What Are Bed Bugs?

Growing up your parents probably sent you off to bed with the old rhyme, “goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”, guaranteed to keep you awake for hours wondering exactly what it was that might be crawling between your sheets while you slept.

Bed bugs, or Cimex lectularius (Cimicidae) are tiny wingless, parasitic insects that feed on the blood of warm blooded animals while they sleep.

Adult bed bugs are approximately a quarter inch in size, the size of a grain of rice, with younger bed bugs (nymphs) about the size of a poppy seed. They are visible to the human eye at all stages of life, but can be difficult to find, preferring darker, insulated places like the insides of mattresses or walls.

The insects range in colour from a light tan to a dark brown or orange, darkening in colour after they feed. They cannot fly but are fast moving and can spread through contact, as well as through the walls and pipes of a building.

If you have bed bugs in one room, it’s likely they have spread to many others as well.

They are highly adverse to light, and most often feed at night when the lights are out and the host is asleep. Researchers have found that a bed bug’s peak feeding hours are about an hour before sunrise. They are attracted to humans through body temperature and the presence of carbon dioxide produced through exhaling.

Bed bugs feed every five to ten days, and live six to nine months with a regular food supply, but can go last months without feeding, and in cooler climates they can lie dormant for nearly a year.

It is a myth that bed bugs require unsanitary conditions to thrive. They are in fact impartial to their surroundings so long as they have a dark habitat and a food source.

Also contrary to popular belief, bed bugs have a slow reproductive cycle. A female bed bug lays up to five eggs per day, and approximately 500 over a lifespan, a house fly can lay 150 eggs in a three to four day period.

Bed bug eggs take two weeks to hatch and nymphs take five weeks to reach maturity, a house fly can reach maturity in one week, in a room temperature environment.

Because they reproduce so slowly, by the time people become aware of bed bugs in their home, the infestation is often already severe.

Unlike ticks or mosquitoes, there is no scientific evidence that bed bugs transmit diseases through their bites. However, when they feed they inject a small amount of saliva into the skin, which acts as both anesthetic and anti-coagulant. The longer a person is exposed to bed bugs, the more sensitized they become to the bites, which can lead to an allergic response that can range from mild to intense.

If you have bed bugs in your home or workplace, don’t wait! Call the professional bed bug exterminators today.

>>If you become a victim of a bed bug infestation then contact the team at Allphase for the fastest, safest, and most effective solution. We offer heat treatment bed bug extermination for homes in Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, and Toronto.