Information on bed bugs can help prevent the spread and avoid the expense and time-consuming process of eradicating an infestation. Thousands of people all around the world are suffering through the distress caused by bed bugs. If you are also suffering from a bed bug infestation, you need immediate measures to get rid of them. Before we jump into the steps you can take to control an infestation, let’s cover basic information on bed bugs:
What Are Bed Bugs (And the Life Cycle)?
The first information you need on bed bugs is that these insects belong to the Hemiptera order, otherwise referred to as true bugs. They are blood-feeding parasites that dine on human blood using mouths designed to pierce the skin and suck. Bed bugs gradually metamorphosize through phases from eggs to nymphs and then the adult stage. Larvae are highly similar to the adults; the only difference is that adults can reproduce. Adult females lay no more than five eggs each day.
Bed bugs prefer to feed on human hosts rather than animals, but they will feed on dogs or cats. These insects spread from home to home when they climb into purses, luggage, gym bags, and clothing. Another very important piece of information on Bed bugs is that they do not transmit diseases to the humans, but their bites can irritate the skin and cause infections. Some people experience severe reactions in response to their bite.
Bed bugs generally live a few months, but they can enter a state of hibernation and live up to a year even without food.
Do Bedbugs Have Wings?
You need enough information on bed bugs to identify one when you see it. Adult bed bugs have wing pads, which are the vestiges of wings, but they are not used for flight as the bugs evolved in ways that made them lose the functionality of their wings over millennium. They cannot even jump long distances like other wingless insects, such as fleas. Bed bugs move from one host to another by crawling. The wing pads are tiny, and nymphs or baby bugs do not have them. So, if you want to identify whether a bug is a bed bug, if you see wings, you know it isn’t a bed bug. If you want assistance identifying a bed bug, your local county extension office may be able to assist you.
Can They Fly?
Simply no! These tiny insects can crawl and move from host to host by traveling in their possession such as bags and purses that they move from place to place. If you think you’ve found a bed bug that flies, you are lucky because you misidentified the type of bug. You’ll be relieved because bed bugs are difficult to eradicate. They can also make your life very difficult for a while.
Do Bedbugs Have The Ability To Jump?
Bed bugs don’t jump. If you’ve found a bug that jumps, it is not a bed bug, which should be a relief. Bed bugs crawl and can travel about 30 meters a day. However, they like to remain within 6 – 8 feet of your bed so they have easy and quick access to you when you sleep. They are very tiny and flat so they can hide in many places. All they need is a chip of peeling paint or wallpaper or a tiny crevasse between the baseboard and the wall. Now you have enough information on bed bugs to decide whether insects you find in your home are bed bugs.
How Do The Bed Bugs Reach In The Bed?
They can neither fly nor jump, but they can crawl and reach your bed during the night. They can climb up the smooth points such as the bedroom’s walls, furniture, loose bedding or legs of the bed frame which connect the bed to the floor. Some of the most important information on bed bugs is how to keep them out of your bed.
- To combat these bugs, move the bed far away from the wall and other furniture, including nightstands and dressers.
- Don’t allow your sheets, covers, or comforter to hang down to the floor.
- Don’t use bed skirts that touch the floor.
- Avoid storing stuff under the bed.
- Avoid attaching the bed to the wall as the headboard or other parts can serve as a means of access to the bed. Bed bugs can climb up the wall and onto the headboard if it is attached.
- They have a preference for textured and natural surfaces that allow them to travel; their feet do not provide traction over slick surfaces. This allows you to use interceptors to catch them before they climb up the legs of your bed. These interceptors prevent bed bugs from reaching the bed frame and eventually you.
Can Bed Bugs cause Itching?
Bed bug bites can be itchy or cause more severe reactions in some people. Some people might not react to the bites while others experience swollen and itchy areas surrounding the area where they are bitten.
Even if you are sleeping in the same bed with another person, both of you can react differently to the bug bites. The bugs tend to return to the same host once they start feeding so there is a high chance that the same person will be bit more than their sleep partner. Luckily, there are many over-the-counter medicines that will treat the itch and prevent infections.
How Do They Search For Hosts When They Are Asleep?
Bed bugs find their hosts by sensing the body heat and carbon dioxide from the exhaled breath that humans release while they sleep.
Bed bugs can easily find humans who are sleeping. They prefer to feed when you are deeply asleep and still.
They don’t eat every day, but an infestation can include thousands of bed bugs, so the eating schedule doesn’t mean you won’t be bit every day.
How Do You Identify a Bed Bug?
Use these tips to identify bed bugs:
- A bed bug has six legs. An adult is about 5 mm long. If you find an eight-legged, bloated, blood-sucking insect, it is a tick. Ticks can transfer a variety of diseases to their hosts including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease. Bed bugs don’t pass illnesses or diseases to their hosts or from one host to another.
- If you catch an insect that jumps, it is probably a flea.
- Mature bed bugs are flat or oval-shaped and ¼ inch in length unless they recently had a blood meal.
- Their flat bodies allow them to crawl through tiny openings.
- Adult insects are dark brown in color. However, their bodies turn red after they feed.
- Baby bed bugs or nymphs are smaller than the adults, around 1mm, so it is even more difficult to find them.
- They often hide in dark, sheltered areas or conceal themselves in small cracks near the bed. You’ll be surprised by how tiny their hiding places are.
- They can hide in a lot of different places, behind picture frames, in the joints of furniture, and in your mattress.
Myths Regarding These Insects
While we’re providing you with information on bed bugs, we want to make sure you aren’t misled into believing the following myths regarding bed bugs:
- These tiny creatures do not fly.
- The only place for them to hide is the mattress. FALSE! They can be anywhere within 6 – 8 feet of the bed.
- They only appear at night. FALSE! They will feed in the daytime if you sit or lay still.
- You can kill them with a fogger. FALSE! Foggers can’t get into the nooks and crannies where bed bugs hide. Read: How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
- They can jump. FALSE! They do not jump or fly like other insects such as fleas.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
There are multiple ways to identify a bed bug infestation. You might notice bites first, discarded shells, or small red, dark brown, or black spots on your sheets or mattress.
The more signs you identify, the larger the infestation probably is.
Signs of Bed Bug Bites
Your reaction to a bed bug bite can be similar to those caused by mosquitoes and fleas. However, many people don’t have any reaction to the bites. Here are some signs and symptoms that may be associated with bed bug bites:
- Red, raised welts
- Itchiness and a burning sensation
- A rash present over the localized area
- Straight lines with multiple bites
Do’s And Don’ts
Finding these little insects in your home can feel like a disaster, but don’t panic. It is quite challenging to rid your home of an infestation. However, it is possible. You just need to follow known methods of eradicating bed bugs and get professional help if you need it. Our article, How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs, will give you a good start.
- Be aware of small, itchy bumps present on your or other people’s bodies because they might be due to bed bug bites. If bites seem to occur while you’re sleeping, check your mattress, pillows, carpets, and dresser regularly. Look for the brown or white skin of bed bugs and the spots that they often leave on sheets and mattresses.
- Extreme temperatures kill bed bugs. While you can wash and dry clothing and other small objects in high heat, it’s more difficult to kill them with heat in mattresses or your walls. Professionals, however, can use heat to kill bed bugs in your mattresses and walls.
- Do not panic and buy a new mattress before you’ve completely eradicated the infestation. You’ll risk getting an infestation in your new mattress.
- The use of foggers is not effective in killing these tiny yet notorious insects.
- Avoid fogging up your home because it will be harder for bed bugs to be killed.
What Do You Need To Do If You Find A Bed Bug?
Contact a pest control professional immediately. Homeowners who attempt to resolve bed bug infestations through DIY projects generally spend months before resorting to professional help. Bed bugs have become highly resistant to over-the-counter products.
This video will give you some history and additional information about bed bugs.
Bed bugs neither fly nor jump; they crawl to reach their destination. However, these insects are very mobile and can travel long distances by riding in your personal belongings. Although the bed bugs have wing pads, they cannot fly. If you find insects flying in your bedroom, then it is not a bed bug, for sure.
If you had an infestation, once you are completely sure all the bed bugs are dead, you may want to replace your mattress. Our list of the best mattresses in each category will save you time and money when you are ready to buy a fresh, new mattress. We hope you never have a bed bug infestation but if you do, we hope the information on bed bugs we’ve provided is helpful to you.