What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed solely upon the blood of warm-blooded animals. Bed bugs and their relatives have evolved as nest parasites. Certain kinds inhabit bird nests and bat roosts and await the return of their hosts; others have adapted well to living in the ‘nests’ (homes) of people.

Hatchling bed bugs are about the size of a poppy seed, and adults are about 1/4 of an inch in length. From above they are oval in shape, but are flattened from top to bottom.

Their color ranges from nearly white (just after molting) or a light tan to a deep brown or burnt orange. The host’s blood may appear as a dark red or black mass within the bug’s body. Because they never develop wings, bed bugs cannot fly. Although bed bugs can crawl, run and climb, they cannot jump. Bed bugs seek shelter in dark cracks and crevices. Cast skins and carcasses of bed bugs are sometimes discovered. Although such findings confirm that the dwelling was previously infested, it does not confirm that any continue to infest the residence. Before you conclude that the home, office or other dwelling is currently infested by bed bugs, inspect carefully for live crawling bed bugs, AND be certain that these are bona fide bed bugs. Many other kinds of small bugs are frequently mistaken to be bed bugs. Most kinds of bugs found in the home, and even on the bed, are not necessarily bed bugs. Similarly, other kinds of creatures will bite, feed on blood and cause irritation. Pest control measures taken against bed bugs can be quite costly and generally require the use of various kinds of pesticides. The means to battle bed bugs can be remarkably different than to combat other bugs.  Hence, it is critical to ensure that the bugs are correctly identified by an independent and competent source BEFORE you attempt to take action.

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