Bed bugs are creepy-crawly insects that survive on blood as a food source. A female bed bug lays one or more eggs a day and several hundred during its lifetime. Newly hatched bed bugs are the color of dry straw and are about the size of a pinhead. The adult rust-colored bugs are oval and flat-shaped, and they can live for extended periods without eating. Bed bugs often travel across the country inside the luggage of unsuspecting travelers.
Bed Bug Locations
Bed bugs love to hang out near places where people congregate or sleep. The flat shape of the bug's body allows it to wriggle into tiny folds of mattresses and box springs as well as crevices in headboards and bed frames. Books that are next to a bed, picture frames, radios and bedside furniture all provide suitable hiding places for the insects. Bed bugs are fond of setting up residence in upholstered furniture found in waiting rooms, offices, airplanes and even restaurants.
Bed Bug Growth
Bed bugs begin their life as eggs that females deposit in sheltered places. Bud bug offspring, called nymphs, grow out of their skins five times before reaching maturity, and this process is called molting. They feed on a meal of fresh blood each time they molt, and reach full maturity in a month. Bed bugs are very resilient and adults can live for more than a year between meals.
Bed Bug Food
The meal of choice for all bed bugs is human blood, and they prefer to draw blood while the donor is sleeping. The insect has a sharp skin-piercing device on its head that it uses to withdraw blood from human donors. When humans are not available, bed bugs will feed on warm-blooded animals such as rats, squirrels, cats, dogs and birds. A bed bug usually takes up to 10 minutes to ingest enough blood for a full meal.
Bed Bug Bites
Common bite locations are on the face, neck and shoulder areas. It is very unlikely that a person could have bed bugs and not get bitten. Individuals react differently to bed bug bites. Some people have no discernible reaction to a bed bug bite, and may receive a bite and not even know it. Many times, a person incorrectly attributes a bite to another form of insect without realizing the true identity of the culprit.
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