Bed Bugs

A Bed Bug on Human SkinBed bug infestations often cause anxiety when found because of all of the hype in the media.  This pest is becoming more common in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA and as a result, Pest Control Professionals are responding and looking for ways to better control bed bugs.  An Eco Pattern Certified treatment plan for bed bugs uses the three “B’s” of the pest (Biology, Behavior and Bite) to develop the most effective and efficient method of treatment.  This pest control process minimizes chemical use and waste by using specifically formulated products in a very deliberate way.

  • Biology: Adult bedbugs are small (1/4 – 1/8 inches), flattened, brown oval shaped insects.  Young (nymph) bedbugs are smaller and lighter in color.  Eggs are white and about 1mm in size and hard to see without magnification.  Blood, generally human, is the food source for the common bedbug.  These resilient insects usually feed every 5-10 days but can survive for up to a year without a blood meal.  Bedbugs are a fair weather pest and do not often occur in areas of extreme cold or extreme heat.  A sustained temperature of 113 degrees (When the heat penetrates and is sustained in all areas bedbugs can hide) will kill bedbugs at all stages of life.  A sustained temperature below 0 degrees will also kill all stages of bedbug life.  Not surprisingly bedbugs thrive in the temperatures most people comfortably keep their homes.
  • Behavior: Bed bug behavior is variable based on a number of factors.  Some of the main factors include location, behavior of host, severity of infestation, temperature, and availability of food source.
  1. Location: The location of an infestation plays a major role in the development and spread of the infestation.  Bedbugs in a single family home require a different solution than bedbugs in a hotel or multifamily home.  An infestation in a single family home can spread to offices, hotels, neighbors and friends via hitch hiking.  An infestation in a hotel or multifamily home can spread even more easily and quickly via hitchhiking as well as by finding cracks and openings in which to hide (such as wall voids) that adjoin to another room.
  2. Behavior of host: Bedbugs are quickly spread from one area to another when the host sleeps in multiple areas of the house, or multiple people use multiple beds (e.g. if a child often climbs into bed with the parents at night and is carried back to their own bed, an infestation will spread more quickly from one infestation site to another.  Similarly if a person moves to sleep on a couch or in a guest bedroom, the infestation will quickly spread).  If a person keeps a cluttered home, there are more places for bedbugs to hide and thus, less chance of pest control being as effective.  The key to controlling bed bugs is being able to get them all, or the vast majority with pest control measures taken.
  3. A severe infestation will spread rapidly, not just within a residence and surrounding units, but also from home to office, or home to friends houses, home to travel destinations etc.  A severe infestation is also more likely to be throughout a residence rather than limited for the most part to one or two areas.
  4. Temperatures: The temperatures at which people are most commonly comfortable happen to be the same temperature range in which bedbugs thrive.  Bedbugs are less common in areas of extreme heat and cold.
  5. Availability of food source:  Although bed bugs might prefer to feed on human blood, if bedbugs are infesting an abandoned home they can rely on available animal blood for a meal.  Rats, bats, mice, squirrels, cats and other animals can become a host to bedbugs in some circumstances.  Additionally, although bedbugs prefer to feed every 5-10 days, bedbugs can survive for up to a year without a blood meal.
  • Bite:  Bed bug bites have been linked to physical and psychological symptoms and well as environmental symptoms.
  1. The physical symptoms of bed bug bites may include itching, rashes, welts, allergic reaction (in rare and sever cases anaphylaxis).
  2. The psychological symptoms of bedbugs include insomnia, anxiety and parasitosis.  Insomnia can occur because people can become nervous to sleep with the thought of bugs crawling on and biting them while they sleep.  Anxiety is generally based on the same fears as insomnia as well as the social stigma that bed bugs seem to carry (although they are quite common and have been found in some of the cleanest hotels, homes and apartments).  Parasitosis is a developed sensation that there are bugs crawling on and biting the skin, regardless of the fact that there are not any.  The intense itching can actually cause a person to scratch themselves to the point of physical injury.
  3. The environmental symptoms of bedbugs include small black circular spots of insect feces on areas affected by infestations, blood stains from crushed bugs, skin casings left behind with each stage of life of the bed bug as well as bugs and eggs which can be found in and around infested furniture.

The Eco Pattern Certified approach to bed bugs is efficient, affordable and environmentally responsible.  For safe pest control that is effective Eco Pattern Certified is the way to go and go green without compromising on cost or quality.