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What Are Bed Bugs

Imagine, you wake up from a good night’s sleep, only to find you are covered in itchy bites. Welcome to the world of bed bugs, where your nightmare just became a reality!

bed-bug-infestation.jpgThe thought that this only happens in underdeveloped nations or dirty homes or establishments, is false. Bed Bugs have become a reality for people around the world every day. And the infestations are growing in the U.S.

If you have ever experienced bed bugs, you may be embarrassed and frustrated, but it's not your fault. Bed bugs can appear in anyone's home - even the White House.

After bed bugs find their way into your home, they survive by feeding on any warm blooded animal. While that can include your your pets, it’s mostly you and your family.

Bed bugs are mostly active at night while you're sleeping. Now you can have a clear understanding of the old saying, "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite".

What are Bed Bugs and How do I recognize them?

Bedbugs are small, flat, wingless insects with six legs that, like mosquitoes, feed mainly on the blood of humans and sometimes animals. A recently hatched bed bug is semi-transparent, tan in color and about the size of a poppy seed. Learn more about where do bed bugs come from.

Adolesent and adult bed bugs range in color from a brown to a reddish-brown and about the size of an apple seed. They can turn a darker red after feeding and become rounder. The common bedbug doesn't grow much longer than 0.2 inches (0.5 centimeters) and can be seen by the naked eye to the astute observer. Bedbugs get their name because they like to hide in bedding and mattresses.

You can also notice bed bugs from their markings, droppings or eggs. Blood stains, droppings and eggs can be found in several locations including mattress seams and tufts, sheets, pillows and pillow cases and upholstered furniture. They can also be found in crevices. Learn more about the Signs of Bed Bugs.

Bed Bug Feeding Habits

Bed Bugs are nocturnal, meaning they mostly feed at night. They crawl onto exposed skin, inject a mild anesthetic and suck up a small amount of blood. Most people don’t feel the actual bite. They can obtain their meal in as little as three minutes, after which they are engorged and drop off the host, then crawl into a hiding place to digest their meal. Bedbugs can live for up to a year without feeding.

Bed Bugs need a meal of blood to grow and lay eggs. A female bed bug lays 5 to 7 eggs per week and if feeding regularly, will lay 200 to 500 eggs during her lifetime. Eggs take appoximately 10 days to hatch. Bed bugs are fully grown in 2 to 4 months and can live more than a year.

Signs and Symptoms of Bedbug Bitesbedbug-bites.jpg

Some don’t have a reaction to bed bug bites. But for those that do, bite marks may appear within minutes or days.

These bites can be small bumps or large red, itchy welts that appear on skin that is exposed during sleep. Bites usually go away after a few days, but can be extremely irritating until they do. Because bed bug bites may resemble a mosquito or other insect bite, a bump or welt alone doesn’t mean you have bed bugs.

Treating Bed Bug Bites

Bed Bugs and their bites are definitely a nuisance, but they’re not known to spread disease.

Bed bug can be extremely itchy and irritating, but most bites do not usually require treatment. Most welts heal in a few days, but a welt can persist for several weeks in rare cases. An anti-itching ointment can help but if a secondary infection occurs (usually from scratching), apply a local antiseptic lotion or antibiotic cream or ointment. Creams with corticosteroids and oral antihistamines may be advised in the presence of allergic reaction or larger skin reactions. In these more severe cases, you may need to see your doctor.

Other Health Effects of Bed Bugs

Knowing there are bed bugs and the anxiety of being bitten, can lead to sleeplessness. This in turn can affect a person’s wellbeing. Responding quickly, properly and effectively to bed bugs helps to put the mind at ease and keep any anxiety in check. Learn more about the dangers of bed bugs.

Becoming desperate to get rid of bed bugs has led some to use illegal or excessive amounts of pesticides which can lead to poisonings. Be diligent to read all labels and instruction with which ever product you choose to ensure the safety of you, your family and your pets.

More resources:
How to Kill Bed Bugs Yourself
Bed Bug Spray