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Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are reddish brown in color and are wingless. They are roughly oval in shape and become swollen after a blood meal. Bed bugs are dorsoventrally flattened (thin), and this means that they can hide in narrow cracks and crevices. They are also fast runners.

Size

Approximately 3/16-inch long.

Behavior

Bed bugs feed on blood and have mouthparts that are especially adapted for piercing skin. Like most blood sucking arthropods, they inject saliva during feeding, which has anticoagulant properties. Bed bugs respond to the warmth and carbon dioxide of a host and quickly locate a suitable feeding site. Most feeding occurs at night, and they generally seek shelter during the day. However, bed bugs are opportunistic and will bite in the day especially if starved for some time. They can survive for long periods without feeding. While their preferred host is human, they will feed on wide variety of other warm-blooded animals including rodents, rabbits, bats, and even birds.

Habitat

Being a cryptic species, bed bugs shelter in a variety of dark locations; mostly close to where people sleep. These include cracks and crevices such as mattress seams, sheets, floorboards, behind paintings, in carpets, behind skirting, within bed frames and other furniture, and behind loose wallpaper. Bed bugs are often found in hotels and may move from room to room through plumbing pipes, electrical lines, and on housekeeping carts. Blood spotting on mattresses and nearby furnishings is often a tell tale sign of an infestation.

Health Concerns

Although blood feeding like mosquitoes, bed bugs have not yet been implicated or connected to any disease transmission. It has been suggested that they might play a role in the spread of Hepatitis B; however, experimental evidence does not support this. Also, not all people react to bed bug bites. Those that do react will have red, itchy welts on the skin that are caused by an allergic reaction..

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