Bed Bugs 101
While bed bug infestations have been virtually non-existent for decades, their incredible resurgence since 1996 has allowed bed bugs to repopulate every type of dwelling by the millions. Up to one home in six reports the presence of bed bugs.
Bed bugs are wingless and approximately a quarter of an inch long. Their flattened shape allows them to hide in cracks and crevices during the day. Then, during the night they emerge, attracted to our sleeping, warm bodies. They pierce the skin with their straw-like mouthparts to suck out our blood.
- Color: Brown to reddish brown (after feeding)
- Shape: Broadly oval & flat, looks like an apple seed and is about the same size. Wingless.
Biology and Behavior
- Bed bugs are elusive, nocturnal creatures and come out at night to feed exclusively on blood.
- Bed bugs are very resilient and may live up to 12 months without a blood meal.
- Bed bugs are not caused by poor sanitation or ones social status.
- Bed bugs are not limited to the bed or the bedroom but instead will disperse throughout a dwelling. They will crawl considerable distances to obtain a blood meal.
- Bed bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to where humans rest & sleep. They can be found behind baseboards, upholstery, and in furniture crevices. Other places to check are wall hangings such as picture frames, night stands, stuffed furniture, floorboard cracks, behind loose wallpaper, light switches, door and window frames, conduits, etc. In heavy infestations, bed bugs may be found in wall voids, attics, and other enclosed places.
- You may see evidence of a bed bug infestation without actually seeing any bed bugs.
- Bed bugs can be introduced into a structure via used furniture or in the belongings of someone who has been living in a bed bug infested situation.
- Bed bugs like to travel and will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply.
Bed Bug Bites
While bite symptoms are a good indicator of bed bugs, they cannot be diagnosed with 100% certainty. Medical professionals cannot give a positive diagnosis simply by examining bite symptoms. However since it is a good indicator, it is good to know what you’re looking at when seeing a bed bug bite.
- Bed bugs have not been demonstrated to be effective transmitters of disease.
- Not everyone reacts to bed bug bites and some have delayed reactions to the bite. Bite symptoms often appear in rows of several or more bites.
- Bed bug bite symptoms typically appear as red, itchy welts but can vary from one individual to the next.
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