Friday, June 03, 2005

Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite

We recently feared that we had bed bugs. We don't. The pets merely had a nasty case of fleas (they can be awful here in the summer) and have been duly dipped and doped, eradicating the problem. Now that we know we won't be labeled with scarlet BBs and run out of town, the subject is ripe for mockery. During the unfortunate episode I did some reading and am passing along a few highlights.

I'm not wild about bed bugs. Is this normal:
Of all the pests mankind has had to endure over time, bed bugs might very well be the most hated and disgusting. Unlike the flea or mosquito which feed for a very short amount of time, the bed bug tends to suck blood for 3-5 minutes and in some cases over 15 minutes during it's meals. This in of itself makes people queasy when thinking about bed bugs possibly feeding on them but when combined with the fact that bed bugs are nocturnal and only take advantage of us when we are most vulnerable - asleep - bed bugs evoke a feeling of gross hatred.
I can't argue with that. And how do they reproduce?
The female lays her eggs with a gluelike secretion which enables her to fasten them ecurely in concealed areas where they will remain protected and steadfast until they hatch. Females will be able to lay eggs following blood meals and with good luck will be able to lay several hundred eggs over her life.
Lucky, indeed! But how can I be sure that they're really bedbugs?
Large infestations will acquire a "buggy" smell which has been described as something obnoxiously sweet. Some people have likened it to raspberries but at this time it has not been determined if the odor is from the conditions of the home, the blood excrement from the bed bugs having fed or from scent glands on the bed bugs themselves. Having been in many homes with active infestations, the author is able to determine when he enters a structure which has bed bug activity. However, just what causes the odor is still not clear.
I see (I'm guessing it's the scent glands, because my own blood excrement never smells like rasberries). And what, kind author, do you have to say in conclusion?
At this time the author believes he has done a good job explaining what you need to know about bed bugs to help determine whether or not you have an active infestation. Some of you reading this already know you have them and are anxious to learn how to control infestations. Others are not quite sure at this point so more work and inspections may be needed. Some of you are simply fascinated by this pest and are reading simply for information.
You have done an excellent job. And while I was specifically concerned with learning how to control infestations, I'll make sure to pass this along to all of my vermin-enthusiast friends.

I've learned so much. In a way I'm almost sad we don't have them.

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