In the past month we have been made aware of an outbreak of bed bugs in or around the Evanston area.
For this reason, we are sharing some information from reputable sources to help you determine if you have been affected. While this parasite is annoying and hard to get rid of, the good news is that they do not transmit disease. Bed Bug FAQs
Bed bugs are parasiticinsects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood. Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug, is the best known as it prefers to feed on human blood; other Cimex species specialize in other animals, e.g., bat bugs, such as Cimex pipistrelli (Europe), Cimex pilosellus(Western United States), and Cimex adjunctus (entire Eastern United States).
The name bed bug derives from the preferred habitat of Cimex lectularius: warm houses and especially near or inside beds and bedding or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night, but are not exclusively nocturnal. They usually feed on their hosts without being noticed.
A number of adverse health effects may results from bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. Bed bugs are not known to transmit any pathogens as disease vectors. Certain signs and symptoms suggest the presence of bed bugs; finding the adult insects confirms the diagnosis.
Bed bugs have been known as human parasites for thousands of years. At a point in the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have increased in prevalence since 1995, likely due to pesticide resistance, governmental bans on effective pesticides, and international travel. Because infestation of human habitats has begun to increase, bed bug bites and related conditions have also been on the rise.
Detection - Bed bugs can exist singly, but tend to congregate once established. Though strictly parasitic, they spend only a tiny fraction of their lifecycles physically attached to hosts. Once a bed bug finishes feeding, it relocates to a place close to a known host, commonly in or near beds or couches in clusters of adults, juveniles, and eggs—which entomologists call harborage areas or simply harborages to which the insect returns after future feedings by following chemical trails. These places can vary greatly in format, including luggage, inside of vehicles, within furniture, amongst bedside clutter—even inside electrical sockets and nearby laptop computers. Bed bugs may also nest near animals that have nested within a dwelling, such as bats, birds, or rodents. They are also capable of surviving on domestic cats and dogs, though humans are the preferred host of C. lectularius.
Bed bugs can also be detected by their characteristic smell of rotting raspberries.Bed bug detection dogs are trained to pinpoint infestations, with a possible accuracy rate between 11% and 83%. Homemade detectors have been developed.
Mechanical approaches, such as vacuuming up the insects and heat-treating or wrapping mattresses, are effective. An hour at a temperature of 45 °C (113 °F) or over, or two hours at less than −17 °C (1 °F) kills them; a domestic clothes drier or steam could kill them. A study found 100% mortality rates for bed bugs exposed to temperatures greater than 50 °C (122 °F) for more than 2 minutes. The study recommended maintaining temperatures of above 48°C for more than 20 min to effectively kill all life stages of bed bugs, and because in practice treatment times of 6 to 8 hours are used to account for cracks and indoor clutter. This method is expensive and has caused fires. Starving them is not effective as they can survive without eating for 100 to 300 days, depending on temperature. For public health reasons, individuals are encouraged to call a professional pest control service to eradicate bed bugs in a home, rather than attempting to do it themselves, particularly if they live in a multifamily building.
As of 2012, no truly effective insecticides are available. Insecticides that have historically been found effective include pyrethroids, dichlorvos, and malathion. Resistance to pesticides has increased significantly over time, and harm to health from their use is of concern. The carbamate insecticide propoxur is highly toxic to bed bugs, but it has potential toxicity to children exposed to it, and the US Environmental Protection Agency has been reluctant to approve it for indoor use
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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