Adults average 3/16” (4-5mm) long; broadly oval and flat. Their colour ranges from brown to reddish brown (after feeding). Head with beak/proboscis 3-segmented, not extending beyond front coxae. Ocelli absent. Antenna 4-segmented, 3rd segment longer than 2nd or 4th. Pronotum with front margin deeply concave to receive head, with side margins greatly expanded forward to beyond eyes, pronotum more than 2.5times as wide as long as its middle. Bases (coxae) of middle and hind legs widely separated; tarsi 3-segmented. Front wings vestigial, reduced to wind pads; with contiguous (touching) portions shorter than scutellum (triangular plate directly behind pronotum) in length. Body upper surface sparsely covered with short golden hairs, usually shorter than diameter of 2nd antennal segment. It can emit an “obnoxiously sweet” odour from scent glands.
Bed bugs harbour in cracks and crevices during the day and come out to feed at night. Typically they can be found around mattress buttons and beading in boxsprings or their coverings, and in any crevice of a wooden bed frame, such as at the joint. Other places to check are wall hangings such as picture frames, night stands, stuffed furniture, baseboards, floorboards, behind loose wallpaper, light switches, door and window frames, conduits, wall voids, attics and other enclosed places. They will crawl considerable distances to obtain a blood meal. They can be introduced into a structure via used furniture or in belongings of someone who has been living in a bed bug infestation. Adults can survive for up to 12-18 months without feeding. When the temperature falls below 61F/16C, adults enter semi-hibernation and can survive for months. Bed bug infestations have been found in transportation vehicles such as boats, trains, airplanes and buses as well as in movie theatres where they typically harborage in seats and associated frames. Besides the characteristics obnoxiously sweet odour, the other primary clues to an infestation will be the presence of bedbugs and/or small red to reddish brown fecal spots on surfaces.
A thorough inspection is crucial. Treat any bed bugs found with an appropriately labelled pesticide. Mattress and box spring encasements should be used. In apartment buildings and hotels, it’s advisable to also inspect units to either side and above and below the infested unit, and treat as required. Control of bed bugs involves co-operation with home owners and/or tenants. Depending on size of infestations found, multiple treatments may be needed. Treat night stands, stuffed furniture, baseboards, floorboards, behind loose wallpaper, light switches, door and window frames, conduits, wall voids, attics and other enclosed places with properly labelled residual insecticide. Use insecticide dust in wall voids and under carpet seams. Vacuums are a great way to physically remove bed bugs from an area. Be sure to vacuum cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. Also, when finished vacuuming, treat the vacuum hose and throw away the vacuum bag.
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