Bed bugs or Cimex Lectularius are a pest of exposure. They can easily spread from location to location by contact and hitching a ride on clothing, a suitcase, purse or any personal belonging. Adult bed bugs are the size of an apple seed, reddish brown, flattened oval and do not have wings. Newly hatched nymphs are translucent, lighter in color and become browner as they molt and reach maturity. Bed bugs live by feeding exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals. They are not connected with home or personal hygiene and can literally affect anyone.
Bed Bugs feed on mostly human blood and can survive over a year without feeding on a host, however, normal feeding habits are every 5 to 10 days. Bed bugs are attracted to their hosts primarily by carbon dioxide and secondarily by body heat. Bed bugs will pierce the skin of its host with two hollow tubes that are shaped like tongues. First the bed bug will inject its saliva with one tube, which contains an anticoagulant and anesthetic. The second tube withdraws blood of its host. Feeding takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
When bed bugs are not feeding they hide in a variety of places, they can be found in box springs, seams of mattresses, cracks in the bed frame and headboard. If a room is heavily infested, bed bugs can be found in furniture, folds of curtains, dresser drawers, electrical outlets, appliances, picture frames and even the head of a screw.
Bed bugs are not life threatening and do not transmit disease. They can produce emotional and psychological symptoms beyond the physical bites and are very unpleasant to deal with. Bed Bugs tend to be most active at night but are not nocturnal. The name “bed bug” is derived from the insect’s preferred habitat. Bed bugs will generally reside anywhere where people rest or sleep for any long period of time and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts. Other names for bed bug are wall louse, mahogany flat, crimson rambler, heavy dragoon, chinche and redcoat.
Life Cycle of a Bed Bug
A female will lay on average about 5 eggs a day and about 200-250 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs hatch in about 6-10 days. The newly hatched bed bugs are called nymphs and will molt five times before reaching adulthood which takes about three weeks. They will need to feed at least once before each molt. Under normal circumstances an adult bed bug will live for about ten to eleven months.