Bed bugs are quite unique insects. The bed bug is well distinguished by the absence of wings from other relatives of the order of hemiptera, and from other insects settling in human habitation by its parasitic way of life.
If cockroaches, ants and moths harm a person by spoiling food stocks and clothing, bed bugs impinge directly on the most expensive and sensitive - the human body. That is why the activity of these parasites is very clearly felt by the inhabitants of apartments, houses and cottages almost immediately after the insects penetrate the room - bed bugs leave obvious, numerous and unpleasant sensations of bites on the skin. And these bites make bedbugs the most unpleasant companions of man.
Bedbugs and their bites: are they dangerous?
If we ignore the discomfort from bedbug bites, we can talk about the epidemiological harmlessness of these insects as a whole: today there has not been a single case where a bedbug would infect a person with a bacterial or viral infection.
Despite the fact that bed bugs - especially in natural populations - are carriers of pathogens of many diseases, not one of these viruses and microorganisms is transmitted by a bite.
It is interesting:
In the course of special studies, scientists found several dozen pathogens of various diseases dangerous to humans in the body of bed bugs. Including typhoid, brucellosis, anthrax, leishmaniasis, plague, tularemia, Qu fever and others.
However, to the surprise of the scientists themselves, these pathogens were found only in the excrement of bedbugs and in their internal organs. And none of them was transmitted with a bite. Evolutionarily, this is very beneficial for parasites: the less at risk the host is, the more chances of bedbugs retain the main source of food.
However, a bedbug bite can be fraught with certain troubles.
- Allergic reaction to the bite. According to statistics, 80% of people are allergic to bedbug bites in certain manifestations. Such manifestations can be the appearance of papules, extensive redness, itching and pain, extremely rarely - even anaphylactic shock.
- Inflammation, damage to the skin, pustules that occur when combing the bite sites. Through such microscratches, pathogens enter the human body more easily.
- Iron deficiency anemia in children. This is a very rare consequence of bedbug bites. Occurs with a very large number of simultaneously biting parasites, when the amount of blood they suck is significant, and the action of their saliva leads to some changes in the composition of the blood.
According to statistics, 70% of victims of bed bugs do not feel their bites. It is because of this that parasites actively seize cities: in many apartments, people do not even suspect that insects suck blood at night.
The bites of bed bugs themselves look quite characteristic: they are arranged along a line of four to five red dots. Of all the bloodsucking insects, bugs are the only ones that suck blood sequentially from several wounds to saturate.
But not only on this basis, bugs can be calculated: their appearance is also quite specific.
What does a bed bug look like and how does it differ from other insects in an apartment
The bed bug has a flat, wide body. Being hungry, he generally becomes almost round when viewed from above. At the same time, due to the absence of wings on his body, the waist is always clearly visible at the joints of the segments of the abdomen.
Adult bed bugs have a uniform brown color. If a particular insect is hungry, it can be light, almost red. After saturation with blood, the bed bug darkens, sometimes almost to black color.
In addition, the body of a full bed bug is extended and increased in thickness due to the filling of the stomach with blood. Such a bug becomes like a wingless cockroach larva. The body size of the bed bug varies from 4 to 8 mm, and there is practically no difference in size between males and females.
The flat shape of the bedbug's body well protects it from being crushed by the person turning over on the bed. However, after drinking of blood, the bug becomes more vulnerable. It was the crushed well-fed bugs that left on the bed ugly brown spots, which are often the first sign that the parasites were bred in the room.
To the note: regardless of the age, the bed bug during one feeding consumes a mass of blood twice the weight of its body. It is not surprising that the larvae of bedbugs grow at an incredible rate, and adult females can lay rather large eggs almost every day.
Bed bugs larvae resemble adult insects, but have smaller sizes and lighter coloring. The larvae of the earliest ages, being hungry, are generally transparent, and after they are saturated, they easily see a drop of blood in the stomach.
Bedbug eggs resemble much reduced rice seeds. They have the same white color, elongated shape and a length of no more than a millimeter.
Bedbugs are easy to distinguish from other domestic insects:
- Difference from cockroaches. Cockroaches on the back of the abdomen have two characteristic appendages, similar to short antennae. Bedbugs do not have such outgrowths. In addition, adult cockroaches are larger than bugs and have wings and a more elongated abdomen.
- Difference from ticks. Externally, bugs are more or less similar to ticks. Here, for the difference, it is enough to count the legs of the parasite. In bugs, as in all insects, there are 6 of them, in ticks, as representatives of the arachnid order, 8.
- Unlike ants - the shape of the body of ants is very well known: these insects are slim and have a constriction in the "waist" area. In bugs, even the larvae are wide and do not have such a waist.
With fleas and lice bugs is almost impossible to confuse because of their size: if the first is very difficult to see with the naked eye, bed bugs are clearly visible insects.
But here they lead a way of life in such a way that they can get as little as possible to their victims.
Bed bugs lifestyle: where they settle in and when they are active
Bed bugs - especially night insects. To force them to move during the day can only the destruction of the place of their accumulation or the action of any strong drug.
Bedbugs are most active during the early morning hours, from 3 to 6 am. It is at this time accounts for the largest number of their bites. Due to its mobility and rather high speed of running, the bugs can get to the bed from every corner of the apartment in a matter of minutes, spend 20-25 minutes on self-feeding and quickly get out to the shelter.
In those places where the bugs wait for the day, the females lay eggs.
Over time, large clusters of parasites form in the most convenient places for insects, which are also called nests, although there is no structure or system in such settlements.
Bed bugs eat once in 5-10 days. In the days when a well-fed insect digests food, it is in the shelter and does not catch the eye. That is why in places of clusters you can find significantly more individuals than on a bed or even in a room at night.
Bedbug is very prolific. Each female lays more than 300 eggs in her life, about 4-5 each day.
Bedbug larvae hatch from eggs for 5-6 days and in 4-5 weeks turn into adult parasites.
During this time, they molt several times, and the chitinous shells remaining after the molt can serve as a good sign of the presence of bed bugs in the house.
Methods of dealing with bed bugs
Since the bedbug accompanied man throughout the entire history of the development of civilization, many methods of struggle were developed against these parasites, from conspiracies to powerful chemical insecticides.
Bed bugs have several features of biology that determine the specifics of dealing with them:
- bedbugs are sensitive to the air temperature in the room. Normally, they feel in the temperature range from +10 to + 30 ° C. At a temperature of more than 50 ° C, the bugs and their eggs die instantly, at a temperature below + 5 ° C, insects fall into a state resembling anabiosis.
When the temperature in the room decreases to 10-15 ° С, the period of development of bed bug bugs to adult individuals stretches to three months. But at the same time, the total life span of each individual also increases. But the eggs of bedbugs at this temperature cease to develop at all.
- Bed bugs quickly develop resistance to various chemical insecticides. That is why the manufacturers of chemical means of fighting bedbugs are forced to constantly improve their products: every few months a population of bedbugs appears in a particular place in the world, resistant to the next drug.
- Bed bugs quickly migrate and spread between rooms. Therefore, the disposal of one apartment in an infected house does not guarantee that in a month or two the parasites will not get into it from their neighbors.
Considering these features of bed bugs, today the following methods of dealing with them are most often used:
- destruction of bed bugs by chemical insecticides. This method is considered the most effective when using modern proven drugs. Most of these drugs are harmless to humans and domestic animals, and their proper use can allow you to get rid of bed bugs in one day.
- The fight against bedbugs by temperature methods is very effective, but also technically quite complex. For reliable disposal of the room from bedbugs, powerful industrial hair dryers or heat generators are used, or the room is frozen out at low air temperature outside.
- Physical methods of struggle, consisting in the use of a vacuum cleaner or sneaker. They do not give much effect.
Today, the possibilities of biological control of bed bugs are also being studied. Superparasites are known that lay their eggs in the bodies of bed bug larvae. In the future, the larvae of such an insect or destroy the bug nymph, or an adult insect.
Moreover, a mold fungus has recently been discovered, affecting the settlements of bedbugs and leading to their death. However, the practical application of such methods of struggle is only being developed.
The fight against bed bugs can be done independently, and you can call for this special sanitary services.
Independent struggle will be cheaper, but it will require serious work and, possibly, more time.
The call of the disinsection services is most justified when a large number of neighboring apartments in the house are infected with bugs, and the treatment must be carried out quickly and simultaneously in all rooms.
Remedies for bedbugs
Disposing bedbugs includes a large number of methods. For example, in addition to insecticides and heat treatment here it is possible to apply some popular recipes.
So, vinegar, denatured alcohol, fresh wormwood and tansy have a rather strong repelling effect on bedbugs. All these tools do not destroy bedbugs, but help to scare them away before the room is infected or to prevent bedbugs from entering the apartment from their neighbors.
Famous insecticide crayons and pencils continue to remain more or less effective in the fight against bedbugs. For example, the tool Masha consists of two fairly strong insecticides, to which the bugs have not yet developed resistance. Therefore, the correct use of such a small one ensures both the protection of the apartment from bedbugs and their destruction during infection that has already taken place (but only with a very small number of parasites in the apartment).
But the ultrasound repellents that are actively advertised today do not work on bedbugs. A bed bug does not have an instinct for avoiding high sounds, and therefore even if one is directly in the area of operation of such an instrument, the bug does not change its behavior.
It is important to understand that because of the ability to move quickly, the fight against bed bugs in one apartment in an apartment building is meaningless. In such buildings, a campaign against bed bugs should be carried out jointly and in concert with neighbors.