Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius Linnaeus) are insects and members of order Heteroptera. They are True Bugs. They are ectoparasites and universal pests of humans, domestic animals, bats, birds, and various other mammals. The bed bug is believed to have received its common name from an affinity for the human bed where it often seeks refuge during daylight hours and to feed at night. At night, it comes out to feed on the bed’s occupant. Bed bugs were introduced to the United States by early colonists. They are now found throughout the United States and world. Other names by which the bed bug is known are mahogany flat, chinch, and red coat. Bed bugs have six legs and do not fly.
Bed bugs are hardy insects and difficult to detect prior to feeding. Due to extremely flat bodies, they are able to hide in the cracks and crevices of mattresses (buttons and beading), box springs, hollow areas of bed frames, furniture coverings, other types of furniture, and in wall crevices and voids in heavier infestations. Simply put, bed bugs will hide anywhere they’re provided darkness, isolation, and protection.
Bed bugs have one obvious sign that often isn’t identified until after they have a sizeable presence. Most of us discover them upon awakening and seeing bites on our body. Since bed bugs only look to be active in the dark, bites typically occur while the victim sleeps. Not everyone is allergic to their saliva, so another sign to look for is random blood spots on bed sheets. These smears can be on sheets, dust ruffles, walls, clothing, and even luggage.
Rarely will occupants see live insects crawling about unless they are disturbed and dislodged from a hiding place. Cast skins or shells, dead insects, and signs of smears are the most common.
Control is difficult at best and with the explosion of infestations, early detection is so important. A trained professional can look for signs of infestation. They might call on the services of a specially trained dog as well to supplement the thorough inspection.