Facts, Identification and Control
Scientific Order: Hemiptera
Common Bed bug (Cimex lectularius)
Bat bug (Cimex pilosellus)
Eastern Bat bug (Cimex adjunctus)
Size: Eggs are approximately 1/32 of an inch long while adults are approximately 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch long.
Color: Their eggs are white, while babies (nymphs) are colorless, and adults are a mahogany or rusty brown color.
Behavior and Diet
As soon as they hatch, the nymphs look to find a host to begin feeding. Once they find the food source and are ready to eat, they attach to the skin and begin to probe for a good ‘access point.’ Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures, feeding only at nights.
It takes anywhere from 3-10 minutes for a bed bug to complete a meal, by which time they are completely engorged. However, once they leave the host, they will return to their hiding place for several days in order to completely digest the meal. This cycle is repeated each time the bed bugs are hungry. Normally, bed bugs attempt to feed every five to 10 days.
Bed bugs only become fertile upon reaching their final, adult life stage. On average, a female bed bug will lay 131 eggs in her lifetime, or approximately one to five eggs each day. Their nests can be found in bed frames, floors, walls and other similar sites within homes or businesses. The eggs can take anywhere from 6 to 28 days to hatch, depending on the environmental settings and temperatures. Bed bugs develop very quickly and can reproduce so often that it is possible for bed bugs to produce offspring of 5-7 generations in one year.
All bed bugs are oval shaped and have six legs. Their feet have claws, not pads, making it harder for bed bugs to move about freely on slicker surfaces, such as plastic or metal.
Bed bugs are wingless insects that are flattened on the top and bottom with microscopic hairs that give the impression of a wrinkled appearance.
After feeding, they become engorged with blood, increasing their body length and swelling at the sides while typically expressing a more dull-red or red-brown color.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
Bed bugs leave behind a lot of visual cues to let you know you have an infestation. Inexplicable small brown or red stains on your sheets are a common sign that you have an infestation. On top of these stains you should be able to see visual cues of the bugs with clusters of eggs and bugs (little dark spots) in all the seams and crevices on your bed or fabric furniture.
Treatment and Prevention
Management and control is primarily based on finding the locations of where the bed bugs are hiding and keeping those areas as clean as possible. Throughout all stages of a bed bug’s life, it is possible to see a bed bug through visual inspection.
There are several methods to treat for bed bugs once infestation occurs and one can take certain precautions to help reduce risks.
Avoid subway benches, flea markets, buying used clothing or borrowing from friends and do not bring home discarded items.
Cracks and crevices in your home should be sealed with caulk or other substances to reduce entry points.
Consistently vacuum all upholstery, mattresses and pillows.
Launder all clothing and bedding weekly in the warmest setting possible and dry using high heat.
Use mattress covers that are tightly sealed.
Get rid of any bedskirts or dust ruffles and keep blankets or covers off of the floor.
If infestation occurs, mattresses, box springs, couches and other upholstered furniture or cushions should be treated with “dry” steam using professional-grade steamers with low vapor flow rates. It is best to hire a professional to handle these types of treatments. Assured Environments specializes in all types of bed bug solutions for New York and New Jersey.
Certain pesticides, both natural and green solutions as well as chemicals are available for use in eradicating bed bugs. Cimex Rest Assured, an all-natural bed bug killing spray that is distributed by Assured Environments, is an excellent solution for treating small bed bug infestations. This odorless, non-staining, non-flammable formula is made from enzymes that dehydrate bed bugs and instantly kills them while staying completely safe to humans and pets.