Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bed Bugs

What are bed bugs? What do bed bugs look like?

Bed bugs are small, oval, non-flying insects that belong to the insect family Cimicidae, which includes three species that bite people. Adult bed bugs reach 5-7 mm in length, while nymphs (juveniles) are as small as 1.5 mm. Bed bugs have flat bodies and may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Bed bugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. Adult bed bugs are reddish brown in color, appearing more reddish after feeding on a blood meal. Nymphs are clear in color and appear bright red after feeding. The wings of bed bugs are vestigial, so they cannot fly.

Where are bed bugs found?

Bed bugs were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger pesticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bed bug infestations. While bed bugs are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bed bugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bed bugs.

Bed bugs can live in any area of the home and can reside in tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses, box springs, and bed frames. They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress. Other sites where bed bugs often reside include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

Since bed bugs can live for months without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.


My information was found at www.MedicineNet.com
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD

Medical Editor: William C. Shiel. Jr. MD, FACP, FACR


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