Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on blood. The term is used loosely to refer to any species of the genus Cimex, and even more loosely to refer to any member of the family Cimicidaee (cimicids). The common bedbug, Cimex lectularius, is the most infamous species of the family and prefers to feed on human blood. The name of the “bed bug” is derived from the insect’s preferred habitat of houses and especially beds or other areas where people sleep. Bed bugs, Cimex lectularius, have resurged to quickly become a very important pest of the 21st century, as they invade numerous urban areas including apartments, hotels and residences. Recently though, bed bugs have found ample opportunity to increase in number and spread through society. Their success is a result of: increased travel of people; improved treatment methods that specifically target other insect pests; and the lack of public awareness. Bed bugs are oval, flattened, brown, and wingless insects approximately ¼ to 3/8 inch long (5 – 9 mm). After the bug has taken a blood meal, its color will change from whitish- brown to purplish-red. Young bed bugs are much smaller (1/16” or 1.6 mm when they first hatch) and nearly colorless except after feeding, but resemble the adult in general. Bed bugs are active at night and hide during the day. After mating, females lay white, oval eggs (1/16 inch long) into cracks and crevices. An individual bed bug can lay 200 – 250 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs hatch in about 6 – 10 days and the newly emerged bed bug nymphs seek a blood meal. Immature nymphs molt five times (i.e., they shed their outer exoskeleton in order to grow) before reaching adulthood. They need to feed at least once before each molt, although they could feed as often as once a day. There may be an additional three or more generations per year. Bed bugs are parasites that feed on the blood of people and certain animals, and they require these blood meals to grow and reproduce. They live close to areas where people typically sleep, rest, or sit for long periods. Hungry bugs will move out from their hiding places, in search of exposed skin. Typically, the head and neck are bitten, but bed bugs will also bite bare arms, hands, and legs. When searching for a place to feed, these bugs can move very quickly. Once an appropriate site is found, they feed for 2 – 5 minutes until full, and then move quickly away from the person. In addition to bed bugs moving towards a person when they are least likely to be noticed, the result of their bites may also go unnoticed, or can be mistaken for the bites of other pests. All people are not equally sensitive to bed bug bites, so while some victims break out in rashes from the bites, other people may not display symptoms. When a reaction does occur, the results of feeding can be mild (a simple red spot) to severe (rash or even hives). The reaction caused by feeding might be mistaken for other problems. Fleas, mosquitoes and other biting insects, sensitization to detergents and soaps, and irritants (e.g., poison ivy) are some of the conditions victims of bed bugs thought they were dealing with. Bed bugs typically cluster together in favorable harborage areas. However, some bed bugs will live by themselves, away from the majority of the infestation. The best way to determine if you have an infestation is to look for bed bugs where you sleep (or rest) and where you typically set down luggage (or bags) when you enter the residence. Your luggage and places where your luggage may be stored are also some of the first areas to look. In bedrooms, look particularly around box springs, mattresses, bed frames, tufts, folds, and buttons on mattresses, furniture, such as desks and chairs, behind wall paper, clocks and pictures, cracks in wood floors, and under the edge of carpet. While bed bugs are most commonly found in bedrooms, infestations can also occur in other rooms, including: bathrooms; living rooms; and laundry rooms. Dark blood spots on sheets and bedding may indicate bed bug feeding. Bed bugs will sometimes excrete while they are feeding. This results in darker (reddish or brownish) spots or smears placed on bed sheets, pillowcases and mattresses, or in nearby areas. This material is composed mostly of digested blood and the stains care very characteristic. Remember these insects are small (1/16” to 1/4”) and very flat, so they can move into very tight corners and cracks. In some infestations, they were found under picture frames, in between the glass and the frame! Be prepared to do some close inspection and when in doubt, consider having an expert evaluation from Bama Pest Control, Inc.
A number of adverse health effects may occur due to bed bug bites, including skin rashes , psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. Diagnosis involves both finding bed bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms.
Bed bugs have been known as human parasites for thousands of years. At a point in the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have recently increased in prevalence since 1995.
Contact Bama Pest Control today for assistance with bed bugs. Our complete measures involve an extensive on-site inspection and then full treatment to completely eliminate these pests from the premises.