What Are Bed Bugs?

WHAT ARE BED BUGS?

The mere thought of bed bugs can be enough to make one feel itchy. To call these tiny insects infamous would be an understatement. In spite of modern, elevated cleanliness in the home, bed bugs continue to be an issue. It is important to be able to identify these bugs in order to take the right steps to eradicate them.

HOW TO IDENTIFY COMMON BED BUGS

Common Bed Bugs (cimex lecturlarius) are tiny insects that can measure about 0.18-0.25 of an inch and are about the size of an apple seed.  

Their life stages include the egg, four stages of growth, during which they are called nymphs, and then the adult stage, in which they can mate and reproduce.  

The eggs are about 1mm, about the size of a pinhead, and can easily be overlooked due to their size. The adult bed bugs lay their eggs near a host (usually a person), and the eggs typically take about ten days to hatch.

They have four different stages of growth in between the egg stage and the adult stage in which they grow from 1.5mm-4.5mm.  During these stages they can be whitish-yellowish or translucent, and are easy to miss if they haven’t been fed, because of how small and virtually colorless they are.

Bed bugs have oval-shaped bodies and tiny heads, and the adults are a brownish-reddish color. If they have not eaten recently, they will be more brown and flat, and if they have eaten recently they will be more red and plump.  They have six legs, antennas, and a musty-sweet smell that comes from the glands located towards the backs of their bodies.

When checking to see if you have a bed bug infestation, look for reddish stains on your sheets which are a result of bed bugs being crushed. Also look for tiny dark spots, which are their feces, and whitish-yellow skins, which are their egg shells.

WHERE THEY LIVE

As their name suggests, bed bugs prefer to infest mattresses, specifically the crevices along the edges. It is not uncommon for bed bugs to inhabit other crevices once a room is already infested.  Places they might hide can include loose wallpaper, baseboards, carpet edges, and behind picture frames.  If you have a bed bug infestation, you will want to take apart the furniture in the infested room(s) as you will probably find them in the crevices.

Click here to learn how to get rid of bed bugs.

WHAT THEY EAT

The Common Bed Bug’s preferred host (the mammal that it feeds on) are humans.  If they are unable to feed on humans, they will feed on other animals. Other types of bed bugs have specific mammals that they prefer to feed on, but they will all settle for the nearest warm blood that they can find.

During their bite, bed bugs suck blood from their host. These bites usually last for a few minutes while the host is sleeping, and is initially painless.  While they do not carry disease and are not known to cause any significant health problems, their bites can turn into unpleasant itchy welts, so it is important to eradicate these pests. Click here to read more about bed bug bites and how to treat them.

Some people think that one way to get rid of bed bugs is to starve them.  However, while they prefer to feed at regular intervals, and usually come out to feed at night, an adult bed bug can go about five months without eating, so starvation is not a practical solution.  

GETTING RID OF BED BUGS

There are many steps you can take to eradicate them, including using Dr. Killigan’s Rest In Peace Non-Toxic Bed Bug Spray.  This spray kills on contact and remains effective for 90 days after spraying.  Because it is completely non toxic and safe for humans and pets, it can be sprayed directly onto your bed and then slept in right after.  

If you have identified that you do have these pests, read our blog about how to get rid of bed bugs

Happy eradicating!