What are bed bugs anyhow? Cimex lectularius(for all of our friends in the scientific community), have been a part of our world for thousands of years. More commonly known as the “bed bug”, it is of a species that feeds exclusively on warm blooded animals. And preferably human whenever possible! They are referenced in early Greek writings during the time of Aristotle. They were also first mentioned in Germany, France and England during the 11th, 13th and 15th centuries respectively. Some of these earlier cultures held the belief of using these parasites for medicinal purposes, such as ear infections and snakebites.
What are Bed Bugs and Where do Bed Bugs come from?
Bed Bug Bites on Human Host
Bed bugs are small parasitic insects. They are attracted to their hosts by the presence of warmth and primarily the emissions of carbon dioxide emitted from the host. Their survival is dependent upon obtaining the nourishment needed without any benefit of killing their hosts. They are not known to transmit disease the way that ticks, mosquitoes and other parasite insects do. However, they are the culprit of a number of medical conditions. This may include hypersensitive skin disorders and other mild allergic symptoms. The psychological trauma of being bitten moreover, has caused many of their victims a sleepless night.
By the early 1940′s, the bed bug population had been mostly eradicated in the industrialized world due to the widespread usage of DDT. And while they remain a prevalent force throughout the undeveloped world, infestations in developed countries have since been reported with more regularity.
While an exact cause for the more recent explosion is unclear; it has been ascertained to the infrequent exchange of second-hand goods between home owners, greater foreign travel abroad, immigration from the developing world, as well as the their increased resistance to pesticide methodology.
So.., What are Bed Bugs? “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” – Sound familiar..!
Signs of Bed Bugs to Look For
Bed Bugs likely invented the game “hide and seek” although they “Hide and Bite” very efficiently. When performing your Bed Bug Inspection, you are much more likely to see blood smears on the sheets, their fecal matter (looks like a mist of dark pencil dot/smear size pinpoints) or the bed bug casings and skin that they have shedded. Bed Bugs will shed their skin five times before reaching maturity. Bed bug eggs are pretty much invisible to the human eye and difficult to get rid of. The fecal matter spray, shedded skin and blood smears are good Signs of Bed Bugs for you to initially focus on.
Some other Signs of Bed Bugs to look for would include blood spots in the corners of the mattress and behind the headboard or any furniture (especially wooden or wicker) immediately adjacent to the bed. Simply pull back the sheets on your bed and look between the crevices of your mattress and at the head of bed, specifically the crevice between the box spring and the mattress. This is a primary hiding place as bed bugs like to be close to you as their primary food source! If you suspect that you have bitten and are suffering from bed bug bites, you can visit Bed Bug Bites Treatment for some relief from that nasty bed bug bite itch!
Where do Bed Bugs Hide
It has been appropriately named “bed bug” from its habitat of choice. It will take up residence anywhere that people sleep. And although they are not strictly “creatures of the night”, this is their most active time of feeding. They tend to congregate in any crack or crevice near their current food source. They can be found in the seams of a bed mattress, within the box springs and bed frames, as well as behind the headboards. Also, other areas that they will reside are in the voids of wicker furniture, behind wall paper, inside wall outlets and underneath carpet seams. And since bed bugs can survive for many months without feeding, even vacant homes can serve as a temporary home.
Where Bed Bugs are Found
Bed Bugs are found in our schools and churches, single-home dwellings, hospitals and assisted living facilities alike. Furthermore, while these parasites are often reported in areas of poor sanitation, they can equally be found in super clean environments. Troubled areas often include dwellings of high turnover rates of nighttime guests. This list is extended to hotels-motels, dormitories, homeless shelters, cruise ships and even movie theaters.
Bed Bug Biology
Bed Bug Picture Hunger Bubbles
Adult bed bugs are two dimensional in their flatness and appearance. They are egg-shaped, lack wings and are a coppery reddish brown hue in color. The adults grow from 4-5 mm in total length and approximately 1.5-3 mm in width. The newborn nymphs are semitransparent and much lighter in color than the adults. The nymphs will darken in color as they moult and reach adulthood. Sometimes they have been mistaken for book lice and ticks. Others have mistakenly identified adult bed bugs as young cockroach nymphs. The minuscule size alone of these pests will require magnification to properly identify these infamous hitchhikers.
Through the release and transmission of pheromones and kairomones, they communicate the necessary information they need to survive in reference to feeding, nesting locations and reproduction.
What are Bed Bugs and how does the Bed Bug Life Cycle Concern Me
The Bed Bug Life Cycle is very important to understand if you desire to completely eradicate this pest from your home. The life expectancy of this insect varies among the species; it is contingent of atmospheric temperatures, compositions and local feeding opportunities. They can survive a wide range of diverse conditions and temperatures. However, bed bugs do not fair well within high concentrations of carbon dioxide. They have been known to survive several days at temperatures as low as 14.0 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 113.0 degrees Fahrenheit.
So.., What are Bed Bugs? As you can see, they are a formidable pest that are just downright nasty! With some effort on your part, bed bug awareness and some basic knowledge of Signs of Bed Bugs to Look For – you can beat them too. Learning How to Prevent Bed Bugs at Home is the key! For more on what are bed bugs and bed bug prevention, please feel free to visit Bed Bug Prevention at Home Part 2.
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