Bedbugs are small, wingless insects that feed on warm-blooded animals. Adult bedbugs are reddish-brown, oval-shaped, flattened insects. They measure approximately 4-5 mm in length and can easily be seen with the naked eye. Bedbug nymphs are much smaller and are often translucent and more difficult to see without the aid of a microscope. The group of insects that are commonly called bedbugs includes species that feed on other animals such as birds and bats. Human bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) are found throughout the world.
NOTE: It is very difficult to distinguish bedbugs from related insects (such as bat bugs and swallow bugs). Make sure you have an expert identify the insects before starting a treatment program.
Bedbugs feed on human blood. They are nocturnal and prefer to feed in the predawn hours (2 to 4 a.m.). During the day they stay relatively motionless, hiding in cracks and crevices. They are most often found hiding in the vicinity of where the host’s head lies while sleeping (pillow, headboard). At night, bedbugs come out of hiding and are attracted to their human host by the carbon dioxide and heat that is given off by a sleeping person. When they begin to feed, bedbugs inject anti-coagulants (to keep the blood flowing) and anesthetics, which prevent the host from feeling the bite and waking up. The insects will feed for 3 to 5 minutes and then retreat back to its hiding place.
Female bedbugs lay 3 to 4 eggs per day and will lay up to 250 eggs in a lifetime. Eggs normally hatch in 6 to 10 days and the new nymphs actively seek out their first “bloodmeal”. Nymphs will mold 5 times to reach the adult stage. The nymphs require a bloodmeal before each molt, but, once they reach the adult stage they can survive for many months without a meal.
Bedbugs commonly are easily carried by humans from place to place because they “hitchhike” on personal belongings such as luggage, furniture and mattresses. Bedbugs do not normally travel on a person’s body.
The Bed Bug Express Train Into Your Home
“I saw a suitcase one time in an apartment-couldn’t find a bedbug on the bed, [but] looked at the suitcase [and] there had to be 200 bedbugs on this suitcase,” a professional exterminator from Washington DC says. “It’s like they were catching the train.” John Nielsen (Read the full story)
NOTE: Bat bugs (Cimex adjunctus) and swallow bugs (Oeciacus vicarious) infest homes when bats or swallows have been nesting in or on the structure. When the bats (or swallows) leave for an extended period, the bugs move out of the host nests and into the home because they are looking for another warm-blooded animal to feed upon.
Once they are in a house or apartment, bedbugs will readily spread from room to room or unit to unit. Because these very flat insects can fit into tight cracks and crevices, they easily spread throughout a large building.
How do I know if I have Bedbugs in my home?If you suspect you may have bed bugs, look for the following signs:
Call a Pest Management Professional! Once a home is infested with bed bugs, treatment is expensive, difficult and time-consuming and should be done by a pest control specialist.
A typical bedbug treatment involves numerous visits by a pest control company. Bedbugs do not just infest beds. They will nest in cracks and crevices throughout the room. If possible, the home occupants should move out of the home while it is being treated. Every item in the infested area of a house or apartment must be treated with chemicals and heat. Infested mattresses, boxsprings and padded furniture should be thrown out. Bedbug eggs are difficult to locate and may not hatch for several weeks. For this reason, inspections should be done every two weeks to insure that a re-infestation does not occur in a treated area.
PackTite can come in very handy during a bedbug treatment. Use Packtite to safely heat-treat the many, many items that are difficult to chemically treat or which should not be treated with chemicals. Such items might include children's toys, craft supplies, shoes, purses, jewelry, tools, dishes, books, grooming supplies, food storage containers, etc.
People are bringing home more than souvenirs in their luggage when they travel. Bedbugs are frequently hitching rides with travelers in their luggage.
Bed bugs can be found in any hotel, and this includes economy motels as well as 5-star resorts.
While there is no sure way to prevent bedbugs from getting into your luggage, there are some precautions you can take to reduce the chances.