Bed bugs are parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on human blood. Yes that mean your blood! The term most commonly refers to members of the genus Cimex of which Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug, is the best known as it prefers to feed on human blood although other Cimex species are specialized to other animals for example, bat bugs.
The common name “bed bug” is derived from their preferred habitat of warm houses and especially beds and bedding or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night, but are not exclusively nocturnal. They usually feed on their hosts (you) without being noticed.
How did I get Bed Bugs in my home?
Bed bugs have been known as human parasites for thousands of years. At a point in the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have increased in prevalence since 1995. All walks of life are vulnerable to this pest.
Bed Bigs are hitch hikers! Have you been to any of these places lately?
- hotel rooms (even the nice high prices rooms)
- adjacent suitcase in airplane cargo
- traveling for business or pleasure
- coffee shop
- rental moving truck
- trying on clothes in a retail store
- movie theater
Anybody can find themselves with a bed bug problem no matter their income level and no matter how clean they are. Often wealthier or the jet set are more likely to bring home bed bugs because they are in more places where bed bugs can be spread, like hotels and airplanes. We know bed bugs are a traumatic occurrence but there is no need for shame.
What Bed bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are small wing-less insect, flat, and rust colored (color of old blood stain). Visually, they appear to be a cross between a tick and a cockroach. They don’t live on humans like lice or ticks but humans are their favorite food. They are fast runners, but don’t fly and rarely jump. When they are migrating on a moving object they fasten down in a protective crease until the movement has stopped – so they make great hitchhikers.
For a detailed How To Inspect for Bed Bugs click here.
How bed bugs eat your blood?
Bed bugs are nocturnal and prefer to feed at night, however they are opportunistic and will bite if a good meal is available. They are attracted to carbon dioxide and heat and like to live near their feeding source. That means your bed!
When a bed bug feeds they inject an anti-coagulant and anesthetic. The anti-coagulant makes your blood flow and the anesthetic keeps you from feeling them bite you. Some people are not affected by the bites, others can have mild to severe allergic reactions. The more a person gets bit, the more quickly the bite will appear and the body will react to the injected solutions. Bites can show up immediately or be delayed by 3-4 days. Permanent scarring can occur from the bites, but often the emotional trauma of the experience can stay with a person for a lifetime. Skin irritation from bites can often last for up to 2 weeks and may leave the individual exhausted.
Health effects of Bed Bugs
While bed bugs have been reported to CARRY disease, they have not shown to TRANSMIT disease. However, the following are expected health concerns with bed bug bites:
- skin rashes
- psychological effects (being eaten alive)
- allergic symptoms
- Itching & allergic reactions
- Secondary infections and physical scarring from the bites
- Weakened immune system & anemia
- Stress & sleeplessness
- Emotional trauma & mental scarring
Bed bugs have been known human parasites for thousands of years. At a point in the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have made a comeback in prevalence since 1995. Because infestation of human habitats has been on the increase, bed bug bites and related conditions have been on the rise as well.