"Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it”

Sleeping with the enemy

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Bed bug (under microscope)

Do you know exactly who you’re sleeping with at night time? Interesting question one may ask, and very peculiar to document on however as this is the International Animal Rescue Foundations © news and media site which covers all environmental, botanic and and animal affairs then our little critters that lurk beneath the covers of our bed and in the cracks of out floors should also be documented on too considering they are a microscopic species of animal.

Now bug’s and viruses have always fascinated myself although not so much my so colleagues, friends and family, and I can still clearly remember to this day when studying pests and diseases at university my lecturer a keen and enthusiastic bee keeper, entomologist and virologist Professor Crompton jumping around the lecture theatre whenever one mentioned the word “bug” as they are exceptionally fascinating to watch, breed and evolve.

However they can cause havoc in the family home and ruin social living aspects as of their fierceness and destructiveness, as well as their ability to travel from one mammalian to the other and live in the most obscure of places one could possibly imagine.

Most bugs are relatively harmless and go about their daily business without you even noticing there within 0.01cm of you, however as explained above there are many hundreds of species that live and thrive within our bed linen, clothing, to mattresses, shoes, and even upon ourselves feeding of our blood and causing immense suffering to even hospitalisation to inducing allergies and Anaphylaxis a life-threatening type of allergic reaction to skin complaints.

Bed bugs are microscopic/parasitic incest’s that come from the Cimicidae family or better known as “Cimicids” which feed of our blood every night and no matter how much you try to banish them from vacuminfg, opening your bedroom or home windows, to using insecticides I must state you will never get rid of them and that is truly a fact of life.

Where there is a food source as in YOU or an animal such as pet with short hair to long hair then there will be a feeding frenzy, the Cimicidae family of vampires will only feed on warm blooded mammals and not cold blooded, and how they actually become living within our homes is still baffling.

The Cimicidae family are one hell of a strong insect that can withstand even pesticides and the vacuum “to a point” most pesticides will remove them “in living form” however their young that they lay are encased in an extremely strong outer type shell which is untouchable even with the strongest of pesticides or insecticides. Once they hatch though and the pesticides are on them then they shall perish “until the next invasion”.

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Head lice (under microscope)

Cimicids are relatively specialized in their choice of hosts, compared to other bloodsucking insects. Most cimicids have a preferred host but will accept some others when presented with the choice, such as C. lectularius and C. hemipterus, which are most often found among humans but can also survive by feeding on birds, bats, rabbits, and mice. Some subfamilies are restricted to certain types of bats, while one species, P. cavernis, appears to accept only one species of host.

Some people believe that these type of invasive insects actually live on ourselves and upon animals such as the flea Ctenocephalides felis or C. canis and dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus in fact your very wrong, these type of insects need to “travel to live and breed”. All we and animals are to them are a feeding source so no matter how many times you shower, cover yourselves in insecticides your still going to be sucked on alive which is a fact of life. Dust mites, to fleas, and the countless other species of animal and house insects/mites or bugs live in clothing, bedding, and within the small dark warm cracks of floors, carpets, including any type of upholstery and leather.

They will not ever live on you or an animal, we and animals are simply a “feeding host”. These insects need to travel in order to live and gestate from one host to another, then it’s back to the upholstery, bedding, with wooden floors being their main choice “hence why you will be bitten more on the legs and ankles”.

It’s no laughing matter though and as explained they can cause and wreak havoc in the family homes to retail centres, to hospitals causing millions of dollars in lost revenue as of areas needing to be pest cleared with insecticides and pesticides, they can close down schools, hospitals, retail outlets, to even forcing families out of the their homes. (You wouldn’t think that an insect that’s microscopic could actually become that invasive, however they do and multiply rapidly).

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House dust mite (under microscope)

How many species of bugs live within our homes?

Now were talking as this is truly fascinating and before I document further, these insects don’t care how clean you are, how hygienically spruced your house is, to even shaving all your hair of. We and animals are warm blooded so that is their food source hair or no hair, clean or non-clean. The myth that quotes blood sucking insects will only target unclean people to even clean people is simply a myth and utter nonsense.

Bed or dust mites (please note that this is not even a complete list and there are at least 100 more species that still haven’t been fully identified)

The common mite

In total there are 18 species that have been identified because of their destructiveness and allergies to illness they cause that I have listed below and damage to food stock;

All of the listed mites below can bite human skin and result in a cutaneous reaction, as well as transmit other diseases of or affecting the human integumentary system, just because “some live on other species” of mammalians to reptilians” doesn’t mean we are immune from attack and please remember these are just (mites). There is a vast and significant difference between “mites and insects”.

  1. Acarus siro
  2. Glyciphagus domesticus
  3. Carpoglyphus passularum
  4. Cheyletiella spp
  5. Cheyletus eruditus
  6. Dermanyssus gallinae
  7. Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (house dust mite)
  8. Lepidoglyphus destructor
  9. Leptotrombidium deliense
  10. Liponyssoides sanguineus (Allodermanyssus sanguineus)
  11. Ornithonyssus bacoti
  12. Ornithonyssus bursa
  13. Psoroptidae spp (carpet mite)
  14. Pyemotes herfsi
  15. Sarcoptes scabiei
  16. Trombicula alfreddugesi
  17. Trombicula autumnalis
  18. Tyrophagus neiswanderi (cheese mite)

The common or household bed bug, or Cimex lectularius, is found worldwide. These insects adapt well to human environments and typically live in temperate climates. A number of other pests resemble bed bugs in habits and appearance.

The tropical bedbug, or Cimex hemipterus, was only recently discovered by the Medical Entomology Department, ICPMR. Found in tropical regions such as Florida, this species infests poultry and bats.

Leptocimex boueti, or bat bugs, have also been observed in tropical regions. This species feeds primarily on bats, although they do sometimes select human hosts. Bat bugs and bedbugs are extremely similar in appearance and one can only distinguish between them through microscopic examination. Other species, such as Cimex pilosellus and C. pipistrella, also target bats.

Located primarily in North America, the Haematosiphon inodora, or Mexican chicken bug, also closely resembles the common bed bug. However, these insects are typically found on poultry farms and choose bird species and domestic fowl as hosts.

Barn swallow bugs resemble bed bugs as well. Although barn swallow bugs feed primarily on cliff swallows and live in swallow nests, they have been known to enter human dwellings when bird migration occurs. It is important to accurately identify bed bugs before beginning treatment of an infestation: incorrect control methods will prove ineffective and may be harmful to small children, pets and furnishings. Contact your local pest control experts to arrange an inspection and consultation. http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef636.asp

Bed Bugs identified in 1802 I have documented below;

  1. Afrociminae
  2. Cimicinae (most common)
  3. Cacodminae
  4. Haematosiphoninae
  5. Latrocimicinae
  6. Primicimicinae

All six species are categorised as “the subfamilies” of the main species of bed bug more commonly known as Cimex lectularius which derives from the arthropod family an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body, and jointed appendages. (Are we itching yet?)

Fleas have to the be one of the most disruptive, disease spreading “type insect” that I know of and as an environmentalist they do actually make me itch just writing about them. Some may think there is actually only one species of flea however there are over 2,000 species of Fleas the family name for the flea is Siphonaptera but the most destructive are named below that can cause major animal and human, including commercial business shut down if a major infestation breaks out.

The most common named and known fleas;

  1. Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)
  2. Dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis)
  3. Human flea (Pulex irritans)
  4. Moorhen flea (Dasypsyllus gallinulae)
  5. Northern rat flea (Nosopsyllus fasciatus)
  6. Oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis)

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Human tick (under microscope)

The canine and human flea can be most traumatising for animals causing major upset and illness to form to passage for other diseases and viruses knocking the immunity of the canine and feline badly to even causing in rare cases death. They are not very nice insects to have located on ones animals nor in the home and I do highly recommend that should you adopt a canine or feline that you de-flea on a regular basis or you could be in breach of the Animal Welfare Act within your state or continent if that animal[s] suffer.

The human flea though not many people are aware off, and wow they can cause some damage that I have documented on in brief below.

This species bites many species of mammals and birds, including domesticated ones. It has been found on dogs and wild canids, monkeys in captivity, opossums, domestic cats, wild felids in captivity, chickens, black rats and Norwegian rats, wild rodents, pigs, free-tailed bats, and other species. It can also be an intermediate host for the cestode, Dipylidium caninum.

People with fair skin and red hair are more likely to be infested with the human flea. Flea bites are typically red and inflamed. Overall symptoms include itchiness, and rashes. Fleas can spread rapidly move between areas to include eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic regions.

Common treatments include body shaving and medicated shampoos and combing, however if you don’t treat the source then you will never banish this pest (and that is what they are, a pest) they do no good to this planet, they do not pollinate, nor do they help other species live.

They don’t just live in the house too outdoors fleas are most prevalent in locations that have relatively high humidity and moderate daytime temperatures. They favour shaded, protected areas such as animal enclosures like a kennel and doghouse, as well as crawl spaces in which pets rest and vegetation located next to buildings.

In the past, it was most commonly supposed that fleas had evolved from the flies (Diptera), based on similarities of the larvae. (Some authorities use the name Aphaniptera because it is older, but names above family rank need not follow the ICZN rules of priority, so most taxonomists use the more familiar name).

Genetic and morphological evidence indicates that they are descendants of the Scorpionfly family Boreidae which are also flightless; accordingly it is possible that they will eventually be reclassified as a suborder within the Mecoptera. Their evolution continued to produce adaptations for their specialized parasitic niche, such that they now have no wings and their eyes are covered over. The large number of flea species may be attributed to the wide variety of host species they feed on, which provides so many specific ecological niches to adapt to. In any case, all these groups seem to represent a clade of closely related insect lineages, for which the names Mecopteroidea and Antliophora have been proposed.

Flea systematics are not entirely fixed. While, compared to many other insect groups, fleas have been studied and classified fairly and thoroughly, details still remain to be learned about the evolutionary relationships among the different flea lineages.

Fleas can cause many diseases to occur the most common is “Cat Scratch” Cat scratch disease is a bacterial disease caused by Bartonella henselae. People with weak immune systems are at increased risk of getting seriously ill with cat scratch fever. Young cats and kittens are most likely to be the source of human infection and about 40% of cats carry these bacteria at some point in their lives. The infection, which rarely causes disease in cats, is transmitted between cats by fleas. Infected flea droppings on the cat’s fur or claws are the source of human infections, which are spread from the cat to a person by a cat bite, scratch or lick. Cat scratch fever can be prevented by practicing excellent flea control and by avoiding cat bites or scratches.

The RAREST form of flea disease is the plague – Plague is a serious infection of humans caused by bacteria called Yersinia pestis. It is usually caused by the bite of a flea that has fed on an infected wild animal, such as a rat, chipmunk or prairie dog. It usually causes large sores and abscesses in the glands of the arms and legs. Dogs, and especially cats, can also become infected and can spread the disease to their human companions. While plague has been found in wildlife in many parts of the state including Western Washington, human cases are rare. The most recent human case was in Grant County in 1984. Plague is treatable with antibiotics.

All of the named above SLEEP WITH YOU AT NIGHT – What a feeding frenzy of disease and viruses, however like explained you can keep these mites, and fleas at bay using professional and domestic pesticides “you cannot stop them though” unfortunately.

Humans are a favourite cuisine for millions of microbes, mites, worms and bugs. In other words, we humans are the most suitable habitat and a ‘walking ecosystem’ for these hungry bugs. Here is a list of some of the hungriest and creepiest that might be feasting on you right now as you sleep.

  • Head lice
  • House dust mite
  • Mosquitoes
  • Human fleas and ticks
  • Bed bugs

I have only named a few species “of many thousands that residing in your homes” to even your rescues, the true extent on documenting them all would take roughly 1-2 years as there are thousands of species that are “feeding of us and our animals.

flea (1)Flea (under microscope)

Remember your never alone

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