Bed bugs don’t pose as high a medical risk such as fleas and ticks for example. Their medical implication is more the irritation their bites can effect on human skin. Bedbugs are a rather unique pest in that normal pest control methods can be ineffectual so a specialist understanding of their life cycle and habits is essential in the elimination of bedbugs.
- Bed bugs are around 5 to 6mm long before a blood meal extending to about 7mm when fully engorged.
- Oval and flattened from back to underside with thick, well-developed legs. Bed bugs do not have wings.
- Their mouths are pointed for piercing and sucking.
- Adult bed bugs are rusty red-brown in colour.
- Eggs are whitish cream, getting darker as they hatch to larvae.
- Their shed skins are lighter brown and look like flaky exoskeletons.
- Bed bugs lay 200 – 500 eggs over a 2 month period in batches of 10 to 50.
- The adult female must have a blood meal before egg-laying.
- The eggs are usually laid in crack and crevices and can be attached to items of furniture or fittings in clusters by a transparent substance.
- There are 7 stages to the lifecycle from egg to fully grown adult which can be from 45 days but may be up to a year.
- The typical life span of a bed bug is about 50 days to over a year depending on favourable conditions.
- They can survive for weeks to months without feeding.
- Bedbugs feed on human blood and are attracted to body heat and CO2 from sleeping humans.
- They inject an anaesthetic when they pierce the skin, so the bite can go unnoticed at first.
- They are found in cracks and crevices, headboards, behind peeling wallpaper, broken plaster, light switches, under carpets and skirting boards etc. so they are near to people for feeding.
- Bed bugs usually visit their host for a blood feed just before dawn. When alarmed they move quickly and emit an odour.