Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs - What Are These Things?
Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Oh My!!
We have all heard the saying “Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite”!
I use to hear this saying all the time when I was young, and I never knew what a bed bug was. I thought it was in reference to monsters in the night or something like that. As an adult, I now know that bed bugs are real – they are bugs that bite during the night while you sleep.
Bed bugs have hit the news – on the radio, online and in newspapers across the country. A fear of bed bugs is spreading and some people have gone so far as to say that they will not even travel to cities with bed bug infestations, especially in the hotels. That seems extreme to me, but let’s take a closer look at the bed bug.
What are Bed Bugs?
A bed bug is an insect that is wingless and has an oval shaped body when it is an adult. Prior to feeding, the body is approximately ¼” (or 6 mm) long and is flat like paper. After feeding, a bed bug will turn dark red from the ingested blood and will bloat like a mosquito.
An adult bed bug has a one year life span. This does not sound like a long lifespan, but a female in this one year can lay anywhere from 200 – 400 eggs. With a stable food supply and with proper temperatures, she will lay closer to the 400 range of eggs in her lifetime. The eggs are about the size of an apple seed, pear shaped and white. The eggs are laid in clusters of 10-50 eggs and are deposited in cracked and crevices. Once laid, the eggs will hatch in 10 days.
What Do Bed Bugs Eat?
Bed bugs have a similar diet as mosquitoes – they feed on the blood of humans, birds and other mammals by biting through the skin. As they are a night insect, they feed during the night and will bite a human anywhere on the body but prefer to bite around the face, arms, hands, upper torso, lower legs and the neck. However, unlike mosquitoes, both male and female bed bugs bite and they can survive up to six months without feeding.
Where Do Bed Bugs Live?
Bed bugs are night insects. They prefer dark areas and hide in places that afford them darkness. Common hiding places for bed bugs include the bed, areas near the bed, under the bed and near where the person sleeps. Bed bugs cannot fly or jump so it remains close to the source of food.
How Do I Get Bed Bugs?
There are two ways to contract bed bugs. One is through migration and the other is through hitch hiking. Migration is when bed bugs walk to a new location through hallways, plumbing, crevices, electrical lines, openings or other means. Hitchhiking is when bed bugs climb into or onto clothing, bags, luggage, furniture or other belongings and then taken to their new location by the person.
I Need More Information on Bed Bugs!
This short article only covers the basics about bed bugs. If you want to learn more about them, including how to recognize bed bugs, determine whether you have them and how to prevent bringing them home, then the second part of Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs - Are You in Bed With Me?!? will provide you the knowledge and skills to identify, find and prevent an infestation of bed bugs.
© November 4, 2010