In my travel adventures, I have managed to miss out on the joy of meeting bedbugs (Cimex lectularius). There is signficant fear from many about these critters.
Bedbugs are tiny small wingless insects that feed by exclusively on the blood of warm blooded animals. Humans, are therefore, ideal hosts for them.
Bed bugs feed every five to ten days. The peak feeding time for a bed bug is about one hour before sunrise. They pierce the skin of the host with two microscopic hollow tubes. One tube injects saliva which contains anaesthetics and anticoagulants, so that the blood flows out freely without the host feeling anything. The other tube is used to suck blood in. Bites are not noticeable for some time afterwards . It is possible not to feel the bite for even a week or so.
A well fed bed bug has a lifespan of about six to nine months.
They are more of a nuisance than a real health hazard. There is no evidence you can get a disease from bed bugs but they can destroy sleep for many.
To avoid meeting them:
- Check the Bed Bug Registry for Canadian and US bedbug sightings or registry at bedbugs.net for global info
- Peel back the bedding and check the seams of the mattress for traces of bedbugs — either bloodstains, bugs themselves or tiny pale poppy seed like eggs http://youtu.be/yGYbkjKnoag
- Don’t out your suitcase on any bed. Bags can get infested by bugs hitching a ride from infected bedspreads. Place bags on un-upholstered piece of furniture.
- Keep your clothes in your case or hang them up instead of placing them in drawers
Getting rid of them
If you think you have been exposed to bedbugs, when you come back from a trip, launder any bedding and garments at 50 C (120 F) minimum and then dry them on a high heat. Avoid sending them to the laundrette or dry cleaner because you can be sharing the problem.
Vacuum up any eggs you see and place them in a sealed bag straight into your trash.
You will need a professional pest controller for the rest. Regular pest sprays won’t work.