Adults on human
Scientific name: Cimex Lectularius
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood. The common bed bug, is best known to feed on human blood. The name “bed bug” derives from the preferred habitat of Cimex lectularius: warm houses and especially near or inside bed frames, mattresses, towels, socks, sofas and or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night, but are not exclusively nocturnal. They usually feed on their hosts without being noticed.
A number of adverse health effects may result from bed bug bites, including skin rashes, itchiness, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. Bed bugs are not known to transmit any pathogens as disease vectors. Certain signs and symptoms suggest the presence of bed bugs; finding the adult insects confirms the diagnosis.
Bed bugs are around 5 to 6mm long before a blood meal and extending to about 7mm when fully engorged. They do not have wings and therefore unable to fly. Eggs are creamy white and getting darker as they hatch to larvae while adults are oval-shaped and rusty red-brownish in colour.
The females are larger in size than the males on average. The abdomens of the sexes differ in that the males appear to have “pointed” abdomens, which are actually their copulatory organs, while females have more rounded abdomens. Since males are attracted to large body size, any bed bug with a recent blood meal can be seen as a potential mate.
Bed bugs are attracted to human bodies especially during sleeping which include factors like heat, sweat, odour and carbon dioxide. Their mouth parts will pierce through the human skin and inject saliva with anticoagulants and painkillers so that human won’t feel the pain during the bite and suction of the blood. The bite usually produces a swelling with no red spot, but when may bugs start to feed on a small area, reddish spots will appear after the swelling subsides.
They are usually found in cracks and crevices behind peeling wallpaper, mattresses, sofas, cushions, curtains, bed frames, carpets, floor rugs, cupboards, light switches, skirting boards, etc so that it’s nearer to access to human for feeding.
They will usually feed the host just before dawn and when alarmed, they move quickly and emit an unpleasant odour.
There are around 6 stages to the lifecycle of bed bugs from egg to a fully grown adult which can be from around 45 days, depending on the temperature and the availability of food resources.
A fertilized female with enough food lay 3 to 4 eggs each day and 200 to 500 eggs over a 2 months period until the end of their lifespans (about 9 months under warm conditions).
The typical life span of a bed bug is about 50 days to over a year depending on favourable conditions. They can survive for weeks to months without feeding.
Diseases and Risks
Bed bug bites on human may lead to a range of skin manifestations from no visible effects to prominent reddish blisters, rashes and other allergic symptoms. No studies have found that this pests are capable of transmitting any forms of bacterias or viruses to humans.
Investigations into potential transmission of HIV, MRSA, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and hepatitis E have not shown that bed bugs can spread these diseases. However, arboviruses may be transmissible.
Jaya Pest Solutions encourages people to constantly maintain personal hygiene, cleanliness of their clothings, bedrooms, curtains, blankets, floor rugs and any / all indoor furnitures like sofa, chairs, cupboards, etc. To effectively manage a serious bed bug infestation, it’s always important to contact a pest control professional.