Where Do You Get Bed Bugs
There is a stigma surrounding bed bugs that only dirty people get bugs and this is absolutely not true. Bed bugs can be picked up anywhere really.
They love to travel in luggage, or on coats and clothing. You can pick them up from a chair in the movie theater, storing your coat in the coat room at a restaurant, from the back seat of a taxi cab. Anyone from any walk of life could inadvertently come into contact with and transport bed bugs home, it is nothing to be embarrassed by.
Adult bed bugs are light brown to reddish brown, oval shaped and flattened with no hind wings. Unfed nymphs are translucent, and lighter in color, and become more brown each time they molt getting closer to maturity.
Adult bed bugs can grow to 5-7mm while the nymphs can be as small as 1.6mm. A nymph before feeding very closely resembles an adult except it is almost colorless. A newly fed nymph will appear bright red in color, fading from brown a few hours after feeding to black 2 days after feeding. After feeding an adult bed bug will plump up in size resembling the shape of a football so that it looks like a different bug all together.
Genetic analysis has shown that a single pregnant bed bug, possibly a single survivor of eradication, can be responsible for an entire infestation over a matter of weeks, rapidly producing generations of offspring.
A mature female bed bug will lay approximately 200- 300 eggs in her life time. The eggs will hatch in 6-10 days. A newly hatched nymph will immediately search out a food source. Bed bug nymphs molt 5 times(shed their exoskeleton so they can grow) before reaching sexual maturity. Nymphs will molt about every 10 days and must feed at least once before each molting but can feed up to once every day.
Bed bugs reproduce by traumatic insemination, where the male pierces the abdomen of the female and injects his sperm into the females conceptacle(sperm carrying sac.) The sperm will remain alive and active in the conceptacle until the female has used all of it to lay fertilized eggs. Under normal circumstances adult bed bugs will live about 10 to 11 months, this could lead to four or more generations in an active colony.
Bed bugs are hematophagous, or blood sucking insects. Bed bugs are attracted to their hosts mainly by carbon dioxide and secondly by heat. Bed bugs are primarily nocturnal, preferring to move and feed at night, however if they go long enough without a food source they have been known to travel to seek out food during the day.
Bed bugs prefer exposed skin, preferably the neck, face, and arms of a sleeping person. Bed bugs tend to eat every 5-10 days, however they have been known to feed daily and in some extreme cases have been known to live up to a year without feeding. They like to set up their colonies close by to their food source, setting up colonies behind bed boards, under mattresses, in night stands, and in wall cavities, just to name a few of their favorite spots. When a colony grows too large or if the food source is removed they will move to find a new food source, bed bugs have been know to cover a 2000 square foot dwelling in one night. When a bed bug feeds it bites into the hosts skin and sucks out blood and injects their saliva containing anticoagulants and pain killers.
History Of Bed Bugs
The first known mention of bed bugs dates back to Greece as early as 400 B.C. The Romans claimed that bed bug bites served medicinal purposes for treating ailments such as snake bites and ear infections. Bed bugs slowly made there way into Europe and eventually over the Atlantic to North America.
In the early 20th century bed bugs were very common, the sudden boom of bed bugs around this time is reportedly tied to the advent of indoor heating allowing them to thrive in cold climates instead of laying dormant or dying in the colder months. When more awareness was paid to the bed bug problem and more pesticides became widely available bed bugs became much less of a widespread problem. There has been a resurgence of reported bed bug problems since the 1980’s. Many believe that this can be attributed to more international travel, the banning of certain harmful pesticides, and much more international travel.