Common Bed Bug
Scientific Name: Cimex lectularius
Blood feeding bugs of man and warm blooded animals. Some blood feeding bugs such as Pigeon Bug (Cimex columbarius) can be found infesting bird nests and bat roosts, but can invade houses and attack humans.
Bed bugs are nocturnal human parasites. They are flat, round insects approximately 4mm in diameter. Found mainly in bedrooms, bed bugs live amongst bed linen, behind headboards, under mattresses as well as behind pictures or under loose wallpaper and if you have an infestation it may lead to sleep disturbances. Infected sheets need to be laundered and the infested rooms must be vacuumed thoroughly. Find out more from our experts.
Found in human habitations throughout the world. In hotels/motels, the number one place for infestations is the backside of headboards mounted on walls; these must be removed for inspection. Typically, initial infestations of bed bugs are found associated with the bed such as around mattress buttons and beading, in boxsprings or their coverings, and in any crevice of a wooden bed frame, such as where members join. They are particularly fond of wood and fabrics as opposed to plastic and metal.
Eventually, other places are infested including wall hangings such as picture frames and mirrors, night stands, stuffed furniture (especially if used for sleeping), baseboards, floorboard cracks, behind loose wallpaper, light switches, door and window frames, curtains/drapes, under carpets between the tac-strip and baseboard, conduits, etc. Clutter is a bed bug’s best friend and must be eliminated. In heavier infestations, bed bugs may be found in telephones, radios/CD players, clocks, televisions, in items stored under beds, wall voids, electrical outlet boxes, attics, and other enclosed places. In addition, a few bugs and/or eggs can often be found in areas distant from the bed on the other side of the room. They will crawl distances in excess of 100 feet (30 m) to obtain a blood meal. If left untreated, the infestation will spread to adjoining rooms and/or apartments; think/inspect in 3 dimensions.
Because of their hitchhiking abilities, they can be introduced into a structure via used furniture or in the belongings of someone who has been living in or visiting a bed bug infested situation. Adults can survive for up to one year if they are well fed. In the absence of humans, bed bugs will feed on any warm-blooded animal including poultry, canaries, English sparrows, mice, rats, bats, and household pets such as guinea pigs and dogs. When the temperature falls below 61°F/16°C, adults enter semi hibernation and can survive for months.
Bed bug infestations have been found in transportation vehicles such as boats, trains, airplanes, and buses as well as in movie theaters where they typically harborage in seats and associated frames.
The primary clues to an infestation will be the presence of small red to reddish brown fecal spots clustered on surfaces near harborages, bed bug molt skins, their eggs or empty egg shells, and/or bed bugs themselves. In very heavy infestations, the characteristic obnoxiously sweet bed bug odor may be detected.
Biology and Behaviour
Adults are 5mm in length, reddish-brown in colour, becoming purple after feeding, well developed antennae, with clawed feet which can climb rough surfaces better than smooth ones. Bed Bugs are exclusively bloodsucking.