Bed bugs are insects that belong to the Hemiptera order. They are ectoparasites (they live and feed on the surface of the host’s body) and belong to the family Cimicidae. The species of health interest is Cimex lectularius (bed bug).
Bed bugs have a body length of about 12-15mm. Their life cycle can exceed one year. They are light brown when unfed, and brown when full of blood. They are ‘oval’ but flat, unless they have been recently ‘pinched’. They have no wings, their heads are small and they have long and thin mouthparts (floating muscle type). It is a nocturnal parasite that feeds on the blood of mammals in all stages of its development (both male and female). During the day it hides in cracks and crevices of beds, furniture, etc. and only appears when foraging. Their metamorphosis is incomplete (heterometabolism) and the nymphs resemble the perfect insects. The female lays a total of 200-500 eggs in clusters of 10-50 eggs. The hatching of the nymphs from the eggs varies depending on the temperature which affects the development of the remaining stages as well. Bed bugs can live for quite some time without food. During their lifetime they need at least five blood meals.
Bed bugs are carriers of several pathogens that cause serious human disease. Bed bugs are easily transported from place to place, spreading the infestation. Their presence is not linked to hygienic conditions, so we may encounter bed bugs even in luxurious and clean spaces.
According to recent reports, incidents have been on the rise in recent years, so bed bugs are definitely in a population boom. Factors attributed to this epidemic include, among others, the increased rate of international travel.
Modes of Management
Chemical Control: Application of residual sprays especially in places where bed bugs hide. In several cases, the application of insecticides is done by the cold or warm misting method, which covers the entire area and maximizes the effectiveness of the application.
Non-chemical Control: Application of extreme temperatures (very high or very low) that kill all stages of the insect. For this purpose, special devices are used that achieve high temperatures (thermal disinfection) or devices with carbon dioxide (CO2) that create an environment of very low temperatures at the contact points.
Bed bug treatment
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