Where can they be found?
Predominantly found in North America and Europe, common dwellings for the pest include; human homes, bird nests and bat caves. This is because they offer shelter and warmth, as well as a source of nourishment. They are not evenly distributed within their environment, instead they focus on small refuges, which in homes include; crevices, cracks, even behind the wallpaper/within the walls.
How do they look?
The adult bed bug is a broadly flattened, ovoid insect with greatly reduced wings. The leathery, reduced fore wings (hemelytra) are broader than they are long, with a somewhat rectangular appearance. The sides of the pronotum (a prominent plate-like structure that covers all or part of the thorax) are covered with short, stiff hairs. Before feeding, bed bugs are usually brown in color and range from 6 to 9.5 mm in length. After feeding, the body is swollen and red in color.
Biology of the Bug
As the female bed bug lays her eggs (i.e., one to five per day and 200-500 within her lifetime); she uses a clear substance to attach them on cracks and on rough surfaces. Under ideal conditions, eggs hatch in about 10 days and the nymphs molt five times, taking a blood meal between each molt. Development time from egg to adult is 21 days. Adult bed bugs can live for almost one year.
The bed bug hides in cracks and crevices during the day, preferring to rest on wood and paper surfaces instead of stone and plaster. It leaves these harborage areas at night to feed on its host which include humans, birds, and family pets. The blood meal requires three to ten minutes and usually goes unnoticed by the victim. After feeding, the bite site may become inflamed and itch severely in sensitive people. Although the bed bug has been associated with over 25 diseases, transmission has not been conclusively proven. Over time, the harborage areas become filled with molted skins, feces, and old egg shells of the resident bed bugs. These areas have characteristic “stink bug” smell caused by a secretion emitted by the bed bug.