Bed Bugs

Adult bed bugs are about 3/16-inch long and reddish-brown, with oval, flattened bodies. They are sometimes mistaken for ticks or cockroaches. The immatures (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs do not fly, but can move rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Female bed bugs lay their eggs in secluded areas, depositing 1, 2 or more eggs per day and hundreds during a lifetime. The eggs are tiny, whitish, and hard to see on most surfaces without magnification (individual eggs are about the size of a dust speck). When first laid, the eggs are sticky, causing them to adhere to surfaces. Newly hatched nymphs are straw-colored and no bigger than a pinhead. As they grow, they molt (shed their skin) five times before reaching maturity. A blood meal is needed between each successive molt. Under favorable conditions (70-80°F), the bugs can complete development in as little as a month, producing three or more generations per year. Cooler temperatures or limited access to blood extends the development time. Bed bugs are resilient. Nymphs can survive months without feeding and the adults for more than a year. Infestations therefore are unlikely to diminish by leaving premises unoccupied. Although C. lectularius prefers feeding on humans, it will also bite other warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, birds and rodents.

 

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