Bed bugs are blood-feeding insects that feed mainly on the blood of humans, but also suck blood from other animals, such as birds, bats, and rodents. Bed bugs usually feed at night when people are asleep because the hosts are unaware that they are being fed upon. As bed bugs feed, they inject a salivary secretion into the wound to prevent coagulation. This fluid often causes the skin to itch and become swollen. Scratching causes sores, which may become infected. Bed bugs are not known to transmit any human pathogens but can cause emotional distress to those affected.
When associated with humans, bed bugs generally infest dwellings such as houses, hotels, dormitories, and cruise ships, but have also been known to infest places such as subways, movie theaters, nursing homes, hospitals, and planes. During the day, bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices and can be found in wall outlets, behind baseboards, wallpaper, and pictures, between bed joints and slats, along the seams of mattresses, and in bed linens. The cryptic nature of bed bugs makes them difficult to detect and locate, making control a complex and laborious process that usually consists of an integrated approach that combines insecticides with other methods.
Bed bugs are transmitted from one place to another because they “hitchhike” on belongings such as clothes, suitcases, second-hand beds, furniture, and bedding. Female bed bugs disperse more than any other stage, so it is likely that the bed bugs that “hitchhike” on people’s belongings are mostly females. Because female bed bugs can store male sperm for four to six weeks, it is also likely that they are pregnant. Therefore, a single, pregnant female that is transferred to a different location can begin a new infestation. Severe bed bug infestations tend to have a sweetish, foul odor that is caused by an oily liquid they emit.Read More