This insect probably received its common name of bed bug from its close association with human sleeping beds where it often seeks refuge during daylight, only to come out to feed on the beds occupant(s) at night. The bed bug is an ectoparasite of primarily humans but will also attack poultry, caged and invasive birds and various mammals, including rodents. It was introduced into the United States with the early colonists.
Bed Bug Detection
Bed bugs may be difficult to identify. Bed bugs are flat, wingless and oval shaped (although young bed bugs can be too small for the naked eye to spot). They are often mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Distinguishing characteristics to identify bed bugs include:
- Mahogany to rust brown/red color
- Six Legs Short,
- Golden Body Hair
- Two antennae
Bed Bug Bites
Although the bite of bed bugs is painless, most people (80%) develop an allergic reaction to the saliva injected by the bug as it feeds. A swelling usually results from feeding but there is no red spot such as is characteristic with flea bites. Swelling from a bed bug bite may be severe and extend beyond the immediate bite area in highly sensitive individuals. Although bed bugs have been suspect in the transmission of many diseases or disease organisms in humans, in most cases conclusive evidence is lacking.
Bed Bug Prevention
You unknowingly bring bedbugs into your home after travel, mostly. To prevent bed bugs in your home, look for bedbug infestation in hotel rooms where you stay. If you find it, ask for another room on the other side of the hotel. Keep your suitcase off the floor if it is open. You can encase your mattress and box springs in plastic covers, as is often done for asthma sufferers. This will kill trapped bedbugs within and prevent others from taking up homes there. Besides the characteristic obnoxiously sweet odor, the other primary clues to a bed bug infestation will be the presence of bed bugs and/or small red to reddish brown fecal spots here and there on surfaces.