Bed bugs, scientifically known as Cimex lectularius, are minute wingless insects. They feed exclusively on warm-blooded animals’ blood. As for their hosts, humans are ideal for them. For millions of years, they have evolved into nest parasites, inhabiting nests of birds as well as roosts of bats. Some of their species have learned to thrive in residential properties.
How They Feed
Bedbugs are most active an hour before sunrise, which is their peak time to feed. If they are really hungry, that is when they will look for food regardless of the time of the day. However, they prefer nighttime as they hate sunlight.
Bedbugs reach hosts by climbing a wall or crawling towards them. A bedbug is attracted to us because of our warmth, as well as the presence of CO2 in our breath. A feeding takes anywhere between two to five minutes, and it pierces the host’s skin with its two hollow tubes. A tube injects saliva that contains anesthetic and anticoagulants so blood will flow out freely. Another tube is tasked to suck blood in.
By Jiří Humpolíček [CC BY-SA 2.5
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5) or CC BY-SA
How a Bedbug Reaches Your Home
Bedbugs get into your home as stowaways. They will hide in luggage sets, furniture pieces, and bedding. This is why people should be extra careful when buying secondhand furniture. A thorough visual inspection will be enough to detect them, if they are present.
Even seemingly clean homes have bedbugs in them. Bedbugs can survive several months without food. What’s more, they can move from an apartment to another through hollows in walls and holes that pipes and wires go through.
What Happens If You Get Bitten
A bedbug feeds on its host when it is fast asleep. As the host gets bitten, it does not know what is happening because of the anesthetic that is given by the parasitic insect. If bedbugs feed on a host consistently for several weeks, it can become sensitive to the insect’s saliza and eventually develop an allergic response.
Controlling an Infestation
Since bedbugs can hide in various places, they aren’t easy to eradicate. The best way to get rid of them or to determine whether you have an infestation is to have an expert check your home and perform pest control. Professional bedbug exterminators know exactly where to find them, and the best ways on how they can be eliminated from your home.
If you want, you can help the expert on pest control by removing some of the clutter in your home. This gives bedbugs fewer hiding places, making both the inspection and the eradication less difficult.