A global plague?
Bed bugs are found throughout the world and are becoming more common in New Zealand, particularly where there is a large turnover of visitors; places such as backpackers, hotels and motels, but you are also at risk in your home.
Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices during the day and come out at night to feed on our blood, attracted to the food source by body heat and carbon dioxide from in our breath. They feed by using their hypodermic-like mouthparts to penetrate your skin. They then inject you with saliva containing anaesthetic and anticoagulant proteins to stop your blood clotting. It is these proteins that cause itchy reactions.
The bed bug is wingless and therefore likely to be found near to where the host sleeps; in the mattress or bed frame, behind wallpaper and in furniture. They will hide in spaces behind skirting, the seams of mattresses, curtains, furniture etc.
Because they can ingest up to seven times their body weight in blood in one feed, they can survive long periods without feeding. After mating takes place, bed bugs will lay up to 200 eggs. The nymphs that hatch out are miniature versions of the adult. There is no larval stage. The nymphs will moult several times over a period of 6-18 months before becoming an adult.
Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of because they hide so well and there is evidence that they have become resistant to some insecticides, but they can be controlled with thoroughness and persistence.
How to get rid of bed bugs
Control of bed bugs requires a four-pronged attack.
- Control of bed bugs requires very thorough examination and treatment of all the possible places where they might hide. Check around seams of mattresses, bed base, bed heads, curtains and other furniture. Also check around the edges of carpets, behind skirting, edges of wallpaper and picture frames and in all other crevices within the room and adjacent rooms. Bed bugs leave tell-tale blackened smears of blood which look like ticks made with a black pen.
- Carefully collect all bedding from the room and place in a plastic bag for transport to your washing machine, being careful to make sure no insects are dropped on the way. If possible wash the clothes in a hot wash.
- Spray all areas where signs of infestation are found and all cracks crevices and seams with NO Fleas Total. This product contains a residual insecticide and a growth regulator which will help prevent young bed bugs reaching maturity and continuing the life cycle.
- Release NO Bugs Borafume Fumigators (2 for an average sized room). The fumigant produced will kill adult bed bugs and penetrate into areas that cannot be treated directly. Lean the bed mattress and bed base upright against a wall in the room to improve exposure to the vapour.
If the bed bug infestation has become established it may be necessary to repeat this treatment. Always follow the instructions on the products carefully.