What are Bed Bugs?
The common bedbug is Cimex Lectularius. They are true bugs and are well adapted to live off of humans. Adult bed bugs can reach about the size of an apple seed. Males tend to have a somewhat flatter body and a somewhat round abdomen, while females tend to have an abdomen that has been described as looking more like a football. They also have an odor that will remind you of a stink bug.
The instinct of a bed bug is to hide during daylight hours. Once it is dark, regardless of whether or not you are sleeping, they will seek for you by the heat you radiate. They use a tiny stylet to draw blood (it is not a bite). This process is very quick and as they leave to hide they usually defecate a spot of processed blood, which appears jet black. After feeding the female can lay up to 10 eggs a day and they usually take about 10 days to hatch. Perhaps most important concerning how fast they can develope into an infestation is that they develope from hatchling into sexual maturity in as little as 3 weeks.
Bed bugs have been a problem for mankind about as long as we have kept records, yet we virtually eliminated them in developed countries using well developed aggressive pesticides. However in these later times we have stopped using many of the pesticides that worked, and now in the stores practically every pesticide sold for Bed Bugs tends to be a pyrethroid. It appears that Bed Bugs have developed a resistance to pyrethroids and thus we are obligated to use other pesticides (or other means) to combat this little bug.
Are Bed Bugs found only in beds?
By virtue of its name, people always think bed bugs are found only in beds when, in fact, they fit anywhere their bodies can be hidden and they can be as thin as a sheet of paper. They are mostly found closest to where people sleep, such as the mattress and box spring and bed frame, but will also inhabit all kinds of furniture, electric appliances, closets and so forth. They seem to prefer hiding in wood and textured finishes, but do not embed themselves in carpet. Usually sofas are used at night or as a replacement for an infested bed and thus becomes infested. Because of their instinct to seek for food, when an infested room is not occupied, and it is dark, they are obligated to find a host, and that scatters them into the house.This is a picture we took of the wood framework of a bed frame. The hole in this picture has a screw in it, but it is completely covered by bed bugs. Looking carefully you may also spot the eggs, which look like tiny grains of rice. The black spots are bed bug defecation. Bed bugs seem most comfortable seeking refuge in wood framework.
Do Bed Bugs carry disease?
Bed bugs have never been suspected to be vectors of any disease. Although they can draw blood that is infected with disease, they have never been found to transfer any disease. But bed bugs are found to cause many health problems. Some can be related to the allergic reaction many have to the saliva of bed bugs, which is also the cause of visible skin issues such as rashes. Bed bugs also cause many problems related to lack of sleep, and such symptoms as anxiety, depression and despair often occur. They can also cause social isolation for rather obvious reasons.
Why are Bed Bugs now coming back?
As far as we know bed bugs have always been a problem in many cultures and were spread where travel occurred. With the arrival of potent pesticides, famously DDT in the 1940s, bed bugs almost disappeared in western countries. However, bed bug infestations have resurged in recent years, for reasons which are not completely clear, but contributing factors may be complacency, increased resistance (to common pesticides sold in stores) and increased international travel.