In the spotlight of recent news stories, bed bugs have been a growing concern as worries of mass contamination in major cities escalate. There is some debate as to whether or not these creatures are even harmful to humans, but in spite of their minuscule size, these bugs do cause significant damage. Their rapid reproduction cycles can quickly populate an entire residence. Latching onto any textured surface, bed bugs travel from location to location by means of clothing, suitcases and cars, and they easily remain unnoticed until it’s too late. Once these creatures find a bountiful feeding ground, such as a home or bedroom, it’s challenging to control their population.
Bed Bugs in Jar
Bed bugs have been a common household pest for hundreds of years. In 1933, prior to effective means of elimination, most homes had some degree of bed bug population. Not only found within homes, these tiny pests also caused much discomfort to soldiers during World War II; troops were unable to control outbreaks in their living quarters.
Bed Bugs Habitat
Bed bugs can be very difficult to detect with the naked eye, though they leave telltale signs of their residence. Evidence of these creatures can be found in bedding and pajamas or on the human body. Specs of blood or bumps on flesh can be found in places where these insects have feasted. Even though these bugs are named bed bugs, they can be hide almost anywhere in residential or commercial buildings. The bed bug is typically found in places where people spend longer periods of time. People often pick up these unsavory stow-aways when traveling. Hotels and college dorms are well-known hot spots for bed bug contamination. Bed bugs can also spread, by means of their host’s travels, to any public venue including movie theaters and restaurants.
Bed bug bites can trigger allergic reactions in some people, and are often recognizable by small red bumps accompanied by mild irritation. If these symptoms are discovered, a professional exterminator should be contacted immediately.
Life Cycle of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are considered pests due to their ability to overpopulate in remarkably short amounts of time. One female may produce up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. It only takes two bed bugs to start an infestation, and because they are so small, these bugs often go undetected until its resident host is bitten. To properly identify bed bugs please see our What do Bed Bugs Look Like? page.
The first stage of a bed bugs’ life occurs in a microscopic egg. This egg will join up to fifty others who will all undergo complete metamorphosis. This is a growth cycle which consists three phases – an egg, a nymph, then finally an adult. The female will lay her eggs in a robust glue, which will ensure her offspring remain in place. This sticky substance will hold for a week or two before the bed bug eggs hatch. This cycle is accelerated in warm and humid climates.
Nymphs emerge from the eggs and must consume a bloodmeal before they are able to molt. Molting is a process essential in these growing insects, and each must molt their skin a minimum of five times before reaching adulthood. This accommodation to growth, which can often times take a few months, is made necessary by these small nymphs consuming blood, their primary food source. Bed bugs are the largest consumers of blood amongst the animal kingdom.
Bed Bugs and Humans
Bed Bug Rash
Bed Bug Rash Dots
There is evidence of bed bugs co-existing with humans as far back as Ancient Greece (circa 400 BC). These critters were contemplated by the great thinker, Aristotle – though it is not one of his more famous works. Aristotle claimed that bed bugs had medicinal benefits and should be used to treat snake bites and ear infections.
Bed bugs and humans have lived together for thousands of years – a truth that is not likely to change anytime soon. Pesticides were first introduced in the 1940’s as a way to try and control this creature’s population; this method was an overall success. Recently, however, populations of these pests have shown a dramatic rise. This increase can be attributed to a number of factors, among them the increase in frequent travel and the bed bugs’ seemingly indestructibility.
Bed bug control Is one of the hardest tasks to undertake. These pests are very resilient, you could spend hundreds on do it your self methods, but these methods don’t guarantee to solve your bed bug problem. Just because you can’t see bed bugs doesn’t mean there not in your home. Bed Bugs in Carpet is very common another question I hear is do bed bugs itch? I would suggest reading our Do Bed Bug Bites Itch? page.
Please visit our bed bug control page and learn some tips on keeping your house free of blood sucking bed bugs.
Bed Bug Entomology
Bed Bugs Scientific Name: Cimex lectularius
Bed bugs belong to the Animalia kingdom and are part of the Arthropoda phylum. These critters belong to the class of Insecta under the order of Hemiptera, (suborder: Heteroptera Infraorder).
You can identify a bed bug by its light to red brown body, which is a flattened shape. These tiny creatures are only four or five millimeters in length and half of that in width. Nymphs are generally a pale, translucent color and develop darker shades in adulthood after a succession of molts. They can survive in almost any environment and are particularly adept at building resistance to pesticides.