Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat,
parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals at night as they
are nocturnal. Bed bugs use these blood meals to grow and reproduce. Usually when
feeding on a host they will feed from 2 to 5 minutes until full, then the bed
bug will go back to their hiding place. After the bug has taken its blood meal,
the bed bug will change in colour from a brownish colour to a redish brownish
Did you know that bed bugs can live several months without a blood meal.
Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people
sleep or sit for a long time. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel
over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.
They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, bed frames, and
dressing tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, cupboards.
They can soon spread within a
building by getting through holes in walls or pipes, and can potentially invade
blocks of units, homes and hotels. The bugs can also be transported in luggage,
clothing, furniture and bedding from one building to the next.
This makes it easier
for travelers to unknowingly spread bed bugs from one place to another.
One of the easiest ways to know if you have a bed bug infestation is by
bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts.
When a bed bug does bite you, they inject an anesthetic and an
anticoagulant that prevents you knowing you have been bitten.
When bed bugs mate, the females will lay white, oval eggs into
cracks and crevices. Each bed bug can lay 200-250 eggs in her lifetime. Bed
bugs eggs hatch in about 6-10 days and will go looking for a host to feed on.