Bedbugs are small flattened blood-sucking apterous insects, 4-5 mm in size. They belong to the order Hemiptera and family Cimicidae. There are many species of bed bugs, most are pests of birds, some are pests of bats and others are pests of rodents. The two that are of interest to humans and which are similar in morphology and biology are: Cimex lectularius L: It is the…
Cimex lectularius L: It is the only species found in Greece.
Cimex hemipterus Fabr.: It is found only in tropical areas.
Bed bugs live in groups in dry, narrow and sheltered spaces, such as beds, seams and folds of mattresses, seams and tufts of pillows and curtains, under wallpapers, under tables, under carpets, in furniture (sofas, armchairs, bedside tables), in crevices , cracks and crevices in floors, window and door frames, electrical sockets and switches, etc.. They also leave their eggs in these places. Bed bugs remain hidden during the day and only come out at night to search for food.
They are always spread by transporting various objects (such as furniture, tables, beds, mattresses, etc.) and never by humans.
Areas with a large population of insects have a characteristic odor especially when they are not ventilated. Bed bugs have the ability to excrete black hemoglobin residues after each bloodsucking and create characteristic black spots, indicative of their presence in a space.
Bedbugs approach humans only to suck blood and feed, sensing their presence by CO2 which it emits and then they return to their hiding places. Usually during their lifetime they need five meals, usually one per pupal stage.
The female lays during her lifetime a total of 200-500 white-white eggs in groups of 10-50 eggs. Eggs hatch in 4-21 days depending on temperature, 7 days in 25 οC, less to 27 οC. Their metamorphosis is incomplete (they belong to the semi-metamorphic insects) and the nymphs resemble the perfect ones but are smaller in size. They have five (5) nymphal stages.
The development time of the bed bug (egg-nymph-adult) is completed in 5-10 weeks. The duration of the pupal stages is usually 5-8 weeks, and the lifespan of adults exceeds a year. Bedbugs can withstand long periods of starvation (up to 4 months) that vary according to the stage of development and the leaf of the insect, thus lengthening their biological cycle.
Bed bugs are sensitive to temperatures below 15 οC and above 37 οC as well as in high humidity. Temperatures 44-45 οC are usually fatal.
The health significance of bed bugs is limited, they are not considered to carry disease to humans. There is no evidence that they are natural vectors of human and animal pathogens. This is mainly attributed to the short contact and use of only humans as a host by C. lectularius.
In Africa, the transmission of the Hepatitis B virus with bed bugs has been recorded, just as pathogens of leprosy, leishmaniasis (kala-azar), etc. have been experimentally transmitted.
Because bed bugs can hide in unusual and unpredictable places, any application should be preceded by a systematic inspection by moving furniture, beds, etc. lifting mattresses, carpets, rugs, etc.
The systematic use of special bed bug detection traps (Bed bug detector) helps us to establish their presence in order to take immediate measures. After establishing their presence, we take the following measures:
- We collect all bedding, covers, curtains, etc. and after washing them at a temperature higher than 49 οC, then we dry them at a temperature above 60 οC for a time longer than 20 minutes.
- We use high absorbency vacuuming in bed bug shelters to remove bed bugs and allergens such as their droppings.
- We collect the bed bugs that we see that are left using sticky tapes.
- We use silicone to seal cracks and crevices in floors, walls, cases, etc. that we consider bed bug havens.
- We implement a fight program using:
a) Special insecticides in residual spraying with combined use of a suitable larvicide and aphidicide formulation (if the combination is permitted). We carefully spray the places where the bed bugs are hiding. Mattresses and bedding are sprayed and sealed in special cases for a long time and must be carefully cleaned before being reused.
Use of fumigation insecticides and aerosols also help to deal with bed bugs.
b) Non-toxic methods :
1. Thermal method 'THERMOKIL', a new flexible method of producing and using heat against insects. The heat treatment of a space with application of temperature 56 οC in its coldest part for 20 minutes, achieves complete control of bed bugs.
2. Κρυονική μέθοδο CRYONITE®, με ψεκασμό διοξειδίου του άνθρακα στα σημεία που συγκεντρώνονται οι κοριοί. Το μηχάνημα εφαρμογής CRYONITE με το ειδικά σχεδιασμένο ακροφύσιο και την υψηλή ταχύτητα εφαρμογής μετατρέπει το υγρό CO2 in the form of dry ice (snow) with a temperature of -78 οC, resulting in the instant death of insects (in our case, bed bugs).