Bed bugs

Biology

The common bed bug, formally known as Cimex Lectularius at big pest control conferences, resemble apple seeds when in the adult life stage of their bed bug life cycle. They are flat, ovoid in shape, wingless, ectoparasites that feed exclusively on blood-meals. Human blood is the preferred dining choice for the common bed bug. Bed Bugs have become a trending topic of interest in recent years as bed bug infestations have exploded throughout North America. Most notably within urban centers that have dense populations, like Toronto, Ontario. The problem has become such an epidemic that many locales, including New York City, have implemented local laws explicitly designed to deal with the current bed bug scourge.

Types of bed bugs

Is there more than one kind of bed bug? Yes, in the vast richness of our planet’s animal kingdom there is more than one type of “bed bug.” Approximately 90 different species are belonging to the bed bug family, also known as the Cimicidae family. Each species within the family are parasitic, warm-blood sucking insects, with ovoid body shapes and six legs. None can fly yet all have non-functional wing pads. Out of all the Cimicidae family members only three are known to feed on humans: – The common bed bug, or Cimex Lectularius
– Tropical bed bug, or Cimex Hemiptarius
– Bat Bug, or Leptocimex Boueti

Of the three bed bugs that opt for human nourishment, the common bed bug, or C. Lectularious is the most popular in North America.

What attracts bed bugs?

People. People attract bed bugs. Sleeping people are even more attractive to bed bugs than the awake and mobile ones too. They return to the same place each night, providing a reliable food source and cozy atmosphere for the pests. Bed bugs love people because we apparently taste good to common bed bugs. While the common bed bug will snack from other types of mammals, human beings are the absolute gold-standard of meal choices for Cimex Lectularius.  This means we are the ones attracting them to our homes. According to Jorge Parada, MD, medical director, infection control, Loyola University Health System, “If you are alive, warm and breathing then you are a bed bug magnet.”

So, how do they know where to find people? Bed bugs are able to detect the sweet smell of carbon dioxide on our exhaling breaths and sense the warmness of our bodies. Especially when people are lying still, such is the case when people are sleeping. And while people are sleeping, bed bugs have a good amount of time to seek out and zero in on a blood-meal host. When they get going, they can travel about 1 meter per minute, meaning they can get far in one evening of meal seeking.

Can One Bed Bug Cause an Infestation?

Unfortunately, the horrifying answer is yes. If just one, fertilized female bed bug decides to couch surf at your house, a bed bug infestation can develop. This is because just one, fertilized female bed bug, can lay viable eggs. And when those tiny eggs do hatch, there will suddenly be more than only one lone lady bed bug calling your couch home. But, can those babies eventually make more babies?  Why yes, they can! Those baby bed bugs won’t be lonely for long, inbreeding is a common mating practice amongst bed bugs. Those little baby bed bugs will be making whippersnappers of their own in no time! Or, more precisely, in about 37 days. If you’re fortunate, and a lone male bed bug finds himself couch surfing at your casa, an infestation will not occur. A single male bed bug cannot make bed bug babies on his own. He may just hang around nagging you for control of the TV remote.

Find an exterminator

Contact your local exterminator who will advise you on next steps to take.

Act fast

Once you know what to do, act fast and be persistent until you get rid of them.

Ask questions

Ask the exterminators, how much is going to cost and how long is the treatment.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live For?
Since bed bugs are so resilient to a number of things, it seems as though they could live forever. Luckily, they do not. The average life span for a bed bug is 10 months to a year.

Bed bugs hold a very specific trait that enable them to hibernate. This is called diapause, where the bed bugs will go dormant. Diapause allows the bed bug to decrease their metabolism rate and conserve their energy to resume to their normal state where they can be conducive.

How often do bed bugs feed?

Under ideal conditions, bed bugs will consume a blood-meal once every 3-5 days. Baby bed bugs, or nymphs, must consume a blood-meal to move onto the next stage, or instar, of development. Once fully mature, adult bed bugs will feed about once every 5-10 days. They can consume up to three times their body weight in blood per feeding. The estimated volume of blood an adult bed bug consumes per feeding is 0.005mL, about the same amount as a single drop of liquid from an eye dropper. It takes a bed bug anywhere from 3 – 10 minutes to consume their meal.

Will Baby Bed Bugs Bite?

Yes, as soon as hatching is complete, the baby bed bug will have to find blood to feed on in order to survive. They can live without feeding for up to several weeks. When baby bed bugs bite, they will do so more often than the adult bed bugs and for a decreased amount of time.
Bed bugs are able to live a long period of time in cooler temperatures which results in less feeding. They can live up to 1 year, or potentially longer, at 55ºF (13ºC). Do not assume that leaving your residence unoccupied will fix the infestation problem.
Can my dog get
bed bugs?
No, dogs cannot “get” bed bugs. Understanding Mr.Scruggles isn’t infested with bed bugs requires a bit of knowledge about the preferred lifestyle choices of bed bugs. Cimex Lectularius, are ectoparasites, meaning they are parasites that live on the outside of the host’s body, not the inside.

Other fun examples of ectoparasites often found on our canine companions are fleas and ticks. However, bed bugs are not like fleas or ticks, they don’t infest the host. They are a unique -and quite particular- type of ectoparasite. They differ from other blood-sucking nuisances because they don’t live upon a host, they actually live away from a host’s body.

How Do Bed Bugs Travel and How Far?

Beg bugs travel with you! That’s why it is extremely important o take precaution when travelling. When packing, place you clothing items in clear, sealable bags, safely secure everything, and always keep your hard-cased luggage locked when you’re at your residence. Bed bugs tend to find ways into luggage and will fly or drive home with you. Bed bugs can latch on and travel on your clothes without you realizing it.

Where do Bed Bugs Nest?

Bed bugs will nest anywhere that is small, tight, and not easy for you to find. If you happen to spot them on bed sheets, it is likely you will notice some blood stains, bed bug exoskeletons from shedding, or their droppings.

They are not hard to spot, since on light colored sheets they will stand out with their bloody brownish color. The most common places where bed bugs nest:

– Mattresses
– Bed frames / headboards
– Walls / ceilings
– Baseboards
– Dresser and nightstands
– Couches and chairs
– Box springs

Where Are They Most Common?

The most common places with bed bug epidemics have reportedly been in “single-family homes (91 percent), apartments/condominiums (89 percent), and hotels/motels (68 percent),” according to PestWorld.org. As we know, Bed bugs do not have a specific preference for location. As long as there are food sources available and a nesting place, they will be satisfied. As mentioned previously, they do not favour dirtier residences over cleaner ones, the amount of clutter does however, entice them to stay since they love hiding spots.

Not only in residential areas, but bed bugs can be found even in places such as “nursing homes (59 percent, schools and daycares (47 percent), offices (46 percent), college dorms (45 percent), hospitals (36 percent) and public transportation (19 percent),” which isn’t a surprise as these are highly populated public areas where people could easily bring in bed bugs to create an infestation.

Bed Bug Life Cycle and Life Span

It starts with an Egg

Bed bugs are the blood-sucking annoyance no one wants to find out they have. If you find yourself lifting your sheets and inspecting your mattress, only to find bed bugs or even their eggs, you are in for some work ahead.

 

Although there are many ways to rid these pests out of your home, it can take some time and plenty of research before attempting treatment. Before you begin to remove the bed bugs from your home, you should first understand the bed bug life cycle, what they look like, and where to find them. It is important to note that you should always take precaution when considering home remedy treatment for bed bugs or even doing research on the safest products to use.

 

In this section we will discuss the bed bug life cycle and reproduction, from eggs, to nymphs, to adults. Everything from each stage of their growth process, where they nest, how they spread, how they mate and the most important part, how they die.

Can bed bugs transmit disease?
No, common bed bugs are not known to transmit disease from host to host. This is about the only good thing we can say about bed bugs! Despite invading our homes and turning our sleeping quarters into their personal rave scene every night, the common bed bug is not known to transmit diseases that will harm you. That can’t be said for other blood-sucking parasites out there. Ticks, a common insect found in grassy and wooded areas throughout North America is known to transmit Lyme disease to their hosts. Then there is the infamous Tsetse fly found within the sub-Saharan region of Africa; those pests can transmit a deadly disease known as “sleeping sickness” when they feed. And Malaria, a parasite passed on to humans from the bite of infected female mosquitos, that are estimated to have killed 445,000 people in 2016.

Bed bugs are reported to have been connected to the deaths of just 2 people in North America. In both instances, bed bugs were not cited as the cause of death but were considered a contributing factor. So, although dealing with a scourge of bed bugs is a serious problem with potential impacts on a person’s well-being, more than likely their life will not be at risk.