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How Much Do You Know About Bed Bugs?

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We talk a lot about bed bugs around here, but how much do you really know about bed bugs? Those little household pests have quite a history, and they have many relatives. Did you know bed bugs, for example, swell and turn red after they’ve eaten? They feed on blood, and the more blood, the more they procreate. Below are a few other facts about bed bugs you may not have known:

Did you know?

Bed bugs have wings, but don’t fly –

Bed bugs are small and have wings. They belong to the family Cimicidae. This family has three species that bite humans or animals.

Bed bug nymphs are clear, but adult bed bugs are reddish brown –

Both types of bed bugs, from nymphs to adults, turn red after feeding on blood.

Bed bugs don’t just live in beds, but they do tend to congregate in and around beds, hence their name –

Bed bugs will hide in dark, cool places, so look further than the bed if you think you have been infested. Bed bugs can also be found within bedside tables, behind baseboards, behind wallpaper and inside any tight spaces of furniture. Bed bugs don’t like tile because they cannot scamper across the smooth surface.

Adult bed bugs aren’t the only thing to look for when searching for signs of bed bugs –

Bed bug eggs can also be present in the places where bed bugs tend to travel. Bed bugs tend to come from used furniture, clothing and linens. Bed bug eggs are harder to spot, so look carefully. Their eggs will stick to whatever surface on which they are laid. Also look for bed bug feces (about the size of a period), exuviae (shed skins) or egg cases. Carefully inspect anything moved from one location to another. From youth to adulthood, bed bugs shed their skins 5 times.

Bed bugs can live for months without feeding, even over a year –

Bed bugs don’t need to feed constantly. They feed more often when they are growing and need to reproduce. They have to feed before they shed their skins.

Adult bed bugs are typically 5-7 mm in length. Nymphs are tiny, around 1.5 mm –

A female fed bug can lay around 5-7 eggs per week, usually laying eggs when temperatures are close to 8o˚F.

Bed bugs reproduce using a method called traumatic insemination –

Male bed bugs stab females with their reproductive organ and the sperm is injected into the female. Oftentimes, females will die if this happens too often and too close together.

Bed bugs are also known by the following terms:

  • Cimex lectularius
  • chinches de camas
  • chintzes
  • mahogany flats
  • red coats
  • wall lice

Bed bugs don’t always live in groups –

They tend to crowd when there is blood on which to feed, but when looking for bed bugs, make sure you always look for lone stragglers.

Bed bug bites are generally harmless and usually don’t need treatment –

However, some people are allergic to bed bugs or simply have a bad reaction. Constant itching can also cause the bites to be infected. Bed bug bites may just need anti-itch creams.

Bed bugs only bite on the outside –

They do not burrow into your skin or try to enter your body. Bed bugs only penetrate the skin to suck blood.

Bed bugs are now resistant to the common types of pesticides originally used to eradicate them –

Bed bugs first became a national issue in the U.S. before WWII. They were generally eradicated when the pesticide DDT became common in the 1940s. Other areas of the world have continued to suffer from bed bugs, and then there was a resurgence in the U.S. in the past few decades. As travel has become more and more common, so have bed bugs, especially in hotels.

Bed bugs aren’t a sign of poor sanitation or a lack of cleanliness –

Bed bugs can happen to anyone anywhere. If there are humans, they will be there, because that means they have something on which to feed. Bed bugs like clutter, however, so homes that are unclean and have clutter around tend to have bed bugs only because the pests find many places to hide. Bed bugs don’t just show up because there are spaces to hide, however. They travel in many ways from many places and then stay in places where there are humans. They are also more difficult to eradicate when there are so many places for them to hide.

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