Bed bugs can wreak havoc on your life – if you let them. Many people think bed bugs are caused by dirty living habits, but this isn’t true. Truthfully, we are not sure what causes bed bugs. However, we do know where they can come from, and that they like cluttered spaces in which to hide. Bed bugs can come from a number of places, such as public transportation, old furniture, the neighbor’s house, hotels, used clothing or household items and people’s houses you have visited. Bed bugs like to travel and can do so easily. This reason is why bed bugs are such an issue across the United States, especially in crowded cities. There are also a number of ways to prevent bed bugs from spreading, and the more people become educated about these ways, the less bed bug infestation our country will have to deal with.
One of the ways to prevent bed bugs is by learning how to identify them. Bed bugs are so small that oftentimes, they are confused for other creatures. They begin as an egg, then grow into larvae and then they experience adolescent and adult stages. All of these stages require feeding – and besides traveling, feeding is what bed bugs do best. To learn how to identify a bed bug, look below at the different types of bed bugs that exist across the world.
Different Types of Bed Bugs
It’s hard to imagine that there are different breeds of bed bugs, but there are, and since they can travel anywhere, it’s good to know what to look for.
Household Bed Bugs
The most common bed bug to look for is the household bed bug (Cimex lectularius). The household bed bug is the one most often found infesting your home. These exist worldwide, and adapt very well to all human environments. They tend to live in areas of more moderate climates, but they do not discriminate on climate and can be found from hot areas like Arizona all the way to New York City, which is a city notorious for its household bed bug population. Many other types of bugs, such as beetles and other pests, resemble bed bugs, but household bed bugs usually have the following characteristics:
- A mahogany to rusty brown color, which changes to a red brown once they’ve fed
- Bed bug babies are usually colorless but get the red brown coloring as they get older
- Six legs
- Broad oval, flat bodies
- 1/4 in length, generally
- Nymphs can range from 1.3 mm to 4-5 mm.
- A flatness, which makes them easy to identify
- Lined back ridges
Tropical bed bugs
The tropical bed bug (Cimex hemipterus) generally lives in more tropical regions. They also feed on humans and are just as pesty and general household bed bugs. Tropical bed bugs are often really in humid climates like Florida or Costa Rica.
Bat bugs (Cimex adjunctus) generally don’t feed on humans unless there are no bats around. They also live off blood, just like their household or tropical cousins do. They also tend to live in more tropical areas but can be found in colder climates.
Chicken bugs (Haematosiphon inodora) very closely resemble household bed bugs, but they are not usually found within the home. Since they tend to feed mostly on poultry animals, they are found around chicken coops and on poultry farms. However, many times these bugs move inside the home or barn when the chicken coop or other sort of poultry residence is close to the door of the home. This only happens when care has not been taken to ensure they do not move inside.
Normally barn bugs are called barn swallow bugs, which don’t usually feed on humans and generally feed on swallows and their young. They also tend to live in swallow nests and on or around cliffs. When these birds migrate, barn swallow bugs can come near human dwellings. Though they don’t generally feed on humans, like bat bugs, they have been known to feed on humans when their preferred choice of food isn’t around.
Obviously, there are many types of bed bugs, but humans should mainly be concerned with the kind that needs human blood to survive. By paying close attention to your surroundings, you can help prevent any type of bed bug from spreading and infesting your home. When leaving public transportation, shake off or clean any small areas where bed bugs can hide before entering your home. When purchasing secondhand items, inspect the insides of every piece of furniture. Look for small dots that could be bed bug feces. Look for tiny blood stains that are remnants of bed bug feeding sessions. In addition, look for small scaly skin casings that bed bugs shed. If any of these tiny things are found on a secondhand item, do not purchase it and notify the seller.