Learn about Bed Bugs
Bed Bug Facts:
The common bed bug (cimex lectalarius) is a nocturnal, parasitic insect that tends to hide in mattresses, bedding, power outlets, and other warm environments.
Bed bugs usually consume human blood, which can cause adverse effects on one’s health. While they are not transmitters of disease, their bites can cause rashes, bumps, and other skin irritations, and trigger allergic reactions.
An adult bed bug is roughly the size of an apple seed, making them difficult to find. There are several signs of an infestation, however, such as fecal stains and shed exoskeletons.
|Flat, short, oval||4 to 5 mm long|
- The first record of bed bugs dates back to the 5th Century B.C.
- They prefer a warm environment.
- They are capable of hiding in mattress seams, baseboards, and other cracks and crevices.
- While often found in hotels, as travelers can bring infested luggage, they can be picked up anywhere, including warehouses, gyms, or even office buildings.
- It is best not to sleep somewhere else if you have a bedbug infestation, as this can cause them to spread further.
Bed bugs have mostly uncomplex habits, only feeding, hiding, and reproducing.
During the day, they tend to find tight spaces to hole up. Every 3 to 4 days, they come out at night to feed on a sleeping host.
If a host is a distance away, they are willing and capable of traveling to the host to feed before heading back to their hiding place.
If left without food sources, bed bugs can survive up to 140 days without any sustenance. Bed bugs will display these habits year-round, only stopping when deceased or exterminated.
While mattresses, box springs, furniture, and small crevices are the most common places where bed bugs reside, any type of fabric works as a habitat.
Clothing, bedding, or luggage can serve as a living space for these insects. Be especially cautious when buying second-hand furniture, as it can become a home for bed bugs, too. While they prefer warmth, they can survive in cold temperatures, also.
Bed bugs reproduce at rapid rates. A single female can lay up to 5 eggs a day, and they are resilient to the effects of inbreeding. In a single female bed bug’s life, it might lay up to 500 eggs. Nymphs tend to reach a stage of adulthood in an average of 5 weeks.
While the average life span of bed bugs is roughly 4 to 6 months, they can live as long as 300 days under ideal conditions.
Bed bugs are incapable of spreading pathogens, so there is no fear of illness or death, but their bites, however, leave their host with swollen, itching bumps.
Furthermore, bed bugs can trigger allergic reactions, or even take a psychological toll on their host, causing paranoia. They are difficult to exterminate, too, so infestations become a lengthy and expensive process to remove if they are not caught quickly.
While they can quickly spread, there are several simple precautions one can take to prevent an infestation.
If you purchase second-hand furniture, then be sure to inspect it thoroughly. Keeping an area clean gives bed bugs fewer hiding places, and encasing your mattresses with a protective cover can also help.
If you have recently traveled, there is no harm in washing and drying any clothing from your luggage on the highest heat to kill any hitchhikers.
Finally, rubbing alcohol both deters and kills bedbugs, so spraying some on your luggage and second-hand furniture can be useful.