What are Bedbugs?

in About Bedbugs, Bedbug Questions

Most of us have heard the saying “Good night, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” It is an old saying which actually holds some affection, but the origins of this is based on actual facts.

So what are bedbugs?

Bedbugs are actually small parasitic insects and come from the family Cimicidae. The insects from this family have as a defining characteristic the fact that they feed on the blood of warm blooded animals.

The term bedbugs is used for the insects which prefer to feed of human blood and which usually have their habitat in the human environment, the term itself being a reference for their preferred nesting place in the human inhabitance, beds or other places where humans usually sleep.

The common bedbug or Cimex lectularius, is the species which has best adapted to the human environment and is mostly found in temperate climates, but there are other species of bedbugs found in only certain regions of the globe. Cimex hemipterus is mostly found in tropical regions and are known to also infest poultry and bats. Leptocimex boueti is a species found mostly in West Africa and South America and which infest bats as well as humans. Cimex pilosellus and Cimex pipistrella infest mostly bats, while Haematosiphon inodora, found mainly in North America, infests mainly poultry.

How can you identify a bedbug?

An adult bedbug is colored reddish-brown, with a small flattened body of oval shape. They do not possess wings. They are usually 4-5 mm in length and 1.5 to 3 mm wide. Bedbugs possess microscopic hairs which lead to their banded appearance.

The newly hatched bedbugs, known as nymphs are translucent and have a lighter color than the adults, color which will grow darker with age, when they molt.

Some of the main characteristics of the bedbugs

Bedbugs communicate by pheromones and kairomones and so they transmit information about nesting locations, attacks and even reproduction.

The lifespan of the bedbug varies from species to species but is also greatly influenced by the resources and the environment.

Bedbugs are not nocturnal creatures, but they are mostly active during this period.

How to maintain hygiene to avoid bedbugs

Wash clothes after a trip

Wash clothes after a trip

A proper hygiene is the key to combating the infestation with bedbugs.

First, you need to change your bed sheets with clean ones once every two weeks or even more frequently if it is the case. Wash your bed sheets at high temperature with proper detergent to eliminate any small parasite.

Second, you need to clean the bead and air the mattress at least every couple of months and we recommend that you air the mattress and leave it in the sun for one day at least once every six months. This will eliminate any small parasite, as well as eliminate excess dead skin which has accumulated in time.

Finally, when you come back from a trip, I recommend that you wash all your clothes, because there is the possibility that a bedbug or another type of pest can reside in them. Wash your clothes at high temperatures, as bedbugs cannot survive over 45 C and all forms of life are killed by an exposure of 7 minutes at a temperature of over 46 C.

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