Believed to have been completely eradicated in the 20th century, the bed bugs are back with a vengeance in the 21st century. There are three main types of bed bugs found in Europe and America. According to the CDC or Centre for Disease Control And Prevention, bed bugs belong to the family known as Heteroptera Cimicidae. They include sub types such as Cimex Lectularis, Cimex Hemipterus and LeptoCimex Boueti. Bed bugs, bat bugs, poultry bugs and swallow bugs all belong to this family of pests and are seen in various parts of the world.
Bed bug biology
Different types of bed bugs are similar to head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis), in that; they mainly feed on human blood. They have similar structure like those of common ecto-parasites; their bodies are also divided into head, thorax and abdomen. The slight differences in various species and types of bed bugs (especially compared with other parasites like head lice) mainly affect their ability to transmit diseases in humans.
Bed bugs in the USA
In the United States, different types of bed bugs are mainly seen in college dorms, nursing homes and hospitals, residential areas, hotels, offices, daycares and even in schools. Nearly 99 % of pest control companies across the country are known to have encountered a type of bed bug infestations on an annual basis. According to renowned cardiologist Dr. Mehmet Oz of Oprah fame, this number has nearly risen by 500%! Additionally, this problem is not just in dirty motels or cheap hotels; even five star rated hotels have reported having such infestations all across the country.
Different types of bed bugs found across the country are known to impact human lives owing to the mental, physical and economical consequences they have. While most types of bed bugs only cause a mild rash in humans, the more severe infestations are known to have led people into anaphylactic shocks. Additionally, the bites of these ectoparasites are also known to cause secondary complications and skin infections which include impetigo, lymphanigitis and ecthyma.
As with all types of bed bugs, the species found in the USA also has three main life stages, none of which can fly. Due to this inability, bed bugs rely on passive modes of transportation. The Cimicids family has characteristic specialized organs to support their blood feeding diet. The bugs use these organs to attach to their host at nighttime and feed upon them for up to 10 minutes. The surprising fact is that most adult types of bed bugs can actually survive without a blood meal for up to a year!
Treatment of various types of bed bugs
All major types of bed bugs infestations need step by step treatment. This includes:
- Thorough inspection of the facility in question- This includes identification of the types of bed bugs, looking for places like cracks and crevices where they are likely to hide.
- Preparing the infested area for treatment- This includes stripping and disposing affected mattresses, carpets, bedding covers, drapes, moving furniture away from walls and washing all bed clothes in hot water.
- Spraying and dusting bed bug repellents- The effectiveness of controlling various types of bed bugs depends on how thoroughly you spray and dust the repellents in areas where they are likely to hide.
- Follow-up treatment and regular inspections- A complete re-treatment needs to be done every 2 months to ensure effectiveness of bed bug control.
It is important that general public as well as local health agencies are equipped with knowledge regarding best practices that can help in the control of bed bug infestations. Certain types of bed bugs infestation are likely to require coordinated community efforts in order to reduce and eliminate their larger populations.