BED BUG SPECIES

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) shouldn’t be confused with dust mites. Bed bugs are nocturnal parasitic bugs that feed on blood from warm-blooded mammals.

Dust mites are microscopic spiders that feed on shed dead skin cells. Dust mites are not visible.

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Bed Bugs

(Cimex lectularius)

bed bug

Appearance

  • Bed bugs are around 5 to 6mm long before a blood meal extending to about 7mm when fully engorged.
  • Oval and flattened from back to underside with thick, well-developed legs. Bed bugs do not have wings.
  • Their mouths are pointed for piercing and sucking.
  • Adult bed bugs are rusty red-brown.
  • Eggs are whitish cream, getting darker as they hatch to larvae.
  • Their shed skins are lighter brown and look like flaky exoskeletons.

Lifecycle

  • Bed bugs lay 200 – 500 eggs over two months in batches of 10 to 50.
  • The adult female must have a blood meal before egg-laying.
  • The eggs are usually laid in crack and crevices and attached to furniture or fittings in clusters by a transparent substance.
  • There are seven stages to the lifecycle from egg to fully grown adult, which can be 45 days but may be up to a year.
  • 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.

Habits

  • Bedbugs feed on human blood and are attracted to body heat and CO2 from sleeping humans.
  • They inject an anaesthetic when they pierce the skin so that the bite can go unnoticed at first.
  • They are found in cracks and crevices, headboards, behind peeling wallpaper, broken plaster, light switches, under carpets and skirting boards etc., so they are near to people for feeding.
  • Bed bugs usually visit their host for a blood feed just before dawn. When alarmed, they move quickly and emit an odour.