Bedbugs are tiny insects that feed on the blood of humans and some animals. Because of their survival skills, bedbugs can exist for periods of time in an empty house without any warm-blooded hosts to feed on. They then pose a threat to the next occupants who move into the house.
Young, newly hatched bedbugs are called nymphs. These nymphs are able to go without feeding on the blood of hosts for months. The adult bedbugs can go for even longer, over a year, without feeding. This way, the bedbugs are able to survive in an empty house that was infested before the previous occupants left without getting rid of the infestation. In addition to empty houses, bedbugs can also survive in empty hotel rooms that are not used often, waiting for the next occupant who stays in the room.
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The most common type of bedbugs have the scientific name "Cimex lectularius," and they adapt to human environments, having existed around the world since ancient times. Although they can feed on animals such as bats, rodents and household pets, their main food source is the blood of humans in the houses and buildings that they infest. Being nocturnal, during the day, bedbugs usually remain hidden in the cracks of mattresses and other parts of the bed. At night, they come out to feed on sleeping human hosts.
In addition to the hiding places inside a bed that give bedbugs their name, the insects also make their way to other living spaces as the infestation grows inside a house. When bedbugs are noticed in a mattress, also lift the mattress and box spring to examine the area beneath the bed. Look in chairs and couches, as well as behind picture frames on the wall, along the outer edges of carpets and inside electrical equipment.
If you venture into an empty house that is infested with bedbugs, be careful that the insects don't attach to your clothing, and get a ride back to your house or apartment. Bedbugs can also be transported in furniture or luggage when occupants move out of an infested house into a new dwelling.