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Home » Bed Bugs » All About Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs

All about the Different Types of Bed bugs, Life Cycle, Biology, Identification, Facts & Other Bed bug Information

Bed bug Taxonomy

Where Do Bed bugs Come From?

Bed bug Habitats

Bed bug Map

Bed bug Anatomy

Bed bug Identification

Types of Bed bugs

Bed bug Reproduction

Bed bug Life Cycle

Bed bug Behavior & Habits

Effects of Weather on Bed bugs

Bed bug Predators

Bed bug Signs

Bed bug FAQ

Bed bug Facts

Bed bug Tracker

Bed bugs Summary

 

See also: Bed bug Control, How to Get Rid of Bed bugs

What are Bed bugs?

guide to understanding bed bugs
        (click to enlarge)

Bed Bugs are very small insects that feed on the blood of animals, specifically warm-blooded animals. While only about a quarter of an inch in size, Bed bugs can easily be seen by the human eye. Because they don’t fly, you will generally find them packed up together in some kind of nest, which is why they like people’s beds.

Bed bugs come from the family Cimicidae. This family is comprised of over 100 species worldwide. The bed bug is an ectoparasite that chooses to feed primarily on humans. The nature of an ectoparasite is to feed on the external surface of a host skin and in this case the human skin. Bed bugs do in some instances of desperation choose to feed on the pets and animals that share the home. This insect species shares a long and disturbing history with human-kind. Much of the focus and efforts to understand this species are among top priorities in IPM or integrated pest management solution studies. 

Bed bug Taxonomy

  • Phylum Arthropoda - Arthropods
    • Class Insecta - Insects
      • Order Hemiptera - true bugs, cicadas, hoppers, aphids and allies
        • Suborder Heteroptera - true bugs
          • Superfamily Cimicoidea
          • Family Cimicidae - bed bugs
            • Genus Cimex
            • Genus Hesperocimex
            • Genus Oeciacus

Bed bug Preferred Habitats

Where do bed bugs naturally reside?

The bed bugs species that feeds on humans are never found in nature. They exist primarily in fabrics, luggage, furniture, and in cracks of wood. They have evolved to become discrete hitchhikers. They are known to flourish in countries where pest control is unaffordable or nonexistent. Though there are some subspecies within the family Cimicidae that primarily are the parasites of bats or birds, they are also known to bite people. These species are similar in appearance but there are distinct differences from the wild species that feed on wild animal hosts

Bed bugs indoors

Bed bugs can survive extremely lengthy durations in hiding in clothing or on the host until they find a proper area to sustain a population. Part of bed bugs’ particular skill set of going unnoticed has made it easily transported by luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, and other items they can tuck away in. Another way bed bugs enter homes and are transported is in used beds, couches, and other used furniture.

This makes frequently traveled and lodging areas highly problematic areas for bed bugs. The most problematic areas are like hotels, apartments, and dormitories. Due to frequent traffic in these areas, it increases the chance for bed bugs.

Unlike other insects that are provoked and drain to dirty and filthy settings, it is not the case with bed bugs. The cleanest homes, buildings, rooms, furniture, and fabrics can be infested. The fact that the bed bugs solely feed on blood, any location they are introduced can be at risk.

Bed bug Distribution Map (Bed bug Locations) 

Today, bed bugs are known to inhabit 100% of the temperate regions in the world. The spread of the bed bug has become so prevalent due to methods of modern transportation via train, car, plane, and boat. The bed bug has been allowed access to every terminal and port on any continent traveled.  It has primarily gained the biggest foothold in some of the most frequently traveled cities, specifically in their hotels. Bed bugs can be found in any location human’s visit or inhabit on the planet. This invasive species has spread to all regions of the world.

Bed bug Reproduction

How do bed bugs reproduce?

Male and Female bed bugs mate by what is called traumatic insemination. The traumatic insemination takes place by basically stabbing the female’s abdomen with a specialized hardened reproductive organ. The fertilization can take place at any location on the abdomen and the male’s gametes will travel to her ovaries or reproductive gametes. Once fertilization occurs the female contains viable eggs for 5-7 weeks. After three or so days of feeding, the female begins to lay eggs. As the female lays eggs, she continues to feed. She can produce an average of 3-8 eggs a week. The eggs hatch and immediately feed.

Female bed bugs are capable of laying as many as twelve eggs each day after being fertilized and having a proper blood meal. They are deposited in small cracks and crevices along bed frames, baseboards, and carpet linings. The female lays the eggs with an adhesive layer to assure that the eggs will stay in place. The baby bed bugs will hatch from the eggs in around six to seventeen days. The young emerge and immediately begin to feed or search for food. Nymphs and adults are able to survive long periods of time without food. Bed bugs usually live for a year to a year and a half. Three or more generations can occur each year.

Effects of Weather and Climate on Bed bugs

Throughout history, the climate range of bed bugs used to be more prominent in the temperate regions or warmer regions. In the past, records throughout the 11-19th centuries showed that bed bugs used to be a seasonal pest of humans. In the winters, the bed bugs were unable to stay warm during travel and even in homes. An increase in bed bug activity came with modern heating systems. The advances in heating and air have allowed the bed bug to invade dwellings at any time or place throughout the year.

Bed Bug Predators

What eats bed bugs?

  • These insects and spiders can be drawn to infestations or high populations of bed bugs in certain areas. They might help give away the bed bug’s location.

The Masked Hunter Insect or Masked Bed Bug Hunter

  • Reduvius personatus
  • Family Reduviidae which is known as the assassin bugs
  • The masked hunter primarily feeds on bedbugs and other insects
  • If it is mishandled it may bite humans in defense.

Cockroaches

  • All semi-domestic and domestic house cockroaches have been seen and documented eating bed bugs since the 11th and 12th centuries
  • Order Blattodea
    • Family Blattidae
      • Oriental Cockroach
        • Blatta orientalis
      • American Cockroach
        • Periplaneta americana
    • Family Blattellidae
      • German Cockroach
        • Blattella germanica
      • Brown-banded Cockroach
        • Supella  longipalpa

Ants

  • Pharaoh ants:
    • It is documented that pharaoh ants are the number one species of ant that has been seen targeting and eating bed bugs
    • Pharaoh ants are tiny
  • Most ant species will eat anything including bed bugs

Spiders

  • The species:
    • Thanatus flavidus
    • This is the spider of the family Philodromidae
    • It is found in Greece, Russia and Ukraine
    • Studies and research have list this species for hunting bedbugs.

Mites

  • This is the species best known as the common house dust mites
  • They inhabit the same areas in bedding as bed bugs and have been known to feed on them.
    • Subclass Acari
      • Superoder Acariformes
        • Order: Acariformes
          • Family: Pyroglyphidae
            • Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus
  • Centipedes
    • Centipedes feed on a variety of invertebrates such as bed bugs, spiders, termites, cockroaches, silverfish, ants, and other household arthropods
    • House centipedes are the typical species of centipede to feed on bed bugs
      • Phylum: Arthropoda
        • Class:  Chilopoda
          • Order: Scutigeromorpha
            • Family: Scutigeridae
              • Species: Scutigera coleoptrata

Bed bug Facts

  • Bed bugs can even infest the bedding areas on cruise ships
  • As many as 5,000 bed bugs can infest a single bed
  • Alternative ways to make the bugs uncomfortable is to raise the temperature of infested areas, though this is very expensive.
  • They can live 12 months or longer without feeding.
  • Bed bugs can feed on any pet in the house.
  • Bed bugs are great hiders, and usually take more than one treatment to rid the home.
  • Bed bugs don’t carry diseases, but can cause nasty allergic reactions.
  • Bed bugs can produce up to four or more generations in one year.

Bed bug tracker

There are many bed bug registries that exist to give travelers and renters can have reliable information in reporting bed bug encounters. Bed bugs are spreading extremely fast across North America. Once a bed bug gains access to a location they will spring up populations very quickly. Due to this factor, bed bugs are a problem for hotels, dorms, hospitals, movie theaters, libraries, and other public spaces.

Image source: bedbugpictures.org

Bed bugs Summary

  • One bed bug found means many are present
  • Bed bugs are trouble and tough to remove
  • Though they are harmless they are extremely annoying
  • Bed bugs are tiny small insects that come from the true bug order
  • The bed bug is the size of an pencil eraser or smaller
  • Rusty red to bright red color
  • They require blood to live
  • The only host they prefer are humans
  • Bed bugs can hide anywhere
  • Check and search for the presence of bed bugs constantly
    • Infestations can occur anywhere
  • Bed bugs can be found anywhere
  • Always be prepared, and take action ASAP

 

Works Cited

Eiseman, Charley, Noah Charney, and John Carlson. Tracks & Sign of Insects & Other Invertebrates: Guide to North American Species. Mechanicsburg, PA:                Stackpole, 2010. Print.

Evans, Arthur V. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders & Related Species of North America. New York: Sterling Pub., 2007. Print.          

Resh, Vincent H., and Ring T. Cardé. Encyclopedia of Insects. Amsterdam: Academic, 2003. Print.





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