They’re back—the dreaded nighttime invaders, bedbugs, have returned with a vengeance!
Nine cities have been hit particularly hard by bedbug infestation: Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio, Denver, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; New York, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Washington, D.C. With an average lifespan of 10 months and a willingness to crawl up to 100 feet to feed, bedbugs are difficult to eradicate and persistent. Though at .0055 ml they consume less blood with their bites than other pests like mosquitos and horseflies, bedbug bites can be painfully itchy and students in medical assistant programs may encounter patients suffering from their bites. Even a certified medical assistant can find it challenging to identify bedbug bites, as their appearance and itchiness varies for individuals.
A female bedbug lays 200-500 eggs in their lifetime, making their eradication a challenging task. Bedbugs begin their lives colorless until they turn a reddish-brown after their first feedings. In the two to three months it lives as a nymph, a bedbug will go through five juvenile stages during which it will shed its exoskeleton. Though nymph bedbugs can survive for months without feeding, they require a blood meal in order to molt. By secreting alarm pheromones, nymph bedbugs protect themselves from adult male bedbugs looking to mate by traumatic insemination (piercing and inseminating the abdominal cavity.
Adult bedbugs are only 5.5 m, but the discomfort their bites causes can send one to a medical assistant. Though bed bug bites affect people differently, everyone can agree that they want to see the pest eradicated. Speaking of pest control, if you poll 100 exterminators on where they treat bed bug infestations, 89 report treating infestations in apartments/condos, 88 in single-family homes, 67 in hotels/motels, 35 in college dormitories, 9 on various modes of transportation, 5 in laundry facilities, and 4 in movie theatres. Bedbugs are apparently thriving in many environments, much to the dismay of their prey, us!