Bed Bugs

Bed Bug Identification (Cimex lectularius)

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed Bug

Bed bugs are small brown bugs with flat, oblong bodies. Adult bed bugs grow to be about a quarter of an inch long and are distinctively reddish-brown in color. The eggs are difficult to spot, as they are only about 1mm in size and almost clear in color. Bed bug nymphs look similar to the adults but are both lighter in color and smaller in size.

Adult females are able to lay up to five eggs in a day, and those eggs are sticky, making them easily adherable to surfaces to keep them safe until they hatch. Once hatched, bed bug nymphs are incredibly minuscule, but they grow rapidly, shedding their exoskeleton with each blood meal. Bed bugs prefer human blood, but will also feed on other warm-blooded animals they come into contact with.

Bed bugs are primarily nocturnal, which is why they’re mostly found in beds, hence their name. While you go to sleep, bed bugs will start biting you, feasting on your blood, and leaving you with itchy red bites the next morning. Their nocturnal activity is the main reason why hotels, motels, and other businesses that offer sleeping accommodations commonly have issues with bed bugs, and why many home bed bug infestations originate at these locations.

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Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?

Although bed bugs aren’t currently considered to be a threat to our health, their bites can produce itchy, red skin rashes, and scratching them can bring about serious health concerns if they become infected. While not a direct physical danger, bed bugs’ tendency to keep people up at night can also have a damaging effect on their psyche due to lack of sleep and the constant feeling of being dirty.

Common Warning Signs Of Bed Bugs

Since bed bugs are such a difficult pest to handle, it pays to know the early warning signs they leave behind so that you can act as quickly as possible when they invade.

Common warning signs of bed bugs include:

  • Small brown or black spots or smears of blood, especially on mattresses and bed linens.
  • Tiny brown droppings found in sleeping areas.
  • Shed exoskeletons left behind by growing nymphs.
  • Tiny white eggs and egg casings often found in clusters. These eggs will look like small grains of rice.
  • Live bed bugs found on mattresses or bedding.
  • Bed bug bites found on your body. Keep in mind that 30% of people will NOT have a reaction to a bed bug bite and would be unaware that they have been bitten.

These warning signs are often found around bedding or other frequently-used furniture, on mattress edges and corners, in stitching on upholstered furniture, on outlet covers, and the surface of baseboards near the bed. They can also sometimes be found near electronics

These areas may also contain bed bug bodies. While they are rarely seen with the naked eye due to their nocturnal nature, bed bugs congregate together when active. Seeing bed bugs with your own eyes is a sure sign of a severe infestation, so if you're finding groups of small oval-shaped bugs in the same location, time to call a professional for help.

It’s also helpful to know what bed bug bites look like, as they can appear differently for different people:

  • Bed bug bites make the skin rise into a red or pink bump on the skin, similar in appearance to mosquito bites.
  • Bed bug bites will appear in rows or clusters. Bed bugs feed multiple times a night, so bed bug bites will most commonly be grouped together at certain parts of the body instead of distributed across your skin.
  • Bed bug bites will often have a rash around them which can resemble hives.
  • Research has shown that approximately 30% of people will not have a reaction of any kind to a bed bug bite.

If you are seeing signs of bites or suspect that you have a bed bug problem, call a professional for bed bug service immediately!

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