in the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have increased in prevalence since 1995, likely due to pesticide resistance. Because infestation of human habitats has been on the increase, bed bug bites and related conditions have been on the rise as well.

Detection

Once a bed bug finishes feeding, it relocates to a place close to a known host, commonly in or near beds or couches in clusters of adults, juveniles, and eggs—which entomologists call harborage areas or simply harborages to which the insect returns after future feedings by following chemical trails. These places can vary greatly in format, including luggage, inside of vehicles, within furniture, amongst bedside clutter—even inside electrical sockets and nearby laptop computers. Bed bugs may also nest near animals that have nested within a dwelling, such as bats, birds, or rodents. They are also capable of surviving on domestic cats and dogs, though humans are the preferred host of C. lectularius.

Once a bed bug finishes feeding, it relocates to a place close to a known host, commonly in or near beds or couches in clusters of adults, juveniles, and eggs—which entomologists call harborage areas or simply harborages to which the insect returns after future feedings by following chemical trails. These places can vary greatly in format, including luggage, inside of vehicles, within furniture, amongst bedside clutter—even inside electrical sockets and nearby laptop computers. Bed bugs may also nest near animals that have nested within a dwelling, such as bats, birds, or rodents. They are also capable of surviving on domestic cats and dogs, though humans are the preferred host of C. lectularius.

Humans are being significantly impacted by bed bugs, which started to re-emerge in the 1990s as important household pests in developed countries throughout the world. They are small blood-sucking insects that impact public health and well-being of all classes in a negative aspect. Bed bugs are transported, and they have become a major problem over a relatively short period of time in a wide variety of residential and commercial settings. If untreated or improperly treated such as by the home owner the bed bug populations rapidly increase and infestations will quickly spread to impact others. In multi-family living dwelling, they can impact surrounding neighbors by traveling through the walls and ductwork as well as electrical outlets.

Compared to other insects, bed bugs are more difficult and very expensive to control. Bed bugs will need a wide variety of treatments and necessitate multiple integrated pest management (IPM) strategies that will require professional pest management services. However, in part due to the high cost of professional bed bug control, the public has increasingly turned to over-the-counter (OTC) chemical products as a low cost alternative for bed bugs. These methods applied by non-professionals could create a wider spread of the Bed bug population. Public expectations of these products can range from total eradication to simple decontamination, yet the vast majority of OTC chemical products are contact toxicants that have negligible impacts on bed bug infestations.

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