Important Bedbug Facts You Should Know
- The common bedbug, from the arthropod family, is also known as Cimex lectularius and is best adapted to human environments. It is found in temperate climates throughout the world and has been known to man since ancient times.
- Adult bedbugs are brown, but appear reddish brown after feeding. They have a flattened, oval, and wingless shape with microscopic hairs that give them a banded appearance. A common misconception is that they are not visible to the naked eye, but adults grow to about 5 millimeters (three-sixteenths of an inch) in length and do not move quickly enough to escape the notice of an attentive observer.
- Female bedbugs can lay up to five eggs in a day and 500 during a lifetime. The eggs are almost invisible to the naked eye and are a milky white tone in color.
- The female lays her eggs, about 1 millimeter in length, usually in clusters of less than 50. She uses a sticky substance to glue her eggs to rough surfaces. Eggs hatch in 1 to 2 weeks.
- The eggs hatch into nymphs. The nymph must consume a blood meal before it can molt. It molts 5 times before reaching adulthood. In warmer temperatures, the nymph stage may last just 3 weeks; in cooler temperatures, nymphs may take many months to mature.
- Newly hatched bedbug nymphs are translucent and lighter in color than adults. They continue to become browner and molt as they reach maturity. Nymphs go through five stages of growth and can range in length from 1.5 millimeters to 4.5 millimeters.
- Bedbug offspring look like smaller versions of their parents. First stage nymphs are colorless, but with each molt, the nymph darkens. White eggs measure less than 1 millimeter in length, and may be laid singly or in clusters of up to 50 eggs.
- Bedbugs cannot jump or fly. They can only crawl and are unable to move very fast.
- Bedbugs mostly move around at night. However, if you spot any unexplained spots of blood on bedding, sheets or mattresses, suspect a bedbug. In some cases, you might be able to spot a bed bug as a very tiny dot moving around on a sheet.
- Bedbugs migrate from one location to another and may often be found in places other than a bed. Some of the most common places bedbugs like to move and hide in are inside mattresses, walls and cushions.
- Bed bugs are generally active only at night, and their peak attack period is usually roughly an hour before dawn. They will sometimes, however, attempt to feed at other times of day if food is near.
- Attracted by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide, the bed bug pierces the skin of its' host with two hollow tubes called proboscis. With one tube, it injects its' saliva which contains anticoagulants and anesthetics. With the other, it withdraws the blood of its' host.
- The host will not feel the bite while it is occurring due to the anesthetic the bed bug has injected, but will feel the effect of the bite later, sometimes days later.
- After feeding, with a typical meal lasting about 5 minutes, the bug returns to its lair. Although bed bugs can live for up to 18 months without a food source, they will not voluntarily abstain from food for that entire time; if a food source is available, they will usually seek food on a weekly basis at the very least.
- While bed bugs have been known to harbor pathogens in their bodies, including plague and hepatitis B, they have not been linked to the transmission of any disease and are not regarded as a medical threat.
- Bed bugs leave small, red bite marks on the skin. These bumps can itch severely. In many cases, these bumps appear in a line or curve, which indicates that the bedbug feasting on blood it extracted from your body was moving around as it enjoyed repeated feeding sites. Bed bugs may also travel in packs of about three when they are feeding.
- People who have sensitive skin might note wheels, or inflamed, raised patches of reddened bumps in a circular pattern nearly eight inches across. This is indicative of an allergic reaction.
- Some people may experience intense, rash-like itching and raised welts that look like hives. Blisters, raised fluid-filled skin inflammation, or swelling in localized areas are also common signs of bed bug bites. These blisters may itch severely and become quite painful, often getting worse before showing signs of improvement. In some individuals, the blisters may contain a pus-like substance that appears in clusters on various locations on the surface of the skin.
- Bed bugs can live for up to 18 to 24 months without a food source which makes them very difficult to get rid of. Therefore vacating a domicile is generally not a solution to the problem.
- Due to the thin, flat nature of their bodies, bed bugs are able to hide in cracks and crevices. They often will congregate in locations within a dwelling that are shielded from sunlight, including the seams and inside cushioning of mattresses and chairs, bed frames, and baseboards.
- Although bed bugs can hide individually, they are social creatures and more often will congregate in groups.
- With the widespread use of DDT in the 1940s and '50s, bed bugs all but disappeared from North America in the mid-twentieth century. DDT was banned in 1972 because it was found to be toxic to humans, animals, and our planet; including our water supply. Although DDT was very effective in pest control, the US Government decided that the risks far outweighed the benefits.
- Since the Ban of DDT, known as DichloroDiphenylTrichloroethane, the resurgence of bed bugs has increased all over the world and infestations have grown dramatically.
- Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not attracted to filth or dirt but to their food source - the blood of warm-blooded mammals.
- Be vigilant and frequently inspect your living environment, especially all beds and bedding, furniture, curtains, rugs, moldings, baseboards, and behind wallpaper.
- Bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers so inspect your personal belongings before bringing them into your home. Some of the places bed bugs like to hitch a ride on are luggage, handbags, books, clothing, shoes, packages, people, and even animals such as dogs and cats.
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