Bed bugs are possibly the most feared parasitic species encountered in the household or hotels. They can appear apparently overnight but an infestation takes time to build up.
Eggs are laid at the rate of 4 per day per female. After hatching development from small nymphs to mature adults can take from four weeks to several months depending on availability of food (blood) and ambient temperature. These insects are active at temperatures above 13oC. All stages feed on blood and usually attack humans while sleeping. They are attracted to hosts by body heat and the carbon dioxide breathed out. Bites on exposed skin are easily spotted. There may be specks of dried blood observed on walls and bedding. Bed bugs will normally hide away during daylight hours behind wallpaper, skirting boards and around the fabric of the bed. Eggs are cemented in small batches to the surface of furnishings and in crevices. As the young bed bugs develop they cast off their old skins and these cause concern as they suggest a very high population, Bed bugs cannot fly nor do they transmit any human disease. However their discovery causes both mental anguish and physical discomfort.
Bed bugs can be transmitted during hotel stays, from infested furniture, bedding and even luggage storage centres.
Control requires careful isolation and disposal of infested materials to prevent spread. Residual insecticide treatment will have to be repeated to control hatching eggs and concealed individuals. Monitoring with adhesive traps will evaluate the effect of control measures and any concealed nymphs that need further treatment.