What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed Bugs are tiny creatures that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals.

Overview

These bugs are of two types or species, the Cimex lectularius, and the Cimex hemipterus, and can be found in ancient Egyptian tombs from thousands of years ago.

They once used to be nest parasites, invading nests of birds and bats. When new-born, these are called hatchlings or nymphs. They are very small, but even adults can grow as much as 0.25 inches long.

adult bed bug feeding

In shape, they are oval and pretty flat when they are not feeding. Once fed they usually double up in size. They might be small, but they can all be seen with the naked eye.

Their reproduction process is a bit scary because it involves the male stabbing the female’s abdomen to inject the sperm and is named traumatic insemination.

In a life cycle, the female can give more than a few hundred eggs, which then go through five immature stages of being a “nymph” to go into their full and final adult form.

The reason they are called bed bugs is that they can mostly be found in human homes, from your sofas to bed mattresses and even clothing and other furnishings.

They also prefer dark places, so wardrobes and closets are on the list as well. These are not only found in homes but other similar places like dormitories, cruise ships, shelters and army barracks.

Zoomed in these come in a few colors. Some are white, some light brown to darker browns and others a burnt orange or reddish brown. When fed one can see a patch or a dark blob, which is the blood, on their body.

The time frame when they usually like to feed is during the hours from 12 am to 5 am. Their bites are not very visible instantly but can be more visible after a few weeks. The reason they feed on blood is that they need to do so to reproduce and survive.

Symptoms

One of the first and easiest signs to catch onto is that most people will wake up to bite marks. If you or anybody else at your place does, it is high time for an inspection. One can check the bed, mattress, and linens for this. Their eggs usually resemble small and pale poppy seeds.

If you have loose wallpaper near or surrounding your beds, check those too as there might be infestations inside. Their droppings are rusty in color, can stain fabric, and beads up around it so that is a good indication as well. When the infestation has become really big, there will be coriander like smell surrounding it.

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Bed bug bites on the back of a person's body

Bed bug bites by James Heilman, MD [CC BY-SA 3.0]

“One of the first and easiest signs to catch onto is that most people will wake up to bite marks. If you or anybody else at your place does, it is high time for an inspection.”

The Bed Bug Inspectors

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Cure

For the itching, there are many topical treatments which help to relieve it. Oral antibiotics are also prescribed in case an infection were to occur from the bite, or someone has allergic reactions from the bite. However, naturally, most bites will go back to normal and heal within a period of a few weeks.

Elimination

Because these bugs do not stay in a particular place, elimination is hard. It is always advised to call up professionals in such cases if you want a clean and permanent expulsion. One way is to get rid of excess clutter from the home, so it gives them less space to hide in and it is also easier to find them out.

Some professionals also ask that you remove all your furniture from the home, as that will ensure a complete elimination of these bugs.***

More articles about bed bugs facts:

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