Bed bugs continue to be a common pest
Bed bugs are widespread and have been found in houses, churches, apartments, hotels, schools, hospitals, dormitories, airplanes, and movie theaters. They use their straw-like mouth parts to suck blood from warm-blooded animals such as humans, bats, and birds. Adults are oval-shaped, flattened front to back, and wingless. Bed bugs hatchlings are so small they can pass through a stitch-hole in a mattress. At maturity, they are 4-5 mm long and 1.5-3 mm wide. They are light brown when hungry but after a feeding on blood, their abdomen looks bright red, red-brown, or blackish. Bed bugs may be mistaken for small cockroaches but unlike cockroaches, which scavenge human food, bed bugs feed only on blood. They remain hidden during the day and actively feed at night. Their bites are painless but the bite wounds can be extremely itchy for days later.
This series of four photographs show how a bed bug’s abdomen swells while taking a blood meal from a human host.
Bed bugs can ingest seven times their own weight in blood, which would be the equivalent of an average-sized male drinking 120 gallons of liquid. If disturbed, alarmed, or crushed, they leave dark stains (fecal spots), often on sheets and bedding.
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Found bed bugs on a matteress? Don’t encase or replace
Too often the simple approach to take when you find a mattresses with bed bugs is to encase the mattress in a plastic bag. Mattress encasement will not prevent bed bugs... bed bugs live all around our rooms! Putting a mattress in a bag is a great idea to prevent bodily fluids from penetrating a new mattress, but the mattress bags are completely worthless in the prevention of the harborage or spread of bed bugs. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet. Too many people feel helpless in combatting bed bugs and throw away their carpeting, furniture, and clothing. Don’t make this costly mistake... because in spite of this extreme action, eggs can (and often do!) remain and will hatch a couple of weeks later just to repeat the cycle. Learn why heat is the safe answer for a toxic-free solution to bed bugs in one, single treatment.
Bed bugs have three stages in their life cycle: egg, nymph, adult. Adult females lay eggs on rough dry surfaces near their hiding places, either singly or in small clusters. One to four weeks later, the nymphs hatch from the eggs and seek a host animal from which to feed. As nymphs eat and mature, they outgrow their skin, grow a new skin layer (exoskeleton) beneath it, and shed the old one, a process called molting. Following each molt, the nymph is a little larger. After the fifth growth-molt cycle, usually 4-6 weeks later, the bed bug reaches full size and is an adult. The process of changing body forms while maturing is called metamorphosis.