Bed bugs are a flat, red to brown in colour, oval insect up to 4 to 5 mm long fully grown. Bed bugs only feed on blood. They prefer to be more active at night when the host is asleep as they are attracted to our body heat and the carbon dioxide we exhale. Most bites occur without the host noticing due to an anaesthetic they inject when they pierce the skin.
The name Bed bugs comes from the preferred habitat but they are also found in cracks and crevices including mattress seams, bed frames, furniture, behind headboards, electrical outlet plates which makes them hard to detect. Signs of bed bugs can be seeing the live insects, red to black blood spots on sheets or reactions to bites although one in five people bitten may not experience a reaction. It is possible to pick up bed bugs from any place you visit, often found in hotels, where they can travel from room to room and in visitors’ luggage or other personal belongings such as bags and clothing and travel home with you.
Females lay white, oval eggs (1/16-inch long) into cracks and crevices which hatch in 6-10 days.
Under cool conditions, bed bugs have been able to survive up to a year without a feed.
The adult female must have a blood meal before egg laying and can lay 200 – 500 eggs over a 2 month period in batches of 10 to 50.
The eggs are usually laid in crack and crevices and can be attached to items of furniture or fittings in clusters by a transparent substance.
Bed bugs aren't known to transmit disease or pose any serious medical risk, the stubborn parasites can leave itchy and unsightly bites although not every bite leaves a mark. The bitecan look very similar to bites from other insects like mosquitos and fleas. These bites are often on exposed areas of the body such as the face, neck, arms, hands or around the waist where the hosts clothing moves during sleep.
Control of bed bugs is usually not possible without the help of a professional. There are some additional measures that you will be asked to do to help eradicate bed bugs such as washing infested items at a high temperature and vacuuming regularly.
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