Bed Bugs

Immature-Nymph

Immature Bed Bug (Nymph)

About Bed Bugs
Bed bugs (Cimex Lectularius) are small, wingless parasites that feed on warm blooded animals, almost exclusively on human beings. Immature bed bugs, known as nymphs, are very small, translucent and are extremely difficult to see without the aid of a magnifying glass. Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, oval shaped flat insects. They look like apple seeds. They measure about 4mm in length and can be seen with the naked eye.

The bed bug is an almost perfect parasite. It is quiet, stealthy and difficult to eradicate without the assistance of an experienced professional. But probably the characteristic that makes the bed bug such a scary pest is its ability is freak people out. They assault you at your most vulnerable time, when you are sleeping! After feasting on you, they then disappear, leaving you with nasty welts, leaving you waiting for them to strike again. These attacks can lead to sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression and in many documented cases, mild to severe paranoia.

3rd_instar_nymph

3rd Instar Nymph

Bed bugs are not known, at this time, to transmit disease. However, the bites can become infected, which can be a severe issue where there is a chance of exposure to bacterial infections such as staph. These infections are commonly found in such facilities as nursing homes, assisted living centers, hospitals or even colleges.

How Do Bed Bugs Feed?
Bed bugs feed almost exclusively on human blood. They will also feed on chickens. In fact, some canine detection companies train their dogs on bed bugs that have been fed on chicken blood as it is easier to keep them alive. However, bed bugs fed on chicken blood release a different scent, called a phermone, than what a human blood fed bed bug does. This can make a detection dog miss bed bugs in your location. A trained dog is detecting the odor of the bed bug. It does not visually detect them. Bed bugs are usually nocturnal pests, preferring to feed in the predawn hours, after their host has fallen into a deep sleep.

Adult_Bed_Bug

Adult Bed Bug

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However, bed bugs are very adaptable and will change their feeding times to match that of their host’s sleeping pattern.
When not feeding, bed bugs stay relatively motionless, hiding in the smallest cracks and crevices. They are most often found hiding in close proximity of the host’s sleeping area but will also stay in other areas where a host may spend considerable time, such as a couch or recliner. When bed bugs come out to feed, they are drawn to their host by the carbon dioxide and body heat that the sleeping person gives off. When they begin to feed, bed bugs inject an anti-coagulant and an anesthetic in the person which keeps the blood flowing and keeps the host from feeling the bite. It takes the bug about 3-5 minutes to feed, after which they retreat back to their harborage.

What is a Bed Bug’s Life Cycle? Bed-Bug-Photo-lifecycle
Female bed bugs can lay approximately 5 eggs per day and can lay up to 250 eggs in a lifetime. The eggs normally hatch in about 6-10 days and the nymphs actively seek out their first “blood meal.” The nymphs will molt five times during their growth stage and require a blood meal before each molting. Once a bed bug has reached the adult stage, they can live up to a year without a meal.

Who’s At Risk?
People living in multi-family dwellings (apartments, condo’s, college dorms, townhomes): Bed bugs can easily travel between units to infest neighbors.
Travelers: Bed bugs can be picked up in hotels, in cabs, from airplane seats and on shuttle buses between the airport and the hotel.
Health care workers: People that are constantly going into assisted living facilities and/or into patients’ homes have a high risk of carrying bed bugs from one site to another, including their own home.
People buying used furniture and household items. Also, taking items from the roadside or from a dumpster greatly increases the risk of infestation.
Hotel workers, cleaning staff and maintenance workers: These employees can unknowingly carry bed bugs from one room to another as well as to and from their home.
Theater and movie patrons: Bed bugs are increasingly being found in movie theaters, carried there by other patrons.
Parents with family away at college or in the military: Bed bugs are a problem in college dorms and military housing. When a family member returns home for a visit, bed bugs can easily be carried into your home.
People who have frequent visitors and overnight guests: Many infestations have been brought in by homes by friends and family visiting, especially after staying in a hotel.
Employees in cubicles: Bed bug infestations are rapidly on the rise in office buildings that have cloth cubicles and chairs, after being brought in from employees’ homes, by customers and vendors such as cleaning staff, painters and furniture leasing companies.

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