Bedbug: The Importance Of Intervening Now

The bedbug feeds on blood and only comes into contact with the host at the time of feeding.

Since the blood meal takes about ten minutes on average (3 to 15 minutes), the bedbugs tend to nest in close proximity to all those places where a guest sleeps (or stops in a quiet state) for the time necessary to reach him, feed and return to hiding. It is better then if in the dark or in conditions of low ambient light because they are insects that tend to light up. The greater the road to reach the host, the greater is the risk of being exposed to predators and/or parasites and of being sighted by the host.

The bugs therefore tend to nest very close to their host and, considering that they sting only on exposed skin, near where it is easier to feed. In beds, for instance, infestations practically always start on the head side, as it is easier to reach face, neck, hands and arms, which are not protected by night clothes and often remain outside blankets and sheets.

Except in rare cases, an infestation originates from a very small number of specimens, introduced in the new environment in an accidental way or coming independently from adjacent already infested contexts. Within a few days, the bugs locate a “hot spot”, i.e. a place where the guest sleeps or stays for a long time, they reach it and begin to nest in the immediate vicinity, choosing the best and closest positions to the guest. It is common belief that, at this point, the bugs immediately begin to reproduce at great speed, increasing in number exponentially.

Things actually proceed in a very different way. The increase of population in the first phase of the infestation is in reality very small and does not exceed, when it goes well, some tens of specimens. After that, the infestation remains in a quiet state for some weeks, that is, the time necessary for the newborns to reach the adult stage and begin to lay the eggs. It is at this point that the population increase tends to become exponential and the infestation “takes off”. But between the moment of the “contagion” and that of the “take-off” there is a time window of 5-6 weeks, during which the bugs are few, they tend to remain altogether in the same nesting and it is possible to locate and eliminate them in an easier and faster way.

In essence, identifying new infestation phenomena at an early stage avoids having to deal with more serious and more difficult phenomena later on. This information is obviously completely useless when intervening on the isolated case, but it is of fundamental importance when setting up protocols to manage the problem in high-risk situations.

By carrying out checks and inspections every 4 weeks, in fact, you never leave enough time to reach the “exponential” phase and you always have to deal with small phenomena. After 5-6 weeks, it was said, the infestation takes off, the bugs begin to reproduce frantically and colonize, on the basis of the mechanisms already described above, first the best positions and then, gradually, all the other available points gradually moving away from the host.

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