All about Bed Bugs
These little guys are tough. There are found everywhere and even with their recent decline, they still live on and pop up all over the USA. This can be from overseas travel, resiliency to pesticides or just their sheer ability to spread very quickly.
Definition of bed bugs
Technically known as the Cimex lectularius, this parasitic insect belongs to the cimicid family. Bed bugs are barely visible to the naked eye; most measure no more than 6 mm in length. Key identifiers include:
- A mottled, red-brown color
- Flat, ovoid shape
- Relatively small wings compared to body size
Human blood is the bed bug’s sole food source, and they primarily seek out human hosts through two attractants: body heat and the carbon dioxide of our breath. Although pets and other animals may carry bed bugs, they will only bite humans. Bed bugs are nocturnal eaters and will rarely bite humans during the day.
Each bite will produce a small red lump, along with a severe itch that may linger for several days. However, numerous studies have concluded that bed bugs do not transmit any blood-borne pathogens between human hosts.
Bed Bug Statistics and facts
- 5 eggs a day and as many as 200 eggs throughout a female’s life which is usually a year or a little more.
- Extreme ability to survive in temperatures from 116 degrees Fahrenheit all the way too freezing.
- Eat seven times their body weight of Huan blood per feed.
- Can travel great distances in search of food (100ft)
The life cycle of a bed bug consists of seven stages, beginning with the egg. Most bed bug eggs hatch after seven to 10 days. The next five life stages, known as instars, involve gradual growth to adult size. In order to progress to each instar, the immature bed bug must feed on human blood and shed its skin, or ‘molt’. Bed bugs reach adulthood after the fifth instar is completed. From the time eggs are laid, the average bed bug will reach full maturity after 37 days. Bed bugs usually feed once or twice a week. However, they can live for up to three months at room temperature without feeding on a human host, and studies have found they survive for even longer in colder environments.
According to the 2014 ‘Bed Bugs Cities List’ by Orkin Pest Control, the leading U.S. city for bed bug treatments is Chicago, Ill. Other cities with high treatment numbers include: Detroit, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Los Angeles, Calif.; Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Denver, Colo.
A recent survey polled Americans in different parts of the country about bed bug encounters. The South led all regions, with 34% of respondents reporting an encounter with bed bugs. The Northeast placed second with 26%, followed by the Midwest with 22% and the West with 18%.