These insects are common across the globe. They live in buildings and are parasites to warm-blooded animal, that often feed on the blood of humans. When bed bugs exist in great numbers in an area (Such as a bedroom) they excrete a characteristic scent.
The adult insect has a strongly flattened, oval shaped, almost round body. The front wings are only potentially present and there are no rear wings. The females are about 4.5 – 8.5 mm long, the males are somewhat smaller on average. Bed bugs are read-brown in colour; when they have just consumed a blood meal, they are dark read and the abdomen is swollen.
Development and lifestyle
During the day, bed bugs hide under loose carpets, in all kinds of cracks in walls, window sills, furniture, beds, mattresses, behind loose wallpapers, in curtains, and even in switches and outlets of the light, shoes and garments, however mainly in the vicinity of the headboard of a bed. The eggs are stuck in the cracks of furniture, beds, walls, garments etc with the help of a water-soluble secretion. At room temperature, the eggs hatch after 15-22 days; after about 1.5 month the insects are mature. Except on people, they also parasitize on warm-blooded pats and lab animals and birds. At15 – 18’C the animals can survive over 6 months without food. When they get hungry they can travel relatively large distances looking for hosts. At a temperature below 15°C they hibernate, in which they can survive freezing temperatures for a long period of time. A heat treatment at temperatures exceeding 45°C for half an hour kills all stages of these bed bugs.
Bed bugs spread to adjacent houses via cracks and seems in walls or via pipe ducts. However they also spread via luggage, transport of used furniture and the use of scrap wood from buildings with bed bugs. In bed bug control, these aspects must be kept in mind. The result of their lifestyle is that, when the inventory of the house to be treated, as well as clothing, bedding etc, isn’t handled carefully, bed bugs can be spread easily. After detecting bed bugs, these goods should not be removed from the house of the area to be treated, before control measures have been taken. The pesticides should not come into contact with, for instance, toys. Toys must be stowed way prior to the control measures. When treating cabinets, toys can be packed in plastic bags. The control measures for these insects can best be carried out by professionals such as the EWS.
First it must be investigated to what extent the bed bugs have spread to adjacent buildings. After this inventory, the EWS can proceed to draw up the control plan (order of the treatment, control method to be applied and permitted substances etc) and the information provision to the parties involved. All nooks and crannies of beds, walls and floors as well as bedding and mattresses located in areas where bed bugs are found, must be treated with a permitted substance that leaves a residue (active substances such as deltamethrin, permethrin or cyfluthrin) after which the treated areas cannot be entered for two hours. After the control measures, the bedding must be washed or cleaned otherwise. Residents of the cleaned areas must be alert to bed bugs and must alert the PPD as soon as they are found. It is recommended to have checked after several weeks whether the treatment has led to a complete result and, if necessary, a follow-up treatment is required.