The Bed Bug probably received its common name from its close association with human sleeping beds where it often seeks refuge during the daylight, only to come out to feed on the bed’s occupant at night. The Bed Bug feeds primarily on humans, but will also attack other mammals.
Bed bugs were introduced to the United States with the early colonists and are found throughout the United States and the world.
Juvenile Bed Bugs will begin as small as 1/32” and adult Bed Bugs are about 3/16” long, broadly oval and flat. They are somewhat translucent but will be brown to reddish brown after feeding. Bed Bug infestations are often associated with an “obnoxiously sweet” odor they emit from scent glands.
Female Bed Bugs can lay 1-5 eggs per day, with an average total of 200 eggs each. Each egg is only 1/32” long and white, usually being deposited individually in cracks or on rough surfaces and secured with a transparent cement. Developmental time for Bed Bugs (egg to adult) takes 21 days at 86 degrees and up to 120 days at 65 degrees. With normal feeding and reproductive cycles, individual Bed Bugs can live up to 316 days.
About 3-10 minutes are required for each blood meal. Humans are the preferred host of Bed Bugs, but in their absence they will feed on other mammals as well as poultry and other domesticated animals. Although the bite of Bed Bugs is painless, many people (about 80%) develop an allergic reaction to the saliva injected by the Bed Bugs as it feeds. A swelling usually results from feeding, ranging from small red blotches to more severe swelling that can extend beyond the immediate bite area in highly sensitive individuals.
Bed Bugs harbor in cracks and crevices during the day and come out to feed at night. Typically they can be found around mattress buttons and beading, in box springs or their coverings, and in any crevice of a wooden bed frame, such as where members join. Other common places Bed Bugs can be found are in wall hangings, picture frames, night stands, stuffed furniture, baseboards, floorboard cracks, behind loose wallpaper, light switches, door and window frames, etc.
A thorough inspection for Bed Bugs by a trained and licensed pest control operator is indispensable. Treatment should include all corners, cracks, baseboards, mattresses, undersides of furniture, etc., in the infested rooms and sometimes may need to extend to connected rooms as well.