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Bed Bugs
 
Identification

Bed Bugs are small non-flying insects with a flat oval shape about the size of an apple seed.  Their flattened body allows them to squeeze into small cracks and crevices and as a result they can be hard to detect and eradicate.  They are blood-sucking insects that require blood for nutrition and development. 

 
Bed Bugs feed mostly at night when the host is asleep.  Bites cause small, hard, red, swollen welts on the skin that may become inflamed and itch severely.  They have not been implicated in the transmissions of diseases; their medical significance is usually limited to the irritation from their bites.

Habitat

Over time harbourage areas become filled with the moulted skins, faeces and old eggshells of the resident Bed Bugs.  These can have sweet, musty odour - once squashed they have a similar odour to a "Stink Bug" found on lemon trees.

Typical hiding places are in the tufts, folds and seams of mattresses and in cracks in the springs and bed frames.  Harbourage is not limited to these areas and in all cases all cracks and crevices need to be inspected.  This includes carpet edges, picture frames, curtain folds and electrical fittings and any area into which they can squeeze.

Treatment

Control of Bed Bugs requires total co-operation from the owner of the infested premises.  Washing of linen and infested areas with hot water alone will NOT eliminate the problem as bed bugs will seek harbourage in other areas.  If an owner suspects a bed bug infestation they should first ensure there is no chance of spreading the problem.

Do not move Hoteliers or Backpackers until a thorough inspection of their equipment and luggage is carried out.  Bed bugs are great hitchhikers so do not move bedding or furniture from the affected rooms as well.  In extreme cases it may be necessary to isolate all equipment and materials that come into contact with the infected room.  Even minor infestations from a chance transfer can become a major problem.

 

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