Bed Bug Facts

General Information about Bed Bugs

Physiology

  • Bed bugs are small; adults generally are only about 3/16” in length and some early stages or instars, are nearly invisible
  • Male bed bug abdomens are slightly pointed and female bed bug abdomens are more rounded

Feeding

  • Bed bugs feed only on blood
  • Bed bugs prefer human blood but will feed on other species, even snakes and lizards
  • Both males and females feed on blood; the best known blood suckers, the mosquitoes, feed on blood to lay eggs so only the female feeds on blood
  • Bed bugs can live over a year without a blood meal
  • They may leave residues even as they feed

Reproduction

  • Female bed bugs can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime
  • Bed bug eggs are very small, approximately 1/32” and when deposited, the eggs are attached to hidden surfaces with a sticky substance secreted by the female

Bites

  • Some people react to bed bug bites and others have little to no reaction
  • The time it takes for a bite to manifest into a welt varies from person to person
  • Bed bugs do not spread disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; however, they can harbor nearly 30 human pathogens

Habitat & Signs

  • Bed bugs live in and around where humans live and are not always found in beds
  • Large infestations of bed bugs can lead to a sweet scent in the room
  • Bed bug infestations are not signs of poor sanitation or cleanliness as they don’t feed on anything but blood
  • Bed bugs can survive to 113 degrees Fahrenheit or as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit if acclimated
  • Clutter impedes bed bug inspection and control
  • Some dogs are trained specifically to detect bed bugs and the dogs work well; however, it is imperative to have a properly trained dog and handler. Training should be done by a professional trainer and any certifications for the team should be by a national credentialing organization.

There are species similar to bed bugs but attack other animals as a preferred host; these include bat bugs, swallow bugs, and others. Bed bugs are sometimes called red coats, mahogany flats, wall lice, house bugs and crimson ramblers. They are also called chintzes and chinches perhaps from the Spanish common name, chinche de coma.

Bed Bugs

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