bugs are in the insect family Cimicidae and include three
species that attack people. Of these, the most important is
Cimex lectularius, which may also bite bats, birds, and rodents.
lectularius is a cosmopolitan species, most frequently found in
the northern temperate climates of North America, Europe, and
Central Asia. It occurs more sporadically in southern temperate
regions. In Florida and tropical regions it is replaced by C.
hemipterus. Problems with bed
bug infestations used
to be quite severe, but with the use of DDT after World War II
the incidence of these pests has been greatly reduced, although
infestations still do occur. Currently this insect can be a pest
wherever sanitary conditions are primitive, or if there are
birds or mammals nesting on or near a house. Crowded and
dilapidated housing can also facilitate the insect's movement
bed bugs are oval, wingless, about 1/5 inch long, and rusty red
or mahogany in color. Their bodies are flattened, they have
well-developed antennae, their compound eyes are small, and the
area behind the head (the prothorax) expands forward on either
side of the head. The immatures appear identical to the adults
except for their smaller size, thinner cuticle, and a lighter,
yellowish white color. Bed bugs are readily distinguished from
another more common bloodsucking species, conenose bugs, by
their smaller size, more rounded shape, and lack of wings as
bed bugs lay from 200 to 500 eggs (in batches of 10 to 50) on
rough surfaces such as wood or paper. Eggs are covered with a
glue and hatch in about 10 days. After hatching, the egg shells
frequently remain on the substrate. There are five progressively
larger nymphal stages, each requiring a single blood meal before
molting to the next stage. The entire life cycle from egg to
adult requires anywhere from 5 weeks to 4 months, depending on
temperature. When temperatures are in the range of 70° to 82°F,
development occurs most rapidly. Nymphs and adults generally
feed at night and hide in crevices during the day. Common hiding
places include seams in mattresses and
box springs, cracks in bed frames, under loose wallpaper, behind
picture frames, and inside furniture and upholstery.
bugs can go without feeding for 80 to 140 days; older stages can
survive longer without feeding than younger ones. Adults have
survived without food for as long as 550 days. A bed bug can
take six times its weight in blood, and feeding can take 3 to 10
minutes. Adults live about 10 months and there can be up to 3 to
4 generations of bed bugs per year.
to 3/8 inch (4-5 mm)
brown or brown
bugs are sometimes called "red coats",
"chinches", or "mahogany flats". The
adult bed bug is a wingless insect that is flattened from
top to bottom.
the beginning of an infestation, bed bugs are likely to be
found only in the tufts, seams, and folds of mattresses and
bed covers. In areas of heavy infestation, bed bugs can be
found in crevices in the bedsteads
life cycle stages of a bed bug are: Egg, Nymph, and Adult.
The females lay about 450 eggs, usually at the rate of up to
50 per day, in cracks and crevices in the floor or bed, and
the eggs attach to any hard surface. Newly hatched bed bugs
begin feeding immediately. They shed their skin five times
before becoming adults.
- Type of Damage:
feed principally on human blood by piercing the skin with a
long beak and sucking blood into their stomachs. They feed
mostly at night, but will feed during the day if hungry and
the light is dim.
private homes, find all areas that bed bugs hide in during
the day time. These must be treated with chemicals. In
hotels, apartments, and other multiple-type dwelling places,
bed bugs may spread from one unit to another using
electrical wires and pipes as highways. All units should be
inspected. Remove bird nests, if any.
discovered in unsuspected areas such as in floor cracks,
under carpets, behind loose wallpaper or wall pictures, in
books, CDs and electrical outlets.