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Bed bugs – Biology and Behavior
The bed bugs that are infesting homes today are the descendents of cave dwelling bugs that originally fed on the blood of bats. When humans began living in the caves, the bugs began feeding on humans. Later, when humans moved out of the caves and started their agricultural civilizations, the bugs moved with them. Since that time, humans have carried bed bugs all over the world. Bed bugs belong to a family of insects called Cimicidae. All members of this family feed exclusively on blood.
Bed bugs have 5 stages in their life cycle and they live for about a year. Once hatched from eggs, they can reach adulthood in about 37 days under right conditions and they live for about a year. During that time, a female bug can lay as many as 113 eggs. A bed bug colony can double every 16 days in the presence of a host and at the right temperature.
Neem oil’s effectiveness against bed bugs
Neem oil (variously called and mis-spelled as Azadirachta Oil, Aceite de Neem, Neem Oul) is a bio-pesticide approved by EPA for indoor use. It is an extract oil obtained from the seeds of the Neem Tree.
It kills the bugs by messing with their digestive and reproductive systems. It kills damages the development of eggs and kills the nymphs. The Neem oil does all this while being safe to humans and pets. It is breaks down readily and does not leave behind toxic residues.
How to use Neem oil to eradicate bed bugs
Use cold-pressed neem oil spray to kill bed bugs, larvae, and eggs. To make the spray, mix 2 fluid ounces of Neem oil per gallon of water along with 2 fluid ounces of a mild detergent or soap and make a spray. The detergent helps the oil mix with water. Only make as much spray as you can use immediately as the oil will break down quickly in water.
Spray the bed frame, around the baseboards, around the windows, and into every crack and crevice in your bedroom. If a credit card can fit into a crack, so can a bed bug. Be meticulous.
(Of course, this needs to be accompanied by other actions like frequent vacuuming, removal and discarding of bed linens etc., in the infected areas).
(Information about bed bugs in this article are from a great paper ‘Bed Bug Biology & Behavior’ by Virginia Tech researchers Dini Miller and Andrea Polanco. You can find the paper on Google).
Important Note: The Verdana brand Neem oil products sold by www.organicverdana.com do not have EPA's permit for use against bed bugs. The above blog post is for general informational purposes only.
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