Bed Bugs and Their Habits

    What are bed bugs?
    Scientific naming and distribution Scientific name: Cimex lectularius Common name: Bed bug Family: Cimicidae Order: Hemiptera (true bugs) U.S. Distribution: all states World Distribution: All temperate areas
    What do bed bugs look like?
    • Broad, oval shape with a flattened body when unfed
    • They do not have wings and do not fly
    • They have a pair of antennae that have 4 segments to it
    • Their feeding “beak” is usually tucked on their underside, is 3 segmented and used as a piercing and then sucking mouthpart
    • Adults are about ¼ inch long and easily visible if out in the open
    What are the feeding habits of bed bugs?
    • All forms, except eggs, require a blood meal and thus feed on a variety of animals.
    • Humans are a preferred host in many cases.
    • Bed bugs feed mainly at night. Some research shows they prefer the hours of 2-5am.
    • A single bed bug can inflict multiple bite sites when feeding, looking for a good blood source.
    • Bed bugs first inject a salivary gland substance that numbs the area so their host (you!) cannot detect. their mouthpart puncturing your skin to siphon up a blood meal.
    • Believe it or not! Bed bugs can travel 20-100 feet for a blood meal. So, even though you do not see them, they are coming from significant distances in a room to reach you.
    What is the impact of DDT and other Insecticides on bed bugs?
    • By 1950’s bed bugs were a seldom heard of problem, due to strong pesticides such as DDT. However, resistance appeared within a few years but, control remained effective due to other chlorinated hydrocarbons like lindane and organophosphates like malathion.
    • Those bed bugs surviving via resistance however, continued to multiply and we are seeing these offspring and bugs as well as those not treated then.
    Why are bed bugs coming back?
    • Increased world wide travel.
    • Underground economy.
    • Increase in secondhand merchandise.
    • Changes in bed bug biology/habits.
    • The public does not recognize the bugs or signs of an infestation.
    • Pesticides today are less toxic.
    • Pesticides today are less broadcast spraying oriented and more oriented towards baits.