Bed Bug History
Bed bugs have been around for thousands of years, reference was made to them as far back as 400 BC by the Greeks. Around the early part of the 1940′s bed bugs were pretty much eradicated from the modern world thanks to the use of new treatments.
However, many of these treatments involved the use of chemicals – one of which was DDT – which were later found to be extremely harmful to humans and banned from use. This, coupled with a dramatic increase in worldwide travel and the bed bugs increasing resistance to many modern treatments has caused a resurgence over the last decade. In some places infestations have almost reached epidemic proportions. Not surprising when you think a female bug will lay between 300 and 1000 eggs in her lifetime.
The Family History
Bed bugs belong to the Cimicidae family. They are parasitic insects which feed on blood. In the past they could be found in birds nests or living with colonies of bats from whom they fed. Today they will happily live in our “nests” and feed on our blood. As the name bed bug suggests they like to reside in our beds and anywhere within the home where individuals might sleep.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like
Fully grown bugs are reddish/brown in color, oval-shaped and flat, they measure around 5 mm in length and 3 mm in width making hiding in the tiniest of spaces easy! Most people will say they are wingless, this however is not completely true, they have no hind wings but their front wings can still be seen although they have over time diminished to become useless pad like structures.
Young bed bugs or nymphs are translucent, gradually becoming darker as they grow – casting their skins six times in total before they are fully mature.
How Do Bed Bugs Find Food?
Bed Bugs find their prey using their ability to detect carbon dioxide and warmth given off by the host. They pierce the skin and inject an anticoagulant which helps the blood flow more readily before sucking up the blood. Feeding can last for anything between 5 and 10 minutes! It is possible for these blood suckers to survive for up to a year without food. The normal life span of a bed bug is around five months.