- Size: 1/4″
- Shape: Flat, broad, oval
- Color: Mahogany to rusty brown and they turn red after sucking blood
- Legs: 6
- Wings: No
- Antenna: Yes
- Common Name: Bed bug
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Hemiptera
- Family: Cimicidae
- Species: Cimex lectularius
This nursery rhyme may remind you of the horrible, sleepless nights with the nasty bed bug bites. We all know that bed bugs are blood-sucking parasites that are commonly found across the globe. Given a chance, they can infest even the most high-end hotels, cruise ships, mansions, and apartments. With the ever-increasing rate of traveling, there are high chances that you fall victim to these parasites and provide them with a chance of entry to your abode. It may be difficult to find a person, who has not experienced even a single bed bug bite during his/her lifetime. So, it is not fair on our part to remain ignorant about these wingless insects that we nurture with our blood.
Facts About Bed Bugs
Most are aware of some of the basic bed bug facts. It is already known that they suck our blood and feed on it. As you let them (involuntarily) feed on your blood, you will sustain some nasty, itchy bites that may appear like red spots on the skin. Even though you are providing them with food, you will lose your sleep, as bed bugs are active during nights. The following are some bed bug facts that will help you to increase your knowledge about these insects.
✹ Bed bugs are wingless insects that belong to the family Cimicidae, which consists of parasitic insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals.
✹ There are many different species of bed bugs, but the common one that is found across the world is Cimex lectularius, which is said to be highly adapted to the human environment.
✹ It may happen that some people suffer bed bug bites on a regular basis, but are not lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these insects. In order to identify bed bugs, you must know that they are tiny insects with flat bodies that are brownish in color.
✹ Adult bed bugs can have a body length of 4 to 5 millimeters. Their body is covered with microscopic hair and they lack wings. These insects have sharp mouthparts that are adapted for skin piercing.
✹ The eggs of bed bugs are tiny and are whitish and sticky. They may not be visible with naked eyes. The nymphs are straw-colored and are almost translucent. The body size of a bed bug nymph can be compared to that of a pinhead only.
✹ These nymphs undergo molting for at least six times before they reach maturity. A female bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs during her lifetime. It is said that one to five eggs can be laid by a bed bug, after every blood meal.
✹ Coming to the itchy bites, bed bugs pierce the skin of their hosts with the sharp mouthparts. The two tube-like structures in their mouth are inserted into the skin of the host. With one tube, they inject saliva and with the other, they suck blood.
✹ The saliva with anticoagulants prevents the clotting of blood and facilitates smooth feeding. It is said that the saliva of these insects contains anesthetics that make the biting site numb. It takes around 5 to 10 minutes for the bed bug to complete a meal. Till then, the host will not experience discomfort, due to the effect of anesthetics.
✹ One of the interesting bed bug facts is that these insects can live without food for almost a year, in adverse circumstances. But, normally, they ensure to have a blood meal, every five to ten days.
✹ Bed bugs are not found to transmit any disease-causing pathogens. However, their bites can cause an itchy skin rash, which may sometimes cause secondary infections. Those with allergies may develop severe allergic reactions.
✹ As far as the infestation is concerned, they are usually found in locations, where there is easy access to food – human blood. So, these insects are found in the crevices of beds, furniture, carpets, other furniture, and even clothes.
✹ Even though they cannot fly, bed bugs can easily move or get transferred to a new place through infested furniture or luggage kept in an infested place. Even pets may carry these parasites, from one place to another.
✹ Bed bug infestation is usually noticed, as and when the inhabitants develop an itchy rash. Signs of bed bug infestation include small black streaks (feces of the insect) on the mattress and crevices of the bed.
✹ Sometimes bloodstains may be seen on the mattress. You may also come across dead bed bugs (and even live ones). A pest control expert can easily detect such infestation.
Once you detect bed bug infestation, you must take immediate measures to get rid of this problem. Otherwise, you will have to sacrifice your sound sleep and sustain some itchy skin rash. You may either opt for professional pest control or do it on your own. Vacuuming and steam cleaning are two effective methods of eliminating these parasites. You may get rid of heavily infested items, like, furniture, mattress, etc. I hope the above-given bed bug information proves useful for you in identifying these parasites and exterminating them from your surroundings.