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Don't Let The Bed Bugs Bite
Bed Bugs are insects more specifically True Bugs which have piercing mouthparts that in most species are used for feeding on plants. Unfortunately there are some species of bugs with mouthparts that have been adapted to feed on human blood while inflicting very little pain (most never feel the blood feeding).
Human bed bugs found in the U.S. Cimex Lectularius have a flat oval shaped body without wings and range in length from 4 to 7mm long. Their color is shiny reddish-brown but after a good serving of your blood they appear dark brown and swollen as in the picture below.
There are three stages in the bed bugs life cycle: egg nymph and adult The eggs are white and about 1mm long. The nymphs look like adults but are smaller. Complete development from egg to adult takes from four weeks to several months depending on the temperature and amount of feed available. Both make and female bed bugs feed on the blood of sleeping humans during night. In the absence of humans they will feed on mice rats chickens and other animals. Feeding takes about 10 to 15 minutes for adults and less for the nymphs they feed about every three days. Depending on the conditions bed bug nymphs can survive for months without feeding.
A good way to tell if you have bed bugs is by looking for blood spots on the mattress seam as in the image below. The spots are dark colored and in groups which indicate current or past infestation.
Can I get a disease from Bed Bugs?
To date there is not a know case of disease associated with bed bugs and most people are never aware they have been bitten. Bed bug bites usually look like little red bumps which can look a lot like mosquito bites and for those that have sensitive skin a allergic reaction can occur as in the picture below.
If you have such a reaction check with your doctor who may recommend an antihistamine or topical cream to relieve any itching and or burning. Do not scratch the bites as this may lead to infection.
How do bed bugs get into a home?
Usually from hitching a ride on clothing or furniture. Once the bed bugs are in your home they will gravitate to the sleeping area and will hide out in the following areas:
- Seams creases tufts and folds of the mattress and box springs
- Cracks in the bad frame and or head board
- Under rugs and the edges of carpets
- In drawers baseboards and window casings
- Between the cushions of couches and chairs
- Under chairs couched beds and dust covers
- Behinds electrical plates cracks in plaster
- Televisions radio clocks and phones (scary)
Bed bugs can also travel to adjacent rooms or apartments by making their way over plumbing and electrical wiring.