Dermatology Dilemmas: Bedbugs (Cimex lectularius): Identifying and managing an infestation
Carol Calianno NP, MSN, CWOCN

$3.95
The Nurse Practitioner
June 2012 
Volume 37  Number 6
Pages 6 - 10
 
  PDF Version Available!

ABSTRACT
Over the past two decades, the incidence of bedbug (Cimex lectularius) infestations has increased dramatically. Prior to this time, bedbugs had been all but eradicated from North America with the widespread use of insecticides.1 Now, infestations have become epidemic in some areas of the United States, largely due to changes in pesticide formulations and pesticide resistance.1,2 Bedbugs can be found in schools, airplanes, hospitals, hotels/motels, movie theaters, multiresidence buildings, and private homes. Bedbugs are a problem in suburban towns as well as larger cities, and many communities have put significant funding into ridding schools and other facilities of bedbugs only to find the infestation was not eradicated. While bedbugs can affect a large variety of geographic areas, infestations most commonly impact inner city, lower income populations. This article reviews basic information about life cycle and feeding habits of bedbugs and discusses types of bite reactions with suggestions for treatment of bites, how to confirm an infestation, and helpful resources for providers and patients on how to prevent and treat infestations.Bedbugs are blood-sucking ectoparasites that feed solely on the blood of mammals and prefer a warm, dormant host.1-4 When the eggs hatch, they are pale, translucent, or straw-colored insects called nymphs. Nymphs go through five molts before reaching adult size.1-4 They must feed before each molt and adulthood is reached when they are able to reproduce. Adults are 5 to 7 mm in size and are easily visible without magnification (see Adult bedbugs). Adults are reddish brown in color with thin, vertically flattened bodies and six legs.3 They do not have the ability to fly, but can move at high speeds over floors, walls, and ceilings. Adult females lay approximately five to seven eggs per week and can lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime.2-4Although bedbugs can feed on any mammal, they are often attracted to humans during sleep because the person

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