Bed Bug Facts
Scientific Name: Cimex lectularius and C. hemipterus
Color: Reddish-brown to mahogany
Size: ¼ (5mm) inch long
Shape: Like an apple seed. Scientifically: oval-shaped and dorso-ventrally flattened
Region: Worldwide Distribution (c. hemipterus is mostly tropic and sub-tropic)
Food Sources: Mainly human blood but will feed on other mammals
- No known disease transmission
- Social isolation
- Economic loss
- Habits bulleted
- Excellent hitchhikers
- Excellent at staying hidden
- Seek out hosts by detecting carbon dioxide and pheromones
- Reproduce and infest rapidly
- Excellent hitchhikers
- Stay hidden well, prefer to remain unseen, spend majority of time hidden
- Seek hosts by detecting Carbon monoxide, pheromones and heat
- Active mainly at night, midnight to 5:00AM
- Move quickly
- Practice traumatic insemination
- Reproduce rapidly
Reproduction and Life Cycle
Bedbugs undergo incomplete metamorphosis. An adult female which has been mated and partaken in a blood meal can lay viable eggs which will hatch within 14 days under optimal conditions. During the egg stage, the bed bug completes five larval stages, skips the pupal stage and emerges as a fully developed bed bug. If a host is available, hatched bed bugs will undergo a series of molting from their first instar stage to an adult. This can take between 2 and 4 weeks. Once maturity is reached, reproduction will continue with the new generation. From egg to mature adult takes 4 to 6 weeks.
Harborage and Infestation
Once a bed bug is introduced to a feeding area (your home, for instance) they will quickly find a place to harbor and hide from sight. Usually this will be nearby their food source. Bed bugs will most commonly infest areas like:
- Trim work behind the bed
- Living room furniture
However, they can infest a multitude of unusual areas as well. They have been found in the corners of walls and ceilings, behind pictures, on ceilings, in shoes, hats and other clothing articles, in purses, stored cash, airplanes, cars, trains, busses and just about anywhere else you can imagine.
Females can lay an average of 1 to 7 eggs per day for about 10 days after a blood meal; on average about 5 to 20 eggs per feeding. The female must feed again before laying additional eggs. Bedbug eggs are typically produced at equal rates of male and female, a 1:1 ratio. A female can produce over a hundred eggs in her lifetime. This process is repeated with each new adult female.
To put this into perspective, one egg-laying female can produce an infestation quickly. At the rate of 3.5 female eggs per month, per female, one female can turn into 7,000 females in only 6 months. Of course, this is in perfect conditions. However, one female become an infestation of 1000 bed bugs in a 6 month period is perfectly within reason. Although 1000 is much less than 7000, either number is unwelcome.
- Regular inspections
- Avoid infested areas
- Store luggage away from beds and bedrooms
- Wash and dry clothing if you have visited an infested area
- Avoid second-hand furniture and clothing
- Inspect hotel and vacation rentals before sleeping
- Educate yourself on bed bug anatomy and signs of infestation
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