Cimex lectularius L.
Identification : How do I spot them?
- Bed bugs are flat, reddish-brown oval insects
- Small, nocturnal, wingless insects
- Up to 4 to 5 mm long or the size of an apple seed
- Swollen and reddish after a blood meal
- Only feed on blood
- More active at night when the host is asleep
- Skin color is rust brown to a deeper red brown
- Fecal smears on mattresses and nearby furnishings are also signs of a bed bug infestation
Found in cracks and crevices, including mattress seams, sheets, furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames. They are often found in hotels, where they can travel from room to room and in visitors’ luggage or other personal belongings such as purses and briefcases.
Bed bugs (often misspelled as bedbugs) belong to the family of Cimicidae. They feed on human blood and other warm-blooded hosts. Bed bugs are also referred to as “mahogany flats,” “red coats” and “chinches.” The adult bed bug does not have wings and has a flattened body.
Females can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live for more than 300 days.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
There are many possible signs of bed bug activity. The first would be seeing the bugs. Adult bed bugs are about the shape and size of an apple seed. A second sign would be case skins. As the juvenile bugs grow, they shed their skins, discovery of which can indicate their presence.
After feeding, bed bugs return to their harborage to hide. They eventually defecate in these areas, which appears as black to brown stains on porous surfaces or black to brown mounds on nonporous surfaces. Under cool conditions, bed bugs have been able to survive up to a year without a meal.
Distribution : Where are they found?
Bed bugs are both dorsoventrally flattened and thin, which creates a great advantage for them. They can hide in unusual places such as behind baseboards, floor cracks, and under carpets or behind loose wallpaper, which can make them difficult to detect.
Not only can they be hard to detect, but bed bugs also tend to stay close together and have a distinctively sweet, yet unpleasant smell.
Their bites can leave itchy welts on the skin and can cause allergic reactions, such as severe itching, though not everyone reacts to their bite.
Bed bugs have existed since the ancient times and are found all over the world. There are many different species of bed bugs, but the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is particularly adaptable to human environments. Other species prefer birds and bats but also will feed on humans if necessary. They can survive in birds’ nests, they can be seen in houses and buildings that have several bird nests, particularly on rooftops.
Due to humans traveling bed bugs have a great worldwide distribution, they are transported through luggage, clothing, bleeding and furniture. Though they may reside in unusual places, they are also likely to be found in small cracks near a bed or in comforters and bed sheets.
How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs :
It’s possible to pick up bed bugs almost any place—they will infest offices, stores, hotels, gyms and countless other places. They can hide in your luggage, personal belongings, or even on you. Once indoors, they can be extremely difficult to control without the help of an experienced pest specialist.
A bed bug infestation has nothing to do with cleanliness — you can pick them up in the finest hotels, and they can hitchhike into the cleanest homes at any time. But, you can help reduce your chances of a costly bed bug infestation by catching them early.
When traveling, think of the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to remember the following action steps to help avoid bringing bed bugs home with you.
- Survey surfaces for signs of an infestation, such as tiny rust-colored spots on bed sheets, mattress tags and seams, and bed skirts.
- Lift and look for all bed bug hiding spots, including underneath the mattress, bed frame, headboard and furniture. Typically, they come out at night to feed, but during the day they are most likely found within a 1.5 meter radius of the bed.
- Elevate your luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed and wall, since bed bugs can often hide behind headboards, artwork, picture frames and electrical outlet panels.
- Examine your luggage carefully while repacking and when you return home. Always keep luggage off the bed and store it in a closet or other area, far away from your bedroom.
- Place all your clothing from your luggage immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from travel.
Tips for in the Home :
When at home, follow these handy tips to help keep bed bugs at bay.
- Remove all clutter from your home, which makes finding bed bugs easier
- Wash and dry your bed linens often using the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric
- Closely inspect any second-hand furniture for bed bugs before you bring it into your residence
- Inspect your residence regularly—after a move-in, a trip, when a service worker comes in or guests stay overnight