Bed bugs are nocturnal insects that can be found in both temperate as well as tropical climates. These insects feed on the blood of human beings, poultry and other warm blooded animals. Different species of the bug can be found in varying regions and the human environments are perfect as their habitats.
Depending on the climatic region where they are found, bed bug species differ. The body heat of the person or host where it is feeding and the exhaled carbon dioxide is the primary attraction for the bugs. Each bug is equipped with 2 hollow tubes. These tubes help in the extraction of blood from the host’s body. One tube facilitates the injecting of saliva comprising of anesthetics and anticoagulants whereas the other one sucks blood out of the body.
Bed bug bites cannot be felt immediately due to the presence of anesthetic properties in the saliva. The bites can only be felt after a period ranging from a few minutes to an hour. The bites produce itching sensations that can last for a long period of time. Sometimes skin infections result due to the excessive scratching of the infected areas.
Insomnia, anxiety and stress can be some of the reactions to bed bug bites. After all, we expect a night of restful sleep, not worrying about bugs. The excessive itching often results in the use of medication such as corticosteroids, antihistamines and hydrocortisone. These can be used effectively to reduce the itching. White welts which are small and hard often appear at the sites where the bed bugs bite
Since the bed bugs are nocturnal insects and mainly feed during the early hours of dawn, it becomes difficult for people to detect the bites while sleeping. Clean environments can help in reduction of their growth and development. Although bed bugs are capable of transmitting various kinds of diseases from one host to the other, it has never been found to transmit diseases of any kind. Researches regarding their disease transmitting qualities have also been carried out and scientists have arrived at a conclusion that it is quite unlikely for them to transmit any disease. However, they are capable of transmitting diseases like Heaptitis B and Chagas.
Often people have a misconception that bed bugs are invisible to the naked eye. But that’s not true – we just don’t see them during the day. Bed bugs are shy insects that are reddish brown in color and have a flattened and oval shape. They have microscopic hairs on their body and are wingless insects. While the new born bugs are light colored and translucent, adults are about 4 to 5 mm long. They have a comparatively larger life span and some of them can live up to a year to 18 months. However, this is true for those who lack food while those bugs that feed regularly generally live for 6 to 9 months. As a general rule, all bed bugs need to feed every 5 to 10 days.