Blood sucking insects are major pests that cause us discomfort in our daily lives. One of the notorious flying blood sucking insect is the mosquito. As a vector of dengue, yellow fever, Chikunga, and now Zika, they are one of the most dangerous insects in the world- especially so in tropical countries such as Singapore. Yet, we have a whole category of non-flying blood suckers such as bed bugs, fleas, and head lice. These insects are incapable of flight, and can prove to be a great annoyance. Let’s have a look at their differences so that we can differentiate them and know what we’re up against.
Bed bugs and beg bugs infestation
Bed bugs are small, brownish-red insects that live off the blood of animals and humans. Adult bed bugs are visible with the naked eye, and they can crawl and climb surfaces quickly. Their nymphs are much smaller and harder to detect, and they like to hide in small, confined places. Bed bugs do not live in a human’s body, and they prefer to hide in the crevices of mattress, couches, and headboards. Bed bugs feed actively at night by piercing the skin. Their bites might itchy and swell, and bruise-like rashes might appear if an individual is allergic to bed bug bites. Bed bug bites will appear around the whole body if present, and their bites do not have a red spot in the center. Bed bugs can be detected by observing the bed sheet cover or mattresses for blood stains or dark red/brown spots- their excrement. In severe cases, bed bugs emit a musty odour around the room, and their eggs and shed skin can be found to the trained eye. If your house has a bed bug infestation, time is of the essence. Early treatment of bed bugs can prevent the adults from wandering too far and spreading to other rooms in the house. Eliminating bed bugs from your home can allow you peaceful nights of sleep, free from the bruises and itches when you wake up the next morning. Check your bed carefully for the signs of bed bug infestation, and if these pesky insects are present, call your pest control company immediately.
Fleas and ways to control the pest
Fleas are small and wingless, much like bed bugs. There are reddish brown as well, with flattened bodies for easy movement in animal fur. Adult fleas can be visible to the naked eye, though they differ from bed bugs because fleas can jump large distances from host to host due to their long legs. Adult fleas feed on host blood while their larvae feed on organic debris. They prefer furry animals such as dogs, cats, rats, and mice. There are human fleas and animal fleas (pet flea and dog flea). Human fleas are generally larger than animal fleas, though they equally itch when they bite. An allergic reaction could also occur with flea bites, as with bed bug bites. However, fleas are more dangerous due to their ability to transmit diseases with their bites. Bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases. Flea bites have a red spot in the center, something that bed bug bites do not have, though they might swell and itch as well. Fleas are not known to lay eggs on their hosts- they usually do that on the ground, on carpets or rugs. Therefore, while a flea might not lay eggs on you or your pets, their eggs and larva might hatch and live around your house. Fleas might enter the home through an infected pet or other organism, such as a flea-ridden mouse. The most effective way to eliminate fleas is to avoid flea-infected individuals (pets included), and to use pest control products especially for fleas.
Head lice and its treatment
Head lice are a common problem everywhere – especially in children and toddlers. They only live in the hair of people, not animals, and they are capable of surviving there for a long time if they are not treated. Unlike bed bugs and fleas, head lice can be tricky to spot, even upon close inspection. They are very small whitish or grey-brown insects that reaches a maximum size of a sesame seed. Due to their colour and size, they can be easily confused with a piece of dandruff. Though their egg cases, also known as nits, might be observed in the hair behind the ears or at the back of the neck. Being wingless, head lice do not fly. They do not jump as well, unlike fleas. They spread through direct contact as they are good climbers. Signs of a head lice infection can be seen through rashes on the back of the neck, itchiness at the scalp, and the feeling as though something is crawling through the hair. Unlike bed bug and flea bites, head lice only affect the hair and head, and their bites do not affect the whole body. They can be detected by using a special head lice detection comb, which has very fine teeth to remove these pests. Treatment of head lice is usually done by using lotions and sprays on the head.