More About Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs: Facts, Identification & Control

Appearance

Bed bugs are flat, reddish-brown, oval insects about 3/16-inch long or the size of an apple seed. Swollen and reddish after a blood meal.

Habit

Cracks and crevices including mattress seams, sheets, furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames. Often found in hotels, where they can travel from room to room and in visitors luggage.

Diet

Feed on blood.

Reproduction

Females can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live over 300 days.

Other Facts

Bedbugs are small, nocturnal, wingless insects that belong to the family of Cimicidae. They feed on human blood and other warm-blooded hosts. They are oval in shape and grow up to 4-5mm long when fully grown. Their skin color is rust brown to a deeper red brown. Bedbugs are also known as "mahogany flats", "red coats" and "chinches." The adult bedbug does not have any wings and has a flattened body.

Not only are they dorsoventrally flattened, but they are also thin which creates a great advantage for them. They can hide in unusual places such as behind baseboards, floor cracks, and under carpets or behind loose wallpaper, which makes them difficult to detect.

Not only are they undetectable, but bedbugs also tend to stay close together and have a distinctively sweet, yet unpleasant smell. Blood spotting on mattresses and nearby furnishings are also signs of a bedbug infestation.

Bedbugs have existed since the ancient times and are found in temperate climates throughout the world. There are different types of bedbugs, but the common bedbug with a scientific name of Cimex lectularius, is adaptable to human environments.

In tropical regions, including Florida, other visible kind of species called Cimex hemipterus, are also known to swarm among poultry and bats. Other places, such as West Africa and South America, are home to the Leptocimex boueti species that infests bats and humans. On the other hand, the species that are found among bats are called Cimex pilosellus and C. pipistrella, and are lurking all over in North America, primarily in poultry farms.

Since they can survive in birds' nests, they can be seen in houses and buildings that have several bird nests, particularly on rooftops. They are also known to feed on bats or household pets, but their typical source of nutrition is human blood.

Bedbugs have a great worldwide distribution due to human travelers who transport luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture. Though they may reside in unusual places, they are also likely to be found in small cracks near a bed or in comforters and bed sheets.

The common or household bedbug, or Cimex lectularius, is found worldwide. These insects adapt well to human environments and typically live in temperate climates. A number of other pests resemble bedbugs in habits and appearance.

The tropical bedbug, or Cimex hemipterus, was only recently discovered by the Medical Entomology Department, ICPMR. Found in tropical regions such as Florida, this species infests poultry and bats.

Leptocimex boueti, or bat bugs, have also been observed in tropical regions. This species feeds primarily on bats, although they do sometimes select human hosts. Bat bugs and bedbugs are extremely similar in appearance and one can only distinguish between them through microscopic examination. Other species, such as Cimex pilosellus and C. pipistrella, also target bats.