Bed bugs are a worldwide pest problem. They can live happily in a Cancun beach resort, or dwell inside a warm toasty igloo in Alaska. But how does this bug do it? What makes it so hard to control, and how does it spread so easily? Finding the answers to these questions can actually help you prevent an infestation in your own home. Read on.
This is a bug that is not often affected by climate. It lives inside, all the time, where it can have easy access to its food source. This is a blood-eating insect. But unlike the tick or the flea, it does not live on its host. It chooses, instead, to live nearby, in couches, chairs, and beds. These living spaces are normally kept at a temperature these bugs can thrive in. Making the outside temperatures irrelevant in controlling their populations.
There are many bugs that enjoy a bed bug meal: masked hunter insects of the family Reduviidae, cockroaches, spiders, mites, centipedes, and ants, to name a few. Some of these predators, like the mite, live in close quarters with bed bugs--even sharing the same bed. You'd think with all these predators that bed bugs would go extinct fairly quickly, but this is a fast breeding and elusive prey.
To say this bug breeds like a rabbit is a gross understatement. A typical female can have nearly 5,000 babies in her short 6 month life span. That is around 830 a month! Then, imagine those 830 babies all able to mate within 28-32 days, and you can see why bed bugs are hard to wipe out.
Bed bug eggs do not need their mother to hatch. And, those little bed bug nymphs can survive months without a blood meal. When you combine these two facts with the female bed bugs propensity for putting these eggs in luggage, bags, pocketbooks, clothing, pillows, bedding, and other transportable objects, you have a recipe for an outbreak.
The only time in history bed bugs were ever battled to the brink of extinction was in the 1950s when new pesticides were used liberally throughout the United States. During that time, it was almost impossible for entomologists to find living samples of bed bugs. But with the U.S. government banning and restricting these substances, and the explosion of world travel, bed bugs have returned to their former glory.
So, how do you protect yourself from such a resilient blood eater? Remember that these bugs are hitchhikers. Look for them when you go on vacation and check your bags for them when you return. Always wash and dry your clothing and bedding on the hottest temperature. And, consider getting bed bug inspections from a pest control company that has K9 Bed Bug Inspectors. These dogs can sniff out living bed bugs that are still inside their eggs.
Control begins with awareness. Only you can be the gatekeeper for your home.