Common Name: Bed Bug
Latin Name: Cimex lectularius
Common Family Name: Bed bugs
Latin Family Name: Cimicidae
Other Names: Chintzes, chinches, mahogany flats, red coats, crimson ramblers
Origin: It is believed that this bug originally evolved with bats living in caves in the Middle East, but in the United States it appears now to be wholly a human pest. It has been associated with humans for thousands of years.
Biology: While this species is not associated with the spread of any diseases, its bite can have a serious effect on people who are sensitive to its saliva, and swelling and severe itching or other immune system reactions may be common. The bite itself is generally painless. The Human bed bug is nocturnal, feeding only at night when people are asleep. During the daylight hours it hides in any available crack or hole in the immediate area. The presence of bedbugs may be determined by an unusual “sweet” odor in the room. Females lay their eggs by gluing them to hidden surfaces, laying several eggs each day with a total of about 200 eggs. There are 5 instar stages to the nymphs, and the growth to the adult stage takes about a month and a half, although in the absence of a blood source the nymph may lay dormant for long periods. The adults can live over a year, and in the absence of human hosts they have been known to feed on birds and rodents.
Identification: Bed bugs in general are wingless insects with an extremely flattened body from top to bottom, except when they are engorged with blood. They have a large, round abdomen, long 4-segmented antennae, and a small prothorax that flares to the sides. Their mouth is a short, 3-segmented proboscis that is held below the body when at rest. The human bed bug is distinguished from other species by the antennae, where the last segment is shorter than the segment before it, the fringe of hairs along the sides of the pronotum are very short, and the front of the pronotum is deeply concave. Evidence may include bites on occupants of the structure, although a PMP should not attempt to diagnose a bite mark. There also are often small spots of blood on sheets or mattresses, left by the departing bug following its meal. Feeding by adults may last for around 15 minutes.
Characteristics Important in Control: Control relies on a thorough inspection of a structure to determine hiding places of the bugs, thorough cleaning of mattresses and bed coverings, and a thorough application of a residual insecticide to all possible cracks, crevices, holes, or other hiding places in the room. Vacuuming with a high-powered vacuum will help to remove many of the pests that are hiding.
BED BUGS (Cimex lectularius)
FACT vs. FICTION
Bed bugs often times strike fear in most people’s heart. Here are the facts.
Bed bug infestations were common in the USA before World War 2. Improvements to hygiene and widespread usage of DDT during the 1940’s and 1950’s have nearly caused bed bugs to all but vanish. After nearly fifty years, the United States has seen a recent re-introduction of bed bug activity, mainly due to increased international travel, immigration, shipment of overseas goods, pest control practices, etc. Bed bugs have remained prevalent in other parts of the world. These pests are often found in hotels, motels, health care facilities, dormitories, shelters, schools, movie theaters, laundries/dry cleaners, furniture rental outlets, office buildings, and modes of transport. Bed bugs can harbor pathogens, however, transmission to humans or animals is considered unlikely. Though not known to carry diseases, bed bugs can severely reduce quality of life by causing discomfort from skin irritations, sleeplessness, anxiety, and embarrassment.
People often times associate bed bugs with uncleanliness, this is NOT the case! All a bed bug needs is a sufficient place to hide and a warm-blooded host…Bed bugs can hide in many unsuspecting places (besides beds and bed frames), including: Upholstered chairs, sofas, nightstands, dressers, wall hangings, wall outlets, mirrors, edges of carpeting, inside clocks/phones/televisions/smoke detectors, closets, items stored under beds, just about any crack or crevice area, etc.
Bed bugs can often be treated with several types of methods (several methods are often times needed to get an infestation under control), including: HEPA vacuuming of infested areas, DOA/industry approved chemical treatments, dry steam heat processes, bed mattresses and box springs encased in a protective cover, etc.
It is often difficult to prevent beg bug infestations in apartments, hotels, and other places where there are ongoing opportunities for the bugs to be re-introduced. Preventative inspection by tenants, in-house personnel, or pest control firms is the best way to uncover infestations in their initial stages when they are easiest to control. Home owners should be very cautious when acquiring used furnishings, especially beds and couches. All secondhand items should be examined closely before being brought into the home. If an item can be laundered or placed in a dryer, prior to being introduced into a home, the better the chances to reduce a threat of infestation. When traveling, get into the habit of checking beds for signs of bed bugs. This would entail examining the bed sheets and upper and lower seams of the mattress and box spring, especially along the head of the bed.