What To Do About Squirrels

You know the old expression "sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite"? Well, it really is an old expression, because the cimex lectularius, or the common bedbug, has existed for thousands of years.

They are a tiny insect, belonging to a species that is typified by its need to have blood meals to survive, their victims being primarily human, but in a pinch, animal blood will do.

Adults can measure as much as 1/5 of an inch, and with their dark brown coloring, can be visible to the naked eye, if you are up to catch them. Because the bedbug gets its name honestly, seeking out victims in the dark of night, those victims are usually in bed.

They are not spawned by dirty environments however. This is a common misconception. What really draws them is a source of warmth and exhaled carbon dioxide. The cleanliness of a room, bed or entire home, really has nothing to do with their presence. The bedbug will crawl into the bed, feed off its host, and return to their dark lairs for the daylight hours, although under especially appealing circumstances, they will emerge in daytime. A well-fed bedbug can go a year and a half without eating again, but their instincts usually lead them to seek a meal, every 6-12 days.

Bedbugs exist in most temperate climates, however they virtually disappeared from North America in the middle of the last century, due to the high toxicity of such chemicals as DDT. But the substances used by many pest control companies today, are primarily meant for cockroaches, and do not have the residual effects that the older formulas did. Plus, they are not consumed by the bedbugs, which means they can return after an initial kill of the bugs present.

If you are discovering itching spots or raised bumps during the day, particularly if they occur in groups of three, you may have bedbugs. A good way to check is to put plain white linens on your bed. Set the alarm for an hour before it gets light, then turn on a flashlight and inspect under the covers. What you could see are small black specks scurrying away from the light. If you have rolled on them and squashed a bug that has fed, there will be tiny smears of blood on the sheet.

Home pest control is an iffy thing, but so is professional extermination, due to the fact that the bedbug is so rare now. There are homemade recipes for spraying in the places bugs will hide, such as baseboards, carpet, under dressers and between the mattress and box spring. While attempting to destroy the pests, you should take other measures with the bed. Place the legs inside dishes of water, and grease the legs with petroleum jelly. Bedbugs do not jump or fly, and their only way up onto the bed, is by climbing.

With severe infestations, you may need professional help. Be sure to check and see if the pest control company you contact has any experience with bedbugs, and ask for references. The National Pest Management Association can help you locate someone in your area.

By Brenda Murphy
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