A Global Plague?
Bed Bugs are found throughout the world and are becoming more common in New Zealand, particularly where there is a large turnover of visitors; places such as backpackers, hotels and motels, but you are also at risk in your home.
Bed Bugs hide in cracks and crevices during the day and come out at night to feed on our blood, attracted to the food source by body heat and carbon dioxide from in our breath. They feed by using their hypodermic like mouthparts to penetrate your skin. They then inject you with saliva containing aneasthetic and anti-coagulant proteins to stop your blood clotting. It is these proteins that cause itchy reactions.
The Bed Bug is wingless and therefore likely to be found near to where the host sleeps; in the mattress or bed frame, behind wallpaper and in furniture. They will hide in spaces behind skirting, the seams of mattresses, curtains, furniture etc.
Because they can ingest up to seven times their body weight in blood in one feed, they can survive long periods without feeding. After mating takes place, Bed Bugs will lay up to 200 eggs. The nymphs that hatch out are miniature versions of the adult. There is no larval stage. The nymphs will moult several times over a period of 6-18 months before becoming an adult.
Bed Bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of because they hide so well and there is evidence that they have become resistant to some insecticides, but they can be controlled with thoroghness and persistance.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Control of bed bugs requires a four pronged attack.
If the Bed Bug infestation has become established it may be necessary to repeat this treatment. Always follow the instructions on the products carefully.