Bed Bugs



Sometimes referred to as "red coats", "chinches", or "mahogany flats", bed bugs are bloods feedings parasites of humans, chickens, bats, and occasionally domesticated animals.

Bed Bugs are suspected carriers of leprosy, oriental sore, Q-fever, and brucellosis but have never been implicated in the spreading of disease to humans.

After the development and use of modern insecticides, such as DDT, bed bugs infestations have virtually disappeared. However, since 1995, the pest management professionals have noticed an increased in bed bugs related complaints.


Human dwellings, birds nests, and bat caves make the most suitable habitats for bed bugs since they offer warmth, areas to hide, and most importantly hosts on which to feed. Bed bugs are not evenly distributed throughout the environment but are instead concentrated in harborage.

Within human dwellings, harborages include cracks and crevices in walls, furniture, behind wallpaper and wood paneling, or under carpeting. Bed bugs are usually only active during night but will feed during the day when hungry.

Bed bugs can be transported on clothing, in traveler's luggage, or in bedding and furniture but lack appendages to enable them to cling to hair, fur, or feathers, so are rarely found on hosts.


The adult bed bug is a broadly flattened, ovoid, insect with greatly reduced wings. The reduced fore wings, or  hemelytra, are broader than they are long, with a somewhat rectangular appearance. The sides of the pomatum are covered with short, stiff hairs.

Before feeding, bed bugs are usually brown in color and range from 6 to 9.5 mm in length. After feeding, the body is often swollen and red in color.

Bed bugs can go without feeding for 80 to 140 days; older stages can survive longer without feeding than younger ones. Adults have survived without food for as long as 550 days. A bed bug can take six times its weight in blood, and feeding can take 3 to 10 minutes.

Adults live about 10 months and there can be up to 3 to 4 generations of bed bugs per year.


Because of their confined living spaces, copulation among male and female bed bugs is difficult.   The female possesses a secondary copulatory aperture, or Para genital sinus, on the fourth abdominal sternum where spermatozoa from the male are injected.

The spermatozoa then migrate to the ovaries by passing through the haemocoel, or body cavity. The female   bed bug lays approximately 200 eggs during her life span at a rate of one to 12 to 50 eggs per day. The eggs  are laid on rough surfaces and coated with a transparent cement to adhere them to the substrate.

Within six to 17 days bed bug nymphs, almost devoid of color, emerge from the eggs. After five molts, which take approximately ten weeks, the nymphs reach maturity.


Bed bugs are most active at night; they are extremely shy and wary so their infestations are not easily located.

However, when bed bugs are numerous, a foul odor from oily secretions can easily be detected. Other recognizable signs of a bed bug infestation include excrement left around points of entry and exit to their hiding places and reddish brown spots on mattresses and furniture.

Good sanitation is the first step to controlling the spread of bed bugs. However, upscale hotels and private homes have recently noted infestations, suggesting that good sanitation is not enough to stop a bed bug infestation.

If bed bugs are located in bedding material or mattresses, control should focus on mechanical methods of control, such as vacuuming, caulking and removing or sealing loose wallpaper, to minimize the use of pesticides. The effectiveness of using steam cleaners or hot water to clean mattresses is also effective. Heating to 97° to 99°F will kill most bed bugs, as will temperatures below 48°F.

Pillows should be removed and dry-cleaned or replaced. For severe infestations, however, pesticides may be used. Care should be taken not to soak mattresses and upholstery with pesticides. Allow bedding and furniture to dry thoroughly before using.

Chemical control includes the use of a residual insecticide (usually pyrethroids) in cracks and crevices.     Sprays containing natural pyrethrins can also be used. Sorptive dusts such as fumed silica (also called diatomaceous earth) are useful in closed, hard-to-reach places. These treatments are best done  by a professional pesticide applicator.

Certified bed bugs technicians should be consulted for effective control of bed bugs. You can count on KenMORE Pest Control certified technicians to have all your bed bugs situation solve.

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