Bed bugs are a tiny creature that makes people cringe when they hear their name. The bed bug is not as harmful as one might imagine. The main characteristic that makes them seem so awful is that they live very close to humans. Unlike many other pests that make nests inside homes or near them, the bed bugs makes their homes in very close proximity to where people are; for instance, in their beds. The bed bug does get its name from its most popular home choice although it does live in other places with in a home.
The bed bug is smaller, about 3/16 of an inch long and 1/8 of an inch wide. They are shaped more like an oval and are flat looking. As adults there coloring is similar to a cockroaches, reddish brown to dark brown in color. As babies or nymphs they are born almost translucent or pale white, and then as they mature they develop color.
Bed bugs are nocturnal insects, but they have been known to be awake in the day time if they are hungry. The bed bug has some very peculiar eating habits. They only eat blood. It can be human blood, hence why humans get bed bug bites, or any other type of mammal such as dogs, cats, chickens, cows, etc. They usually feed slightly before sunrise, making it easier to feed on humans who are sleeping in beds, or pets that are sleeping because their masters are. Bed bugs can and often do bite the same person more than once, often going back for more in a different spot. Once they have filled up on their food supply they can go up to a year with out needing more blood.
New bed bugs are coming into the world at a fast rate. Bed bugs lay up to 5 eggs a day; within their life they average 500 eggs. After about two weeks the eggs will hatch, the eggs are extremely small about the size of a dust spec. Once they are born they are the size of a pin point. They will start to grow and over time will shed five times before they become adults. Also during this time they will be biting as they need food to survive and the mother can not get it for them. This process usually takes about a month. Once the bed bug is an adult it is able to reproduce, and the cycle continues.
Bed bug bites can be annoying, but they are not harmful as long as the victim does not irritate the bite. When they bite into flesh two mouth parts are used, they are like tubes. One injects the bed begs saliva into the bite; and the bed bugs saliva has an anesthetic in it. As this flows into the person the other tube sucks out the blood into the bed bug. The bed bug usually will feed for about five minutes and then remove itself from the person or animal. Since the bed bugs may bite different people, there is a fear that they will transmit diseases in the process, but bed bugs do not transmit diseases. There are of course side affects from the bite, but nothing too serious. Often times a person will not realize they have been bitten for up to a week after the bite actually occurred. Once they have realized it the side affects become apparent. The most noticeable side affect is a strong itching sensation. There are some simple remedies to help with the annoying feeling. Apply a cream or ointment to help with the itching sensation, avoid scratching the bite, if the bite is scratched it can become infected from the irritation, and if this occurs it is best to go see a doctor because an antibiotic might be needed to help heal the infected bite. The side affects might not last long, but they could as the bite mark itself usually is visible for up to two weeks. In any case if you are bitten by a bed bug avoid scratching!
Picture from www.creativecommons.org