Bed bugs are small insects that belong to the family Cimicidae. These are small oval creatures, reddish brown in color, with microscopic hair and grow to about 5-7 mm in length. At the time of hatching, bed bugs look like poppy seeds and passes through five molts at the nymph stage to reach the adult size. These insects have six legs and medium-long antennae on top of its head. Bed bugs have vestigial wings and cannot fly.
Its color changes from the nymph stage, to the adult stage. Nymphs are clear in color and both nymphs and adults appear more reddish after feeding. Bed bugs are often confused with ticks and cockroaches. These insects hide in dark places and are hard to find, but once spotted it is easy to identify one. The appearance of bedbugs has often been compared to lentils or seeds of an apple.
The mouth parts of bed bugs are developed for piercing and sucking. This is used to pierce human skin during feeding to suck out blood. At this time, bed bugs inject its saliva into the skin which may cause itching, redness or even allergies after the bite.
The possible hideouts of bed bugs include seams, creases, cracks and folds of mattresses and other furniture, rugs and carpets, drawers, baseboards, cracks in plaster, curtains, in paintings and posters, an also in telephones, radios and clocks.
These nocturnal insects have an aversion to sunlight and only come out of hiding for feeding. A bed bug bite lasts for about five minutes and usually cannot be felt. Bed bugs can last up to six month without feeding. Bed bug bites resemble mosquito bites, and commonly occur in exposed parts of the body.
In most people these bites are harmless itches rashes or lesions on the skin that can cause irritation and inflammation of the skin. In rare cases, if the person is allergic to bedbug saliva, these lesions can get worse and develop into infected lumps filled with pus. Bed bug bites do not require treatment in normal cases, and can be treated with antibiotics if infested.
To prevent or reduce bed bug infestation in homes, it is necessary to keep it clean and clutter-free and important to vacuum your furniture and bedding regularly. Washing your clothes and bedding in hot water also gets rid of bedbugs. Though it is hard to detect bed bugs, it is said that bedding or furniture infested with these bugs smell like rotten raspberries or almonds. If in doubt it is always a good idea to get professional help.