Bed bugs, compared to most “bugs” are tiny creatures – about the size of an apple seed. They're rust–colored and wingless as adults. Younger bed bugs are clear and just 1mm in size. If they have recently fed, they will appear bright red in color until the “food” (blood) digests.
They move pretty fast on their own, but to transport from place to place or building to building, they attach to a host (person or animal) or their belongings.
A bed bug's only source of food is blood. They are partial to human blood, but if they can't find a suitable host, they will feed on household pets or small rodents like rats and such. Bed bugs bite and make you itch – they even cause anxiety and psychological distress in some people but are not known to spread any diseases.
The United States has not seen many bed bug infestations over the past few decades, but bed bugs have always been a problem in Asian countries. Now that there are so many people traveling, bed bugs are finding their way into corners of the world they've never been before or haven't been in a long time. Since their preferred method of travel is by hitching a ride with a human host, wherever these hosts go, the bed bugs follow. Since hotels have such a high number of people coming and going, this is usually where people will first encounter the bloodsuckers. Once they latch on, the traveler brings them home with them and the infestation process begins.
Bed bugs really like wood so in and around your bed are their ideal habitats. You can find them hiding in your headboards, footboards, frames, mattress casings, in your bedside tables, carpeting – anywhere around the bed. Once the infestation has been established, bed bugs can and will easily invade an entire house, if left untreated.
Bed bugs are most active at night and feed upon you while you sleep. They crawl on your exposed skin and suck your blood. They usually do this for five to ten minutes, even though you likely never feel a thing. Bed bugs will also feed during daytime hours if they are hungry. Once they get their fill, they scurry off to cracks and crevices where they will spend the next few days digesting the meal.
A bed bug's lifespan is ten months to just over a year. In her lifetime, a female bed bug can lay up to 400 eggs. The eggs hatch in about two weeks and in five to eight weeks the hatchlings become adults. Then the process starts all over again. Adult bed bugs can live over a year without feeding while juvenile ones can go several months without eating.
Bed bugs are resilient to most chemicals, which makes them extremely hard to get rid of. Merely tossing away your infested furniture will not rid you of your bed bug problem, once an infestation has been established. You will need the services of an experienced and qualified pest control company to eradicate the bugs once and for all.