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Bed Bug Identification and Characteristics

bed bug.jpg

Bed Bug Appearance

  • 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.
  • Shape. 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.
  • Characteristics. 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.

Bed Bug Behavior and Diet

Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans and other mammals. As soon as they hatch, baby bed bugs - or nymphs - look for a host to begin feeding from. Once they locate a food source, they attach to its skin and probe for a good access point using their straw-like mouths. A feasting bed bug takes anywhere from 3-10 minutes to complete a meal, stopping once they are completely engorged.

Bed bugs are shy and nocturnal creatures that mostly feed at night. Once finished, they leave the host and return to their hiding place for several days to completely digest the meal. This cycle repeats each time the bed bug becomes hungry - normally every five to 10 days.

Bed Bug Reproduction and Life Cyclelife cycle of a bed bug

Bed bugs don’t become fertile until they reach their final, adult life stage. On average, an adult female bed bug will lay 131 eggs in her lifetime, or approximately one to five eggs each day. Their nests can be found hidden in bed frames, floors, walls and other similar and quiet sites within homes or businesses.

Bed bug eggs can take anywhere from 6 to 28 days to hatch, depending on the environmental settings and temperatures. The warmer it is and the more food available, the more prolific they’ll be. 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.

Bed Bug Scientific Information

Scientific Order: Hemiptera

Family: Cimicidae

Common Species:

  • Common Bed bug (Cimex lectularius)

  • Bat bug (Cimex pilosellus)

  • Eastern Bat bug (Cimex adjunctus)

Signs of Infestationmattress stained by bed bugs

Bed bugs leave behind a lot of visual cues to let you know you have an infestation. Look for early detection signs of bed bugs on sheets. Inexplicable small brown or red stains on your sheets are a common sign that you have an infestation. On top of these stains, look for visual cues with clusters of eggs and bugs (little dark spots) in all the seams and crevices on your bed or fabric furniture.

Control and Prevention

Assured offers professional bed bug control in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. If you attempt treatment on your own, the best way to control bed bugs is to find where they're hiding and keep those areas as clean as possible. Consistently vacuum all upholstery, mattresses, and pillows. Launder all clothing and bedding weekly in the warmest setting possible. Get rid of bed skirts or dust ruffles and keep blankets or covers off the floor.

If you have an infestation, treat mattresses, box springs, couches and other upholstered furniture or cushions with “dry” steam using professional-grade steamers with low vapor flow rates. You can use store-bought chemicals but be sure you address the entire infestation or bed bugs will rebound quickly.

The surest way to eliminate bugs from your home or business is to have a professional pest control team handle the problem. At Assured, we use a variety of methods, including heat treatment, to remove all bed bugs from a site. Our experts will return to your site for a bed bug inspection to reevaluate and treat if needed until all bed bugs are completely gone.

Bed Bug FAQ

Are bed bugs dangerous?

Bed bugs don’t carry disease, but they are a very obnoxious nuisance that can be difficult to get rid of once they take hold. Bed bug bites can cause irritation or itching. Their presence can cause anxiety and sleeplessness.

What color are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are normally dark brown or rust colored. Babies begin colorless and gradually become darker brown as they grow.

How long can bed bugs live?

Typically, 3-4 months. There is debate about how long bed bugs can survive without a blood meal. In colder weather, bed bugs can slow their metabolism and survive for longer stretches of time.

How to tell if I have bed bugs?bed bug crawling on person

The easiest way is by noticing bites that weren’t there the night before or seeing bugs on your mattress or in your bedding. Assured has a K9 bed bug team that uses dogs to pinpoint where bugs are hiding.

How do bed bugs spread?

Bed bugs are notorious hitch hikers. They cluster in hubs like hotels, airports and malls where large numbers of people pass through daily. They can climb into your luggage or on to your clothes and follow you home. Once there it may take time before you notice. You may never know where bed bugs come from, but a simple precaution is to throw all your travel laundry into a high heat dryer when you get home. This will kill any uninvited bugs.

What do bed bugs look like on a mattress?

Bed bugs themselves are tiny dark dots about the size of a pin head. They can be hard to see alone but visible in groups. They also leave easier to notice rust colored smears that will stain your bedding and mattress.

How do I prepare for bed bug treatment?

Preparing for bed bug treatment depends on which treatment your provider recommends. For heat treatment, you simply need to evacuate all people and pets from the premises. For steam treatments, you may need to rearrange rooms to accommodate your pest control technicians. We’ll discuss all preparations with you. Our goal is for you to feel safe and comfortable with your treatment.

More Bed Bug Information

Similar Insects

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