Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Brown-banded cockroach

Brown-banded Cockroaches
(Supella longipalpa)
Brown-banded cockroach

Cockroaches are among the most common of insects. Fossil evidence indicates that cockroaches have been on earth for over 300 million years. They are considered one of the most successful groups of animals. Cockroaches are so adaptable, they have successfully adjusted to living with humans. About 3,500 species of cockroaches exist worldwide, with 55 species found in the United States.

Description and Behavior
Adult male brown-banded cockroaches are about 1/2 inch long and light brown, with fully developed wings . The adult females are shorter and stouter than the males and their wings do not cover the entire abdomen. Both adults and nymphs can be distinguished by the two brownish, broad bands across the body at the base of the abdomen and at mid-abdomen. Both males and females are quite active; adult males fly readily when disturbed. Brown-banded cockroaches prefer warm and dry locations, such as near refrigerator motor housings, on the upper walls of cabinets, and inside pantries, closets, dressers, and furniture in general. They can also be found behind picture frames and beneath tables and chairs, and inside clocks, radios, light switch plates, doorframes, and dressers. It is common to find them hiding nearer the ceiling than the floor and away from water sources. Accurate identification is paramount to controlling brown-banded cockroaches. Control strategies for other cockroaches will not be efficacious for brown-banded cockroaches.

Life Cycle
The brown-banded cockroach has three developmental stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Eggs are laid in capsules, which the female carries for about 30 hours before she fastens it on walls, ceilings, and in protected and hidden areas. During her adult life a female produces about 14 egg capsules, each containing an average of 13 eggs. The length of the egg stage varies from 37 to 103 days, depending on temperature. The nymphal stage ranges from 8 to 31 weeks. A female adult has a life span of 13 to 45 weeks; each female produces about 600 descendants per year.
Brown-banded nymphs and adults (with egg sack)

The brown-banded cockroach feeds on a wide variety of materials. Like members of other cockroach species, it may consume materials like glue or paste (especially from animal-based materials), starch, and certain color dyes. As a result, items like stamps, envelopes, bindings of older books, draperies, and occasionally wallpapers may show signs of feeding. This species has also been known to chew on nonfood materials, such as nylon stockings, presumably for the residues of body oils and skin flakes. Damage by brown-banded cockroaches results from their feeding and harboring in pantries and storage areas indoors. Also, bacteria and protozoa that cause diseases (such as different forms of gastroenteritis and diarrhea) can be carried on the legs and bodies of cockroaches and deposited on food, utensils, etc.

Management Strategies
Survey - To control brown-banded cockroaches, it is important to do a thorough inspection, or survey. Cockroach surveys involve placing sticky traps (glueboards) at strategic locations within the building. Whenever possible, place survey traps either against a wall or in a corner of the floor, a shelf, or a drawer. Most commercially available traps come complete with bait to encourage cockroaches to enter. One week of trapping with a sufficient number of trap sites (ten or more) usually provides enough information for effective control. Treatments should be directed to those areas where cockroaches have been collected in the traps.
Brown-banded cockroach

Sanitation, Structural Modifications, and Repairs
It is difficult to keep cockroaches from entering the home via boxes, grocery bags, suitcases, etc., but you can prevent them from developing into a serious problem. One of the key factors is sanitation: clean up spilled foods on the floor, do not leave dirty dishes overnight, store items such as cereal, crackers, and cookies in airtight containers, and empty garbage each evening into a sturdy container with a tight-fitting lid. Brown-banded cockroaches can conceal themselves in many places that are inaccessible to larger species. Making structural modifications such as caulking (in cracks, crevices; around ducts, molding, etc.) is necessary in bedrooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, and other areas of the house.
Brown-banded cockroach

Chemical Control
Baiting is an effective method to control or eliminate brown-banded cockroaches. Baits containing hydramethylnon, sulfluramid, boric acid, or abamectin can provide a high level of control when applied to those areas where cockroaches harbor. Some formulations of baits are available to the public in plastic feeding stations. Professional pest control personnel also have cockroach baits in flowable granular and gel formulations. Care should be taken to closely follow the label instructions for use. Insecticidal dusts like boric acid, silica aerogel, and diatomaceous earth can provide additional control. Apply dusts lightly, as heavy deposits may repel cockroaches. These products can be applied in the cracks and crevices of bureaus, clothes closet shelves, ceiling light fixtures, valances above windows, hollow legs of chairs and tables, and wall or floor cracks and crevices throughout the house. Do not place dusts where they could come in contact with children or pets. Do not allow children access to areas treated with boric acid. Boric acid is of low toxicity to adults, but it can present a hazard to children. Take precautions to assure that dusts do not contaminate food. The use of residual insecticidal sprays or aerosol foggers within a structure is of little value in controlling brown-banded cockroaches. In fact, these applications may disperse the cockroaches making control difficult and lengthy.

Pesticides are poisonous. Read and follow directions and safety precautions on labels. Handle carefully and store in original labeled containers out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock. Dispose of empty containers right away, in a safe manner and location. Do not contaminate forage, streams, or ponds.

Originally Authored by: Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate
March 2002 Reviewed April 2007     © The Pennsylvania State University 2012
Edited, Revised and Condensed by:  Scott Glaze    January 29, 2012

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Scientists Discover Gene that Cancer-Proofs Rodents Cells : University of Rochester News - StumbleUpon

Cancer Proofing Cells

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Sometimes, it does not come directly from our desk.
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Naked Mole Rats

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Whats turning straight mice gay?

Straight Mice turned Gay?

As usual, if we come across something that's industry-related, current, cool, or just goofy, we share it. Uncertain which topic-title we should place this into, but interesting nonetheless.
Here's the link:

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spiders on the hunt | Animal and Dog News in Gympie | Gympie Times

We came across this informative news article (link provided) from Queensland.
Yes, we are fascinated by the variety, scope, and diversity of life on our planet.
These spiders are big and strong enough to subdue frogs and mice!
APOLOGIES if you are looking at this while eating but the large Sydney Huntsman (in Queensland known as the Grey Huntsman) is certainly enjoying its meal.
The Grey Huntsman Spider
Here's the link:

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Warm, Dry Winter Means More Mice, Scientists Say

Warm, Dry Winter Means More Mice, Scientists Say...

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We attempt to ensure quality of content and objective material.
Sometimes, it doesn't come from our desk.
Words of wisdom can come from a variety of sources. We keep an open mind to provide YOU with the best education our industry can provide.
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

American Cockroach

American Cockroach
American cockroach

Wikipedia gives us the following (paraphrased, but keeping hyperlinks for your convenience): The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), is often misidentified as the palmetto bug (see Florida woods cockroach for the differences). It is the largest species of common cockroach, and often considered a pest. None of the Periplaneta species are endemic to the Americas; despite the name, P. americana was introduced to the United States from Africa as early as 1625. They are now common in tropical climates because human activity has extended the insect's range of habitation, and global shipping has transported the insects to world ports including the Southern United States, Tenerife, southernSpain, Greece, Taiwan, and Cape Town and Durban, South Africa.
American cockroach adults grow to an average length of around 4 centimetres (1.6 in) and about 7 millimetres (0.28 in) tall. They are reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. Immature cockroaches resemble adults except that they are wingless.
The insect can travel quickly, often darting out of sight when someone enters a room, and can fit into small cracks and under doors despite its fairly large size. It is considered one of the fastest running insects. In an experiment carried out at the University of California, Berkeley in 1991, aPeriplaneta americana registered a record speed of 5.4 kilometres per hour (3.4 mph), about 50 body lengths per second, which would be comparable to a human running at 330 kilometres per hour (210 mph).
American cockroach

It has a pair of large compound eyes each having over 2000 individual lenses, and is a very active night insect that shuns light. American cockroaches generally live in moist areas, but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer warm temperatures around 29 °C (84 °F) and do not tolerate cold temperatures. In residential areas, these cockroaches live in basements and sewers, and may move outdoors into yards during warm weather. These cockroaches are common in basements, crawl spaces, cracks and crevices of porches, foundations, and walkways adjacent to buildings.
The American cockroach is a scavenger that feeds on decaying organic matter and a variety of other foods. It is particularly fond of fermenting foods.
Females produce an egg case called an ootheca which protrudes from the tip of the abdomen. After about two days, the egg cases are placed on a surface in a safe location. Egg cases are about 0.9 centimeters (0.35 in) long, brown, and purse shaped. Immature cockroaches emerge from egg cases in 6 to 8 weeks and require 6 to 12 months to mature. Adult cockroaches can live up to one year, during which females produce an average of 150 young.
American cockroach

Due to their large size and slow development, large infestations of these insects are not common within houses. However, during certain times of the year, these cockroaches may move inside a house from outside. In cold weather these cockroaches may move indoors, seeking warmer temperatures and food. Cockroaches may enter houses through sewer connections, under doors, around plumbing, air ducts, or other openings in the foundation. Cockroach populations may be controlled through the use of insecticides, however it is usually best to contact a professional.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bed Bug Videos - Avoid, Prevent, Travel

Looking at our numbers, it would appear that bed bug information is in high demand.
In an effort to save you some time tracking these videos down, we've gathered some of the videos we feel are most educational.
Here you go.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

German Cockroaches: The Basics

German Cockroach

The German cockroach is a smaller species of cockroach, measuring about ½ inch long (as an adult); however, they are known to get larger. It can be light tan through brown to almost black, and has two dark parallel streaks running from the head to the base of the wings. Although it has wings, it is unable to sustain flight.
The German cockroach is the number 1 roach in the World, and can be found throughout many human settlements. These insects are particularly associated with restaurants, food processing facilities, hotels, and nursing homes. In colder climates, they are found only near human habitats, since they are not very tolerant to cold. However German cockroaches have been found as far north as Alert, Nunavut and in the Southern Patagonia.
The German cockroach is originally from Africa, it is very closely related to the Asian cockroach, and to the casual observer they appear nearly identical and may be mistaken for the other. This cockroach can be seen in the day, especially if there is a large population or if they have been disturbed, however, sightings are most commonly reported in the evening hours as they are most active at night.
This type of cockroach can emit an unpleasant odor when excited or frightened.
The German cockroach (also known as a "hood" in the U.S.) is very successful at establishing an ecological niche in buildings, and is very hardy and resilient against attempts at pest control. This is because of the large number of nymphs produced from each egg case, the short time period between birth and sexual maturity, and their ability to easily hide due to their small size. The mother also carries the egg case (called an ootheca) with her during the germination period, rather than depositing it like other species, a practice which would leave them vulnerable in a human habitat to zealous attempts to wipe them out.
Adult female carrying an ootheca

This cockroach is also smaller than many other species so it can more easily hide and fit into very small cracks and crevices to evade humans. That is also the main reason they can most effectively be controlled with bait in cracks and crevices near harborages. These types of pest control methods must kill 95% of the overall population to be effective in a property due to the fast reproductive cycles.
The German cockroach (discounting the presence of pets), has few natural predators inside a human habitat. The German cockroach's thigmotactic nature compounds the difficulty of pest control treatment. The immature cockroaches will live off excretions and moults from the adult cockroaches and thus can remain hidden away from most surface treatments.
The German cockroach is omnivorous and a scavenger. They particularly like starch, sugary foods, grease and meats. In certain situations where there is a shortage of food-items, they may eat household items such as soap, glue and toothpaste or they may even turn cannibalistic, often chewing on the wings and legs of each other.
Nymphs emerging from an ootheca

To ensure the highest percentage of successful elimination, we strongly suggest performing 3 simple steps:  eliminate potential food sources, eliminate clutter, and use a professional pest control company.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Overview of Roaches


There are typically five kinds of cockroaches commonly found in Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois (Northern United States). They vary somewhat in appearance, reproductive capacity, and habits. We will be discussing the following:  German Cockroach, American Cockroach, Oriental Cockroach (or Waterbugs), Brown-banded Cockroach, and the Pennsylvania Woods Cockroach (or Woods Roach). I will be following this blog with a more in-depth look at each of these species mentioned. Generally speaking, they are all rather large, flattened insects, brownish or dark in color and fast moving. Roaches seek concealment in the daytime and also when disturbed at night. They may be carried into homes in boxes, egg cartons, beverage cases and produce such as potatoes. In apartments (and other large buildings) they readily migrate from one place to another along water pipes, plumbing lines, and other conduits.

German Cockroach
The German roach is a very common species and usually found in kitchens and/or bathrooms (drawn to heat & humidity). The adults are comparatively small (about 1/2 inch long), tan in color and often occur in large numbers. The immature – nymphs, have dark markings which make them appear dark brown to black.

American Cockroach
The American roach is reddish-brown and is the largest of the common roaches (about 1-1/2 inches in length at maturity). It is found more often in food establishments, although houses and apartments near such establishments can frequently become infested.

Oriental Cockroach
The Oriental roach is also large (about 1 inch in length) and shiny black or very dark brown. It is often called a “water bug” or “black beetle.” This species is frequently found in dampness and may enter homes through sewer openings. It may likewise live outdoors during the summer months and move from home to home.

Brown-banded Cockroach
The Brown-banded roach is a southern species but is often found in Indiana. It resembles the German roach in size but differs in habits. It may infest the entire home, rather than confining itself to the kitchen or where there is food. Infestations usually start from luggage, furniture or other materials shipped from one place to another.

Woods Roach
The Woods roach normally lives under the loose bark of dead trees, logs or stumps. It sometimes invades homes built in or near wooded areas, but it does not thrive indoors. Males are nearly 1 inch long and dark brown with a pale stripe on the outer margins of the wings. They are fairly good fliers and often enter homes this way. They can also be carried in on firewood. The females are short-winged and resemble the Oriental roach, but they are seldom found indoors.

How you can help:
The chances of effective, lasting cockroach control are greatly increased if thorough sanitation precedes proper chemical application. The destruction of breeding places (by clearing out garbage and clutter, sealing cracks and openings, etc.) and the removal of food and water sources, will aid in controlling and eliminating populations.

German Cockroach (female with egg-sack)

American Cockroach

Oriental Cockroach

Brown-banded Cockroach

Woods Cockroach

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Friday, January 6, 2012

A quick reference for Termites

Termites have an incredibly long history. They have lived on Earth for more than 250 million years. While termites can be helpful in breaking down rotting wood in the environment, these wood-destroying insects also can cause extensive damage to our modern day structures. Occasionally, referred to as “silent destroyers,” termites may leave few readily observable signs of activity as they consume wood, drywall, sheetrock and various other forms of building materials used in construction of walls, ceilings and floors. Experts estimate that termites damage more than 600,000 homes in the United States annually. In fact, termites cause more damage to U.S. homes (annually) than tornadoes, hurricanes, wind, and hail-storms combined. Each year, U.S. residents spend an estimated $5 billion to control termites and repair termite damage. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), control methods and repairs for damage caused by Formosan termites – the most destructive species of subterranean termite – account for more than $1 billion of this total.
Types of Termites
There are about 45 different kinds of species of termites found in the U.S., each of which falls into one of the three main termite types: Subterranean, Drywood, and Dampwood.

Subterranean termites
Subterranean termites are part of the family Rhinotermitidae. With minimal exceptions, these termites require contact with the soil, which provides optimal temperatures and moisture for their survival. Subterranean termites build underground nests connected to above ground food sources via mud tunnels (or mud tubes). These underground termites are responsible for the majority of termite damage to structures, homes and buildings.
The most aggressive subterranean termites in the United States, are the Formosan termites (Coptotermes formosanus). Each year, Americans spend an estimated $1 billion on combined control measures and repair costs associated with Formosan termites.
The eastern subterranean termite (Reticulitermes flavipes) is the most widespread termite in the U.S., found throughout the eastern, midwestern and southern states. Eastern subterranean termite colonies typically cause less damage than larger Formosan termite colonies. However, the far-reaching distribution of this pest leads experts to estimate it causes more structural damage nationwide than any other termite species.
The western subterranean termite (Reticulitermes hesperus) can be found in many of the western states. It is very common in California, where it is responsible for more damage in the state than any other wood-destroying insect.
Though restricted in geographic reach to the deserts of southern Arizona and California, the desert subterranean termite (Heterotermes aureus) is another subterranean termite that can cause significant damage to homes.
Signs of Subterranean Termite Infestation:
Large swarms of flying termites and the presence of mud tubes are the two most noticeable signs of subterranean termite infestations in homes. However, these signs can be difficult to detect. Annual termite inspections focusing on termite entry points and signs of activity are important to prevent damage.
Subterranean Termite Control:
Because they infest homes from the ground level, it is easier to prevent subterranean termite infestations than drywood termite infestations. The most common control measures for subterranean termite infestations include treating infested areas (direct applications to the soil and damaged wood) with termiticides, and placing bait stations around the home. To help make your home less hospitable to termites, you also can focus on reducing moisture sources and wood-to-ground contact. By limiting entry points and water sources, you can help make it less likely termites will invade your house.

Drywood termites

Drywood termites are typically found in the southern and western states. Drywood termites do not require soil contact or above-ground moisture sources to survive. They live (colonize) entirely within the material on which they feed. Including, but not limited to: dead trees, structural timbers, hardwood floors and wood furniture. Generally speaking, drywood termites are larger than subterranean termites. Drywood termites do not have a worker caste, which means they rely on nymphs (immature reproductives) to perform the typical worker tasks.  Drywood termite colonies tend to be much smaller than subterranean termite colonies. The largest mature drywood termite colonies typically have no more than 5,000 termites. Due to the smaller colony size, a drywood termite swarm is smaller than a subterranean termite swarm. Many drywood colonies produce less than 60 swarming alates in a season. Swarms are often the most noticeable sign of any termite infestation. However, drywood termite swarms can be so small that they may be overlooked. Other warning signs for drywood termite activity include groups of discarded same-size wings and small mounds of fecal pellets (frass).

Dampwood termites
Dampwood termites typically are found in the western states, from Washington to Montana and down through California and Texas. They also can be found from central to southern Florida.
As we can see in the dampwood termite pictures, these termites get their name honestly. They are most often found in damp wood, such as logs, stumps and other decaying wood. Most dampwood termites do not require soil contact. Since most homes do not have very moist structural timbers, dampwood termites are not classified as major structural pests in the United States. However, if your home has the proper conditions conducive to infestation, such as damp wood, termites can infest it and build colonies. When dampwood termites infest homes, their point of entry is often wood-to-ground contact. Compared to subterranean termite colonies, dampwood termite colonies tend to be relatively small. A mature colony might grow to only 4,000 termites.
Signs of dampwood termite infestation include small swarms of flying termites and fecal pellets. Both dampwood and drywood termites leave behind small mounds of fecal pellets. However, drywood termite pellets are six-sided and dry, while dampwood termite pellets are moist and not as well defined in shape. It is unlikely that you will see dampwood termite damage, as worker termites typically plug all holes in wood with fecal material.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Excellent Bed Bug Article from Purdue University

I saw this article on a Purdue University extension resource page and had to share.  Just in case someone doesn't want to hyperlink, I have attempted to "paste" this article here.  Here is the link:  extension.entm.purdue.edu/publichealth/insects/bedbug.html
Additional information available @ Arab-Kokomo.com/BedBugs

Bed bugs are well known as annoying biting pests, and they are increasing in importance, including in hotels and other lodging establishments in the U.S. You are encouraged to learn more about the biology of bed bugs and their association with homes, apartments, hotels, and lodging establishments so that you can make more informed decisions about health risks, how to protect yourself when traveling, and whether bed bug control is warranted in a residence or lodging establishment.
Are Bed Bugs a Public Health Risk?
Bed bugs require blood in order to reproduce and complete their life cycle. The effect of bed bug bites varies among people, but they eventually produce red welts that itch. The bites themselves are not painful and typically are not felt. However, frequent feeding can disrupt people's sleep and make them irritable, and seeing bites may cause emotional distress in some people. Heavy rates of feeding can result in significant blood loss and eventually lead to anemia, especially in malnourished children.
At least 27 agents of human disease have been found in bed bugs, including viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and parasitic worms. None of these agents reproduce or multiply within bed bugs, and very few survive for any length of time inside a bed bug. There is no evidence that bed bugs are involved in the transmission (via bite or infected feces) of any disease agent, including hepatitis B virus and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
How Many Types of Bed Bugs Are There?
There is only one species of bed bug in Indiana, Cimex lectularius. This species is a pest of humans worldwide, including the entire U.S., and has over 50 common names, among them "mahogany flat," "redcoat," "wall louse," and "bed louse." A second species of bed bug, Cimex hemipterus, is limited to tropical regions of the world. A third species of bed bug, Leptocimex boueti, lives with and feeds on both humans and bats in West Africa.
An adult bed bug
An adult bed bug, Cimex lectularius
Photo by: Michael F. Potter, University of Kentucky
How Can I Recognize a Bed Bug?
Adult bed bugs are about ¼ inch long, oval, reddish-brown, and wingless. Their body is very flat, and they possess long, slender legs and antennae. They have a long, segmented proboscis (beak) that extends forward when the bug takes a blood meal. At rest, the proboscis lies beneath the body and projects backwards between the legs. Immature bed bugs are known either as "larvae" or "nymphs." They closely resemble adults, but are smaller and less deeply pigmented.
What Is the Life Cycle of Bed Bugs? Bed bugs develop from egg to adult via a process called "gradual metamorphosis." This means the last larval stage develops directly into an adult without passing through a non-feeding pupal stage. There are five larval stages, and each one requires a blood meal before molting into the next life cycle stage. Both adult male and female bed bugs feed on blood and take repeated blood meals during their lives. Females require blood for the development of eggs.
The five larval stages are completed in about a month under suitable conditions of temperature, humidity, and availability of hosts for blood meals. Larvae can survive inside dwellings for several months without a blood meal, but they do not molt into the next life cycle stage until they engorge on blood. Adults can survive even longer under the same conditions, but, again, do not develop eggs unless they feed on blood.
Relatives of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs belong to the family Cimicidae of the insect order Hemiptera, the group of insects known as "true bugs." In addition to the three species that are associated with humans, there are at least 88 species of Cimicidae in the world that live with and feed on bats or birds. Approximately 10-12 species of these bugs occur in the continental U.S., including four species in Indiana. Two species are known as "bat bugs," one is known as a "swallow bug," and one is known as a "purple martin bug." Bat bugs and swallow bugs typically feed on their bat or bird hosts, but will feed on humans if their normal sources of blood are not available. The effects of their bites are similar to those associated with the bites of bed bugs. There is no evidence that bat bugs and swallow bugs transmit disease agents to humans.
There are two additional groups of Hemiptera that bite humans, the so-called "kissing bugs" and "assassin bugs," both of which belong to the family Reduviidae. Kissing bugs feed on the blood of mammals and birds, and transmit a protozoan parasite that causes a disease of humans known as "Chagas Disease." Chagas Disease is widespread in Central and South America, and an occasional case occurs in Texas. Assassin bugs, instead of being blood feeders, are predators on other insects, including crop pests. They are beneficial insects, but they will bite humans if mishandled, and the bites are very painful.
Lifecyce of bed bug
Illustration by: Scott Charlesworth, Purdue University,
based in part on Usinger, R. L. 1966, Monograph of the Cimicidae
Where Are Bed Bugs Found Inside Dwellings? Bed bugs typically are active at night and hide during the daytime. Being very flat, they are able to find a wide variety of places in which to hide. Typical hiding places include beneath loose flooring, behind loose wallpaper, inside box springs, in mattresses, and in upholstered furniture. One common hiding place in hotel rooms is behind bed headboards that are fastened to the wall and another is behind moldings just above the floor. Bed bugs also hide behind electric switch plates and inside appliances. However, sites that have surfaces consisting of plaster, stone, and metal typically do not harbor bed bugs.
Bed bug infestation of a mattress
Bed bugs on a mattress seam
Bed bugs on a carpet
Bed bug infestation of a mattress
Photo by: Michael F. Potter,
University of Kentucky
Bed bugs on a mattress seam
Photo by: Michael F. Potter,
University of Kentucky
Bed bugs on a carpet
Photo credit Michael F. Potter,
University of Kentucky
How Do Humans Influence Bed Bug Development and Dispersal? Human dwellings provide bed bugs with a place to live and access to a source of blood meals. Bed bugs commonly infest larger buildings such as apartments, dorms, prisons, and theaters, but they also can occur in individual hotel rooms and in private homes. There is a common misconception that bed bug infestations occur only in poorly constructed and poorly maintained buildings with unsanitary conditions. However, this is not the case, as explained below. Modern construction has aided the spread of infestations by enabling bed bugs to move from room to room via central heating ducts.
Humans can aid the dispersal of bed bugs from one structure to another via the movement of infested bedding, furniture, and packing materials. Even more widespread dispersal is associated with the movement of travelers via infested clothing, luggage, and lap top computers. International travelers from countries that have heavy bed bug infestations can be a source of bed bug infestations in hotel rooms, and there has been an increasing incidence of bed bugs in lodging establishments around the world, including in the U.S. Bed bugs do not require unsanitary conditions, and bed bugs do not discriminate between economy or luxury hotel rooms. Bed bugs only need a source of blood provided by humans, and they can exist in the cleanest hotels, motels, apartments, and homes.
How Far Do Bed Bugs Travel to Feed and Lay Eggs? Bed bugs typically do not travel far to feed and lay eggs once they become established in a building. Females lay eggs more or less continuously as long as they have access to blood meals. A well-fed female is capable of laying about 500 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs are laid singly in the same sites that harbor larvae and adults. These sites often are marked by masses of bed bug feces, which appear as yellowish to reddish-black specks and contain the remnants of digested blood. Large concentrations of bed bugs may be accompanied by a characteristic sweetish odor caused in part by secretions from scent glands.
What Should I Know About the Feeding Habits of Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs feed on warm-blooded animals. They have a normal host with which they live and on which they feed, but they will feed on other species. For example, bed bug larvae and adults feed readily on humans, bats, and chickens, and they do so when the host is at rest. Thus bed bugs living with humans typically feed at night while a person sleeps, but they also will feed during the day in dark structures such as infested theaters with upholstered seats. Male and female adults usually feed every 3-4 days and become engorged with blood in about 10-15 minutes.
Bed bugs detect carbon dioxide emitted from warm-blooded animals and respond to warmth and moisture as they approach the potential host. On humans, they tend to feed on exposed surfaces such as the face, neck, arms, and hands. Again, the bites are painless, and the host typically is not disturbed while bed bugs feed.
How Can I Avoid Being Bitten by Bed Bugs?
Preventing bed bug infestations is the best approach. This involves thoroughly searching for bed bugs or signs of infestation in any suitable hiding place, such as bedding, upholstered furniture, or packing materials that might be introduced into your home or apartment. You should search for feces, eggs, and shed "skins" of larval bed bugs, as well as for active bed bugs.
When staying in a hotel room, it is good practice to inspect the room for bed bug infestation. Upon arrival in a guest room, check the mattress, box springs, and behind the headboard before using the bed. It is very important to report suspected bed bug infestations to the hotel management immediately so that steps to control the infestation and prevent subsequent spread can be implemented as quickly as possible.
Hotel guests should place luggage and clothing on dressers or on luggage racks. Avoid placing bags and personal items on beds or upholstered furnishings because these types of fixtures may harbor bed bugs. Guests also should be vigilant and keep suitcases, brief cases, and computers and their cases closed when not in use. It is a good idea to search these items prior to vacating the room and again prior to bringing the items inside your home.
What Should I Do About a Bed Bug Infestation in My Residence?
Control of an infestation of bed bugs is very difficult and is best left to professional pest control companies that have both the approved insecticides and the application equipment to effectively treat the various places where bed bugs hide. The representative of the pest control company should examine the residence and describe any pre-treatment responsibilities of the homeowner. For example, eliminating or at least reducing clutter in rooms to be treated is a necessity, and infested bedding may have to be discarded before the infestation is treated.
What Should Hotel Managers Do About Bed Bugs?
Training housekeeping and maintenance staff to check for bed bugs is strongly recommended in order to identify an infestation. A professional pest control company should be contacted immediately if an infestation is found.
Hotel staff should examine guest rooms closely, including sheets and bedding. In infested rooms, sheets and pillowcases used by guests who are bitten by bed bugs may have small bloodstains, which appear as small reddish brown spots. Mattress seams should be examined for brown spots that could be bed bug feces, for shed skins, and for active bed bugs. Cracks and crevices should be examined using a flashlight. Sites to be searched include behind bed headboards, furniture seams, draperies, floor moldings, areas where wallpaper is loose, and behind picture frames and baseboards, especially those located near the beds. If a centralized forced-air heating system exists, the heating ducts in guest rooms should be checked for signs of bed bugs.
Where Can I Find More Information on Bed Bugs?
The following Web site contains accurate and detailed information about bed bug biology and bed bug control.
You can find more information at:  Arab-Kokomo.com/BedBugs
A recent symposium devoted to bed bugs took place at a meeting of the Entomological Society of America. The symposium was published in the journal American Entomologist, Volume 52, number 2, Summer 2006.
We greatly appreciate the information pertaining to bed bugs provided by Dr. Sheryl kline, Department of hospitality & Tourism Management, Purdue University.
An excellent reference book devoted to the biology of bed bugs and their relatives is:
Usinger, R.L. 1966, Monograph of the Cimicidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Thomas Say Foundation, Vol. 7, Entomological Society of America, College Park, MD.

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