A small shameless insect that is becoming difficult to control so at it seems. Bed bugs can be found anywhere nowadays. Homes, public vehicles, offices, fields and open places. Sometimes they seek shelter in humans clothing’s and tend to shamelessly surprise you when you least expect in broad daylight.

Bed bugs, cohabiting with humans but a foe to majority it seems is a global resurgence. This has seen the creatures small, oval shaped insects smaller than a grain of rice becoming a problem in cities and villages across the world over the past two decades. 

Global travel has allowed this insects the biting insects to leap continents hidden amongst the luggage of unknowing passengers and thus has made it easier for them to spread. Recent studies further suggest that once they adapt to a place it even becomes more hard to treat.

Over the years, bed bugs have acquired three different mutations in the genes coding for sodium channels. This prevents insecticides from binding to them. According to Warren Booth a postdoc researcher in North carolina.

Booth teeming up with his graduate Cari lewis they collected a huge number of bed bugs UpTo 233 for studies especially in sequencing the the bugs DNA. They were looking for mutations that codes with the sodium channel.

This channel is important for nerve function in bed bugs and human alike. It sits inside the cell membrane of every neuron in the body. When it opens, it let’s positively charged sodium atoms or ions flow form the outside of the neuron to the inside. This causes the neuron to spike allowing messages to be relayed around the body.

“Whenever you have one of the mutations it results in a several hundred-fold resistance to pyrethroid insecticide. If you have both mutations that can ramp up to around 16,000 fold. It means you are not going to kill them. You  can pour a bucket load of insecticides on them and it’s still not going to have an effect.” Booth had said.

He further added that, over time samples of bugs from 2018-2019, 84% of the bugs had acquired two mutations in their sodium channel gene, giving them total protection. 

“Pretty much of every bed bug you see today has both mutations, which is really bad because you are not going to kill them. You cannot go down to your local hardware store and buy an over the counter insecticide and expect that to do anything. You really need to get professional pest control.” Booth had highlated in his report.

According to Booth, bed bugs are also changing their behavior to avoid being poisoned. 

“If you look around at bed bugs they are pretty flat to the ground, however we are seeing some now that can stand up and keep their body off surface, allowing them to minimise the part of the body that comes into contact with the insecticide.”  He had said.

With this, having areas surrounding us full of bed bugs that awaits for the darkness to look so that they can attack for their meals. It means you will forever waste your few coins purchasing insecticides that will never work in your favor.

All about bed bugs

Bed bugs are most active during a five hour period overnight. Between 12am and 5am. We are more likely to be in seep sleep and less likely to wake and interrupt feeding. This insects go to sleeping humans by the help of two things, carbon dioxide emissions and body heat. They can sense CO2 from around 3ft away and body heat slightly closer.

During feeding, bugs probe the skin with their mouthparts searching for blood capillaries. It may not find the capillaries in the first bite meaning that victims suffer several bites. Feeding normally takes five to 10 minutes before the bug retires to a crack to digest a meal and it could take Up to a week before it needs to feed again.

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Bites reaction and prevention

Bed bugs bites causes itchy welts or rashes in the skin. Sometimes, the swellings assume the shape and size of a pimple but more harder. This reactions thou vary from one person to another and some people may not show any visible signs of being bitten.

To notice them, one has to be keen about his surroundings, while it’s not so obvious that you will see them during the day, you can notice their infestation including some small reddish-brown fecal spots on bedding, molted exoskeleton and a sweet musty odor.

More often prevention involves regular cleaning, sealing cracks and crevices. Cracks and crevices and normally their hiding and breeding zone, so this is the most ideal  place to control them from. Being cautious while traveling is also important, this helps avoid bring them back to your home or house from foreign places. Insecticide method is the more efficient control method especially when professional guidance is sought after. Heat treatment is another method that many people talk about even thought it is no longer that active against the bugs.

Its good to note that bugs have not been known for disease infection or transmission however their bites can equally lead to secondary infections if scratched excessively. Be careful.