Bed bugs were almost eradicated in Western countries in the 1940s and 1950s. The use of DDT and better hygiene caused bed bugs to almost disappear. They were still prevalent in other regions of the world such as Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.
A ban on the use of the pesticide DDT in the United States went into effect the end of 1972. With the use of DDT bed bugs had almost disappeared.
Until the last few years bed bugs were not seen as a problem and even pest control professionals rarely saw them. Now bed bugs seem to have come back to the U.S. and even some cities in Canada. They are being found in hotels, motels, apartments, homes, health care facilities, dormitories, shelters and schools. They have even been found in movie theaters, dry cleaners,outlets for rental furniture and offices.
It is believed that immigration and international travel along with less effective pesticides has caused the rapid rise in bed bugs.
Immigration and international travel have undoubtedly contributed to the resurgence of bed bugs in the U.S. Changes in modern pest control practice — and less effective bed bug pesticides — are other factors suspected for the recurrence.
Adult bed bugs are a reddish brown, they are a flattened oval shape and do not have wings. They are tiny but still visible, their length is 4–5 mm and 1.5 -3 mm wide. The babies, or nymphs, are translucent and lighter in color and the size of a pinhead. They become browner as they moult and reach maturity. Bed bugs mature in about two weeks and have up to 500 babies at one time. That cycle begins again after those babies mature in two weeks.
If you bring bed bugs into your home you need help to get rid of them and the sooner you get help the better. Lisa Miller is the owner of Ladybug Pest Control who once treated a house that had let a bed bug problem go for eight months. She had to drill in the walls, they were in the light fixtures, the microwave, she said ,"they we everywhere." Miller said, "I mean it's heartbreaking to tell someone you should take keys and clothes you're wearing or maybe not clothes and leave as if your house burned down. Don't take anything with you."
Bed bugs only food is blood from humans, which they prefer, but also they will feed from other warm-blooded animals such as dogs, cats, birds and rodents. They are mainly active at night and will normally feed unnoticed. This is why they infest areas where people normally sleep.
Some of the cities in the U.S where there are serious problems are places like Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas the Grand Canyon.These are areas popular with international travelers.
Toronto has had major problems with bed bugs.
A new research has found that plastic bowls filled with talcum powder can be useful in the fight against the bugs. In an interview with Dr. Changlu Wang, an entomologist at Rutgers University, he said, "Bedbug interceptors" — $2 Ikea bowls dusted with baby powder and placed under furniture legs— "are very useful tools to monitor and inspect bedbug infestation"
In a study by Wang of 16 Toronto apartments only half were free of bed bugs. The bugs can hide in laptop vents, shoe seams, electrical outlets and the spines of books during the day. They can walk down the hallway in apartment buildings and when they are still eggs a vacuum cleaner might not be able to suck them up.
They have an elongated beak which they use to pierce the skin. It takes from three to ten minutes to withdraw blood then they crawl off to digest their meal.
When staying in a hotel it is suggested to check for bed bugs examine the bed sheets and upper and lower seams of the mattress and box springs. Look carefully along the head of the bed. If bed bugs are discovered ask for another room in a different area. Keep your suitcase off the floor by setting it on a luggage stand or another hard surface. Hang your clothes and do not put them into drawers.
If you notice welts that itch when you return home and before you unpack place your clothing in plastic bags and then put directly into the washer or dryer. Treat the suitcase or throw it away.
There is a Bedbug registry where you can check out any hotel or motel where you are planning to stay. I
A correction is needed as brought to my attention by loubugdr. The females lay 1 or 2 eggs per day and they can lay hundreds during their lifetime.
However according to Wikipedia they are wingless. "Adult bedbugs are reddish-brown, flattened, oval, and wingless."