Bed bugs are small flat oval reddish brown insects that can measure around 5mm in length which is roughly the size of one apple seed. When they are gorged on blood their color can change to reddish. They basically feed on human and animal blood and they tend to be active at night. They do not have the ability to fly but they move relatively fast over ceilings, walls and floors.
The females can lay hundreds of eggs in their lifetime and this means recurring infestations if you are not able to manage and control effectively. They can deposit up to five eggs every day and live beyond 300 days. The immature bed bugs are known as nymphs and they shed skin five times before they are mature adults and need blood meals before every shedding. When conditions are favorable, the maturity can take as little as one month meaning that it possible for more than three generations to be produced in a span of one year. They do not transmit any diseases to humans but they can truly be a nuisance. It is however possible for some people to have allergic reactions to the bed bug bites.
Bed bugs can survive without any meal for one year and this makes them very tough to control especially when you do not spot them. They love hiding in crevices and cracks including those on furniture, walls, sheets, mattress seams, picture frames and other different areas. With so many hiding areas, it is even harder to control an infestation without the assistance of a professional. They move easily from one room to another and they have an easy time hiding in personal belongings and luggage including briefcases and purses. They can be picked from practically any place that is infested.
Identifying an infestation
Bed bugs are very good in hiding and you might be very lucky to spot them. When you see the bugs, then you probably have a very large infestation. Seeing them especially the adults can be a sign of an infestation.
Case skins that are shed by juvenile bed bugs are an obvious sign of an infestation. Considering that they shed their skins several times before they are full adults, you might be able to spot the case skins around infested areas of your home.
Defecation also makes it easier for you to know that you have an infestation. You might see brown or black stains on porous surfaces or brown mounds on surfaces that are nonporous. Bed bugs make their way back to their harborages to hide after feeding where they defecate. Conduct regular checks even on curtains and you might identify an infestation before it gets out of hand.
Bites are the other signs of a bed bug infestation. Red welts on your skin should not be assumed to be mosquito bites especially if they begin soon after you come back from a trip or soon after you get used furniture into your home.
Egg shells and a musty offensive odor are other signs to look out for.