Bed bugs are small, dark reddish-brown colored insects that feed on the blood of mammals and birds, but they seem to prefer to feed on human blood.
Adult bed bugs measure about 1/4 inch in length with flat oval shaped bodies (about the size of an apple seed). A newly hatched bed bug (called a nymph) is much smaller (about the size of a sesame seed) and is a light tan or yellowish, semi-transparent color.
A bed bug goes through five growth stages called "molts" before becoming an adult. In order to molt, a bed bug must have at least one blood meal.
Bed bugs need a blood meal to grow and lay eggs. It is estimated that a female can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs take about 10 days to hatch. It then takes 2-4 months for a bed bug to become a full grown adult.
Bed bugs can hide in the small cracks and crevices, along mattress seams, behind headboards, behind wall-hangings, in furniture, behind furniture, along baseboards, in and around floor clutter, and all sorts of other places that allow them to hide from open view. They are usually found within 10-20 feet of where people sleep, sit, or lay for extended periods of time. Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide, heat, and smell released by a human host.
Usually bed bugs come out at night to feed, but if hungry, bed bugs will feed during the day. Bed bugs will spend up to 10-minutes feeding. After feeding, bed bugs quickly return to their hiding places.
An engorged bed bug (a bed bug that has just finished feeding) will be a brighter red color than an unfed bed bug, and will be longer and more rounded than an unfed bed bug.
As bed bugs digest their blood meals, they excrete dark brown spots, often on sheets and mattresses, which are typical signs of a bed bug infestation.
Bed bugs can survive long periods of time without feeding, from several weeks to months, and in some cases up to a year. They are resistant to many common insecticides and can withstand temperatures from around freezing up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because bed bugs are so hardy and can hid in so many places, they can be extremely difficult to get rid of without the help of a professional pest control company. Even with the help of a professional exterminator, they can be difficult to exterminate.
It is important to learn about bed bugs. The information on this website can give you a basic knowledge and understanding about the signs of a bed bug infestation, how they spread, how they are treated, controlled and prevented.