Bed Bug

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) shouldn’t be confused with dust mites. Bed bugs are nocturnal parasitic bugs that feed on blood from warm blooded mammals.

Dust mites are microscopic spiders that feed on shed dead skin cells. Dust mites are not visible to the eye.

Bed Bugs

(Cimex lectularius)

Appearance

  • Bed bugs are around 5 to 6mm long before a blood meal extending to about 7mm when fully engorged.
  • Oval and flattened from back to underside with thick, well-developed legs. Bed bugs do not have wings.
  • Their mouths are pointed for piercing and sucking.
  • Adult bed bugs are rusty red-brown in colour.
  • Eggs are whitish cream, getting darker as they hatch to larvae.
  • Their shed skins are lighter brown and look like flaky exoskeletons.

Lifecycle

  • Bed bugs lay 200 – 500 eggs over a 2 month period in batches of 10 to 50.
  • The adult female must have a blood meal before egg-laying.
  • The eggs are usually laid in crack and crevices and can be attached to items of furniture or fittings in clusters by a transparent substance.
  • There are 7 stages to the lifecycle from egg to fully grown adult which can be from 45 days but may be up to a year.
  • The typical life span of a bed bug is about 50 days to over a year depending on favourable conditions.
  • They can survive for weeks to months without feeding.

Habits

  • Bedbugs feed on human blood and are attracted to body heat and CO2 from sleeping humans.
  • They inject an anaesthetic when they pierce the skin, so the bite can go unnoticed at first.
  • They are found in cracks and crevices, headboards, behind peeling wallpaper, broken plaster, light switches, under carpets and skirting boards etc. so they are near to people for feeding.
  • Bed bugs usually visit their host for a blood feed just before dawn. When alarmed they move quickly and emit an odour.

Next Steps

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