Bed Bug Information, Bites & Symptoms

The Stages of Growth for a Bed Bug

The life and hatching cycle of bed bugs

Bed Bug Facts

Closeup of Young Bed BugBed bugs are small, flat insects that feed on the blood of sleeping people and animals. They are reddish-brown in color, wingless, and range from 1 to 7 millimeters in length. Under ideal circumstances bed bugs can live up to a year without a feeding.

Infestations of these insects usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep or spend a significant period of time. These areas include houses, hotels, apartments, shelters, nursing homes, hospitals, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms.

Bed bugs are experts at hiding. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dressers, night stands, in cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, and under any clutter or objects around a bed. Their small flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and they can remain in place for long periods of time, even without feeding. Bed bugs can travel over 100 feet in one night, but they usually live within 8 feet of where people sleep.

Bed Bug Eggs and SheddingBed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. They travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight
bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else they can hide. Most people don’t realize they can transport stow-a-ways as they travel. This creates the potential of infesting new areas, including their homes, as they relocate.

Bed Bug Infestations

In many cases identifying a bed bug problem can be a tricky process; the vast majority of bed bug infestations we encounter are not easily noticeable. Even if bed bugs are present their skillful abilities at hiding may make finding a live bug difficult. One of the best ways to Closeup of Bed Bug Exoskeletonsidentify a bed bug problem is by looking for visible clues that indicate their presents, for example fecal spots on the mattress, box spring, or nearby furniture. As bed bugs digest food their blood-filled fecal matter is excreted, these spots are rusty-colored and can be readily seen. Another indication that a bed bug problem exists are the exoskeletons left behind after molting. As a bed bug grows to adulthood they frequently shed their exoskeleton, an example of this can be seen in the accompanying pictures. The presents of exoskeletons alone does not automatically mean that a person has bed bugs, other varieties of bugs that do not harm humans shed their exoskeletons in this manner as well. A trained pest management professional with the proper training and equipment will be able to make a determination.  

Bed Bug Bites

Determining whether or not a bug bite is indeed a “bed bug bite” is something that is best left to a trained physician. There are a number of other bugs such as mosquito’s, fleas, spiders, and other insects in addition to bed bugs that can bite people. A bite on someone’s skin does not automatically mean that an individual has bed bugs.  No reputable pest management professional will diagnose bites of any kind.

Bed Bug Bites along an arm

Here are some known facts about bed bug bites, this information is not intended diagnose bed bug bites. Bed bug usually feed while people are sleeping, once an appropriate site is found bed bugs inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from feeling the bite. Then they feed for 2-5 minutes until full, and then move quickly away from the host. Bed bug bites can appear in a number of locations on the human body, they can appear on the face, neck, arms, hands, and other areas.  The bite marks resemble small, hard, swollen lumps similar to a mosquito bite. The marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Reactions to bed bug bites vary from person to person, some individuals do not react at all to bed bug bites, others may notice within a short period of time.  In some instances a bite from a bed bug may take as long as 14 days to develop before they are noticeable.  Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.

Given the difficulty of dealing with bed bugs, it is highly recommended that a licensed exterminator is hired to deal with the situation.

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