Bed bugs have small, flat, oval-shaped bodies. They are wingless. Adults do have the vestige of wings called wing pads, but they do not fully develop into functional wings.
Adults are brown in color, although their bodies redden after feeding. Full-grown bed bugs move relatively slowly and measure between 4 to 5 mm. Homeowners sometimes have the misconception that bed bugs are too small to see with the naked eye. The nymphs may be small and difficult to see, but the adults are detectable with the naked eye and may be found in the cracks and crevices they use to hide.
Unlike mosquitoes and ticks, bed bugs are not associated with disease transmission
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Bed bugs are attracted by warmth and carbon dioxide. Bed bugs inject anticoagulant (a blood thinner) as they feed (which usually takes 5-10 minutes) which both makes feeding easier for the bed bug and less detectable to you.
Bed bugs only feed on blood. Under cool conditions, bed bugs have been able to survive up to a year without a meal. They prefer to be more active at night when the host is asleep.
Bed bugs are found in cracks and crevices, including mattress seams, sheets, furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames. Often found in hotels, where they can travel from room to room and in visitors’ luggage or other personal belongings such as purses and briefcases.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
- Seeing the bugs: Adult bed bugs are about(0.18 inches, 4.5mm). For reference, 0.1 inches is slightly over the thickness of a quarter. Adult bed bugs are approximately the size of an apple seed.
- Case skins: As the juvenile bugs grow, they shed their skins, discovery of which can indicate their presence.
- Defecation (fecal spots):After feeding, bed bugs return to their harborage to hide where they defecate black to brown stains on porous surfaces or black to brown mounds on nonporous surfaces.
- Bites also may indicate bed bug activity, but further signs will need to be found, since other sources can cause red welts on the skin.
Females can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a bed bug’s lifetime. The eggs hatch in about 6 to 10 days and the newly emerged bed bug nymphs seek a blood meal. The life span of a bed bug most commonly ranges from four to six months. However, some bed bugs may live up to a year under cool conditions and with no food.
Temperature That Kills Bed Bugs
Adult bed bugs die at 119 degrees Fahrenheit, and their heat-resistant eggs require temperatures upwards of 125 degrees.
Bed bugs are great hitchhikers. They can move from an infested site to a new home by traveling on furniture, bedding, luggage, boxes, and clothing.
Although they typically feed on blood every five to ten days, bed bugs can be quite resilient; they are capable of surviving several months to a year without feeding.