What is a Bed Bug by coold


									What is a Bed Bug?

Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed solely upon the blood of warm-blooded
animals. They are parasites that have existed since ancient times. There are at least 92
known species of bed bugs found throughout the world. The most common species is the
Cimex lectularius , which is best adapted to human environments.

Bed Bug Appearance
Adult bedbugs are reddish brown, flattened, oval, and wingless, with microscopic
hairs that give them a banded appearance. They grow to 4 to 5 mm (one-eighth to
three-sixteenths of an inch) in length.

Bed bug eggs are tiny, whitish, and hard to see without magnification, as individual
eggs are about the size of a dust spec. When first laid, the eggs are sticky, causing
them to adhere to substrates. Newly hatched bed bug nymphs are translucent and
lighter in color and continue to become browner and molt as they reach maturity.
The nymphs are no bigger than a pinhead

Bed Bug Bites
Bedbugs are generally active only at night, with a peak attack period about an hour
before dawn, though given the opportunity; they may attempt to feed at other times
of day. Attracted by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide, the bug pierces the
skin of its host with two hollow tubes. With one tube it injects its saliva, which
contains anticoagulants and anesthetics, while with the other withdraws the blood of
its host. After feeding for about five minutes, the bug returns to its hiding place. The
bites cannot usually be felt until some minutes or hours later, as a dermatological
reaction to the injected agents. Although bedbugs can live for up to 18 months
without feeding, they typically seek blood every five to ten days.

Repeated exposures to bed bug bites during a period of several weeks or more
causes people to become sensitized to the saliva of these bugs; additional bites may
then result in mild to intense allergic responses. The skin lesion produced by the bite
of a bed bug resembles those caused by many other kinds of blood feeding insects,
such as mosquitoes and fleas. For first time victims, lesions sometimes can be
confused with a rash or spider bites.
Bed Bug Life Cycle
Female bedbugs can lay up to five eggs in a day and 500 during a lifetime. The eggs
are visible to the naked eye measuring 1 mm in length (approx. 2 grains of salt) and
are a milky-white tone in color. The eggs can often be found in dark, protected
places such as walls and floor cracks, cracks in furniture, behind baseboards, under
loose wallpaper and behind pictures. The eggs hatch in one to two weeks. The
hatchlings begin feeding immediately. They pass through five molting stages before
they reach maturity. They must feed once during each of these stages. At room
temperature, it takes about 5 weeks for a bed bug to pass from hatching, through
the stages, to maturity. They become reproductively active only at maturity.

Methods of Infestation
There are several ways a dwelling may become infested with bedbugs. The bedbugs
are efficient hitchhikers and are usually unknowingly transported in on luggage,
clothing, or other belongings that are carried by individuals as they travel. Current
outbreaks have been traced to increased domestic and international tourism. This is
a particular problem for hotels, motels, and apartments, where turnover of
occupants is constant. Infestations can also occur inadvertently by bringing infested
furniture, mattresses, or used clothing to one's household. A third way people get
bed bugs is by moving into a vacant apartment. The apartment may appear to be
"clean", but because bed bugs can survive for many months without feeding, bed
bugs may already be present in the unit. Lastly, bed bugs may travel between units
in multi-unit buildings after originally being brought into the building by one of the
aforementioned routes. The bugs can wander between adjoining apartments through
voids in walls and holes though which wires and pipes pass.

Common Places of Infestations
Bedbugs are very flat, allowing them to hide in tiny crevices. A crack wide enough to
fit the edge of a credit card can harbor bedbugs. The most common place to find
bedbugs is the bed. Bedbugs often hide within seams, tufts, and crevices of the
mattress, box spring, bed frame and headboard.

Bedbugs also hide among items stored under beds. Many areas besides beds,
however, can harbor bedbugs such as nightstands, dressers, upholstered chairs and
sofas. Other common places to find bedbugs include: along and under the edge of
wall-to-wall carpeting (especially behind beds and furniture); cracks in wood
molding; ceiling-wall junctures; behind wall-mounts, picture frames, switch plates
and outlets; under loose wallpaper; amongst clothing stored in closets; and inside
clocks, phones, televisions and smoke detectors. Bedbugs are capable of traveling as
far as 100 feet to feed, but usually remain close to the host in bedrooms. Bedbugs
can be found alone, but more often congregate in groups. These groups of bedbugs
are very often found in beds, usually either in the seams of a mattress (usually the
seams closest to the sleeper), in the box spring, or within the structure of the bed

Identifying Infestations
The only way to definitely determine if the bites are from bed bugs is to find and
identify the bugs themselves. This can be a challenging task and can be
accomplished by carefully inspecting the common places of infestation. If you
suspect you have an infestation call HPC for an inspection. If you find something you
are suspicious of being a bed bug, capture the suspicious bug with a piece of clear
sticky tape and then affix the tape to an index card or piece of paper. You can then
take your captured evidence to our office and we can identify the specimen under a
microscope. I would recommend finding several samples because many will end up
not being bed bugs at all and rather dirt or lint.

If you are unable to accomplish the challenging task of capturing a bed bug, the next
most reliable way of detecting bedbug infestations is through the presence of bedbug
feces or crushed bed bugs, which can stain bedding. Staining can range from blood
red to a dark brown and usually shows up in streaky lines.
Lastly, bed bug bites themselves can serve as a method of detection. The skin lesion
produced by the bite of a bed bug resembles those caused by many other kinds of
blood feeding insects, such as mosquitoes and fleas.

Though bedbug bites can occur singly, they often follow a distinctive pattern of a
linear group of a few or more bites. These groupings can be the distinguishing factor
between a bed bug bite and a bite from an insect such as a mosquito. These patterns
of bites are caused when a bedbug is disturbed in feeding by a person moving, and
then the bedbug resumes feeding. Bedbug bites also often occur in lines marking the
paths of blood vessels running close to the surface of the skin. You also want to rule
out the possibility of a rash. Bed bug bites occur individually and are non-contiguous
like most bumps caused from rashes. They also are often larger raised higher than
bumps of a rash.

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