Bed Bugs, Bat Bugs & Bird Bugs, oh my!
The most common Bed Bug infestations today occur in a hotel or motel. World travelers who check will sometimes bring uninvited guess with them. When the traveler host unpacks his or her clothing they also unpack and shed eggs, young or adult bed bugs who are always looking for a good place to live. It only takes one female which has fed to start a local infestation. The travel leaves and the bed bugs stay. A pregnant female gets busy laying eggs which in turn hatch and create an infestation.
TRAVEL TIP: When checking in to a new room and before unpacking, check for bed bugs. Look behind wall mirrors or paintings, pull up the sheets and look in the folds of the edge around the mattress and look behind the head board. Do you see any little bugs or something that looks like dirt (which is the excrement)? If yes, take your bags, tell the front desk what you’ve found and request to be move to another room immediately! Here’s a quick video from About.com to show you how.
The second most common type of infestation occurs in homes where bats or birds have been roosting. Bats have a species which are specific to them and will coexist where bats roost. Since bats have been moving into the attics of homes as well as eaves, gable vents and behind shutters so too have these bat bugs. The bat bugs will live off the bats as long as they are present. Since bats migrate depending on temperature and food supplies, so to must the Bat Bugs forage for food when local colonies of bats are gone. Most species can exist several months without eating but extended periods without food will cause an exodus which may or may not be random. One thing is for sure: Bat bugs will readily find their way into homes and onto people. Once in the home and having found a host on which to live, bat bugs will become established just as bed bugs will.
Bird bugs (also known as Swallow bugs or bird mites) become people pests in much the same way. Barnyard swallows seem to be the most likely bird to cause this problem. Innocent nests are formed under eaves, around soffits and down chimneys which in turn hatch young birds which bird bugs feed upon. Once the birds mature and leave the nest the bird bugs are forced to migrate in search of food. This, much like the migrating bat bugs, leads them inside bedrooms and ultimately to the people who sleep there. Once the new host is found populations are able to grow and thrive.
Bed Bug Bites
Hosts, the people being bitten during the night, may or not have adverse reactions to the bite. The bite itself is not really a bite; it is more of a puncture. The bed bug is armed with a needle like tube which bends in a couple of places. This tube is pushed into the host’s skin and blood is extracted. During this process some saliva from the bed bug will pass into the host. The bed bug will grab the host’s skin using it front legs for leverage. All of these factors could lead to some sensation on the host’s skin. Clearly the most common way people find out they have a problem is because the bite is leaving a mark or some other skin discomfort leading to further investigation. However, it is estimated that as many as 50% of people who are bitten have no reaction so it would reason to say that many infestations of bedbugs are able to exist for many months if not years before someone learns of their presence. People who have reactions are generally reacting to the insect’s saliva. Such reactions include an itching sensation, a burning feeling; swelling, red marks much like a flea bite and described most commonly as a welt.
Bed Bug FAQ’s