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What are Bed Bugs?

Bidisha Mukherjee Jun 30, 2019
Bed bugs are tiny insect that are mostly found in our beds, and other the furniture around in the house. Here's all you need to know about this pest.
A bed bug is a parasite that is found in the furniture of our homes. These insects are hematophagous, which means, they are bloodsuckers. They feed on blood, and most species, feed on human blood only when other food sources are unavailable. Only bugs of the Cimex lectularius species feed only on human blood.
In a single day, a female bed bug may lay about five eggs, and during its entire lifespan it lays about 500 eggs. These hatch after one or two weeks, and are the size of a poppy seed when born. Immediately after hatching, the offspring need blood for its growth and development.
It undergoes five molting stages before it reaches maturity. This ectoparasite, needs one feeding at every stage to pass into the next one. At normal room temperature, a nymph takes five weeks to transform into an adult.
The size of an adult bed bug is around one-fourth of an inch. It has an oval-shaped body and does not have any wings. The body is thin and flat. As they are wingless, they cannot fly but they can run very fast. Their common color is rust-brown, but they become reddish-brown after intake of blood.
For feeding, a bed bug pierces the skin using a stylet fascicle, which looks like a beak. They can detect their feeding site from the warmth of the host's body and from the carbon dioxide released by them. They do not dwell on human body but just come in contact for food. They are capable of reproduction only after reaching the adult stage.
As the name suggests, bed bugs live in beds, mattresses, sofas, and in other pieces of home furniture. They mostly invade the sleeping and resting areas of our homes. These bugs have a tendency to keep close contact with one other and are found to be highly active during the nights.
They come out during the daytime in search of food only if they are very hungry, even though they can live for a long period of time without any food. If they feel threatened, they take refuge in dark locations like cracks and fissures.
Their flattened body makes such hiding places very easy for them to get into. The most favored hiding locations of these insects are floor boards, bed frame, carpet corners, and mattresses.
Detecting these pests is a difficult task due to their size and their habit of hiding themselves in hard-to-reach crevices. Spotting of blood on mattresses and furniture is one sign of bed bug infestation. When the infestation is heavy, one will notice a sickly smell like that of rotting raspberries in the room.
Pest control would need to be done to get rid of this menace from a dwelling. Untidy homes are like breeding places for these bugs, therefore timely maintenance and cleaning are a must.