The many reports and articles about bed bugs in the past few weeks have been hard to ignore… Until recently, this insect was little known among the general public as it was virtually eradicated in the United States and other industrialized countries after World War II. However, in recent years, populations of this insect have increased considerably in major cities around the world.
Why have bed bugs made a comeback?
According to entomologists, various factors could explain this new outbreak of bed bugs. One of the most important is lack of public information about the risk of infestation. Bed bugs generally take advantage of human movement to spread to different environments. They are therefore carried from one place to another without anyone noticing. This is why prevention is essential—nobody is immune from a potential infestation!
A very active insect
An adult bed bug measures 5–7 mm long. Its oval-shaped body is very flat and covered with fine golden hairs. It is a human parasite and must feed on blood to survive. It generally bites at night. Before eating, bed bugs are brown or yellowish brown. Once they have fed on blood, they become reddish brown and resemble small apple seeds. Even though they can’t fly, bed bugs can travel great distances. For example, they can go from the first floor of a building to the fifth or from one end of a corridor to the other. On average, a beg bug moves at a speed of 126 cm per minute.
An invasive roommate
Beg bugs live with humans. When they take up residence, they hide in cracks in the bed frame and the mattress. Or they can make a home in window and door frames, picture frames or even electrical switches. Bed bugs are nocturnal and attracted by the heat of our bodies as we sleep. They are rarely found in the open during the day as they flee from light.
What should you do?
In answer to many of the questions about bed bugs, the Montréal Insectarium has provided a complete fact sheet on their biology and means of controlling them. Additional useful information can be found on the Health Canada website.Keep in mind that getting rid of bed bugs is no easy task. The best way is to call on the services of a competent exterminator.