As far as varieties of common bed bugs are concerned, the Cimex Lectularius are a prominent type. They are known by different names such as “red coats”, “clinches” or “mahogany flats”. Cimex Lectularius feed on warm blooded mammals including humans, chickens, bats and domestic animals. Not only are their bites annoying; they are even known to be carriers of several pathogens including those of leprosy, Q-fever, oriental sores and 25 other types.
History of common bed bugs
The common bed bugs are known to have evolved from cave dwelling ecto-parasites of mammals such as bats. The cave dwelling humans suffered from the Cimex Lectularius bites despite moving from caves to tents and other permanent dwellings.
People believed that the common bed bugs and other species had been eradicated mainly due to the widespread use of DDT and other pesticides after the Second World War. Until as recently as 1997, many pest control companies had never encountered bed bugs in the US. Today however, the Cimex Lectularius are quite common: more and more professional pest controllers are being called upon to deal with their infestations. The common bed bugs are found almost everywhere including homes, offices, five star hotels etc. They thrive on warm temperatures and adequate humidity which are also comfortable for their human hosts.
Significance of Cimex Lectularius as pests
There is nearly a 50% rise in incidents of common bed bugs in public shelters located in progressed nations such as UK and USA. As pests, these bugs are hard to find since they hide during the day in cracks and crevices and come out to feed on their hosts at night. Adult Cimex Lectularius can survive for a year in ideal conditions, but they need adequate blood meal every 3-5 days.
Sanitation and cleanliness alone are not enough to prevent Cimex Lectularius bites; it is also essential to remove debris, dirt and clutter as well as seal the cracks and crevices and strip wallpapers to reduce the number of available hiding places. This also makes it easier to find the bugs so as to use proper techniques for their elimination.
Detailed inspections of the site from time to time are also a significant part of the bed bug elimination process. These can help determine harborage sites of common bed bugs to find out the extent of infestation and also get a rough idea regarding the size of their population.
Effects of common bed bug bites
As stated above, bed bug bites can be annoying and can cause physical and psychological discomfort. One never knows when the bed bug is actually biting until the enzymes and proteins in the bugs’ saliva cause an allergic reaction on the host’s skin.
Typical symptoms of Cimex Lectularius bites on human skin are red weals on the site of bite which may itch intensely for a couple of days. Sometimes, it takes around 1 to 24hours for the allergic rash to appear after a bite. In some individuals, there may be a delayed response in that; the rash may appear only after 1 or 3 days of the actual bite.
Many homeowners also fear a social stigma that is attached with having to deal with common bed bugs infestations.
Management of common bed bugs
The Cimex Lectularius are most active at nighttime. In case of very large infestations, one may sense a sharp almond like odor that is a result of the oily secretions from the bugs. Other signs of an infestation include red or rust colored stains at the site where the bugs have cast away their exoskeletons typically at the point of entry and exit of their harborages.
For common bed bugs located in and around the sleeping areas, one must utilize mechanical control actions like vacuuming, caulking, removing the wallpaper etc. These can help prevent the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides. Pillows, pillow covers and other removable linen must be washed under very hot settings. If required, the mattress and box springs must be treated with food grade diatomaceous earth and other over-the-counter foggers to kill common bed bugs in these places. Pyrethrin based products are also known to be highly effective in flushing out the bugs and making their populations smaller.