Bed bugs ( Cimex lectulariuJ:! are true bugs which feed on the blood of humans and other warm blooded animals. They are brownish in color, flat with a rounded body and are 1/4 of an inch to 3/8 of an inch in size. They possess piercing sucking mouthparts which form into a noticeable beak. Unfortunately what they love to pierce and suck most are us. From the moment of traumatic insemination to the female adult stage, bed bugs at least as far as humans are concerned, are a real pain; perhaps their only saving grace is that they have yet to be solidly linked to the direct transmission of any disease although there is suspicion in regard to Hepatitis B in Africa.
The adult female lays approximately 200 - 400 eggs in her life time at a rate of 1-5 eggs per day, the eggs are
1/32" of an inch in size and are glued in harborage areas with a kind of putty. Depending on temperature
and humidity the eggs hatch in 6 - 17 days. Once the eggs hatch, bed bugs develop through gradual metamorphosis (egg nymph adult) which means they are ready to start feeding from the get go. They will molt 3 times before becoming adults feeding along the way and can reach adult stage in about two months. Bed bugs can survive 6 - 8
months without a meal and can travel up to a hundred feet to get one.
Recorded history of bed bugs dates back to the second millennium B.C.E. Both Aristotle and Aristophanes mentioned bed bugs in their writings. As man expanded across the world bed bugs traveled right along with them often times finding the best accommodations as they sought the warmth of "better homes and castles". Following WW II, much to the credit of DDT and improved sanitation bed bugs became a rarity in the western world and remained so till the late 1990's.
………..Some of the reasons include increased air travel and tourism, growing resistance of bed bugs to pesticides used in problematic regions, increased immigration of people and their belongings from these same problematic areas, population density in urban areas and a significant change in pesticide use patterns which include not only type and groups of insecticides but application practices as well.
Examples of these changes include, the discontinued use of non repellent organophosphates, increased use of repellent pyrethroids, marked increases in crack and crevice applications and limited perimeter treatments. Another significant factor is the increased use of species specific baits.
Bed bugs are resourceful and opportunistic hexapods. Although not directly linked to any diseases, their bites can create considerable anxiety as well as rashes caused by localized and systemic reactions, secondary infections, Impetigo, anaphylactoid reactions, asthma and anemia in severe cases especially involving children. Aside from these direct medical issues quality of life issues abound.