Ranging in color from brown to reddish brown, adult bed bugs are about ¼” long and less than 1/8” wide, bed bugs are roughly the size of an apple seed. Their eggs are nearly invisible, with a pearly white color and a length of only 1 mm. Bed bug nymphs are smaller versions of the adults and nearly invisible. Low level infestations are nearly impossible to detect with the eye. More serious infestations can leave evidence such as small blood stains on bed sheets, and a coffee-ground like substance along the mattress seams.
Why have bed bugs become such a problem?
Experts agree that the increase in world travel and the shift away from residual pesticide applications have contributed to the surge in the bed bug population.
Where are bed bugs found?
Since bed bugs are hitchhikers, they are being found anywhere people go, and are not associated with unsanitary conditions. Hotels, dormitories, offices, retail stores, nursing homes, apartment buildings and even movie theaters have reported bed bug problems.
Why do bed bugs bite?
Bed bugs feed on blood, and a sleeping human is a perfect meal. They are attracted by the presence of carbon dioxide and body heat, and will come out to feed most often during the predawn hours. They pierce the skin and feed for 3 to 10 minutes. Afterward, they go back into hiding to digest their meals.
Do bed bugs pose a health threat?
Disease transmission to humans is considered highly unlikely. However, bed bug bites and the associated itchy welts can severely reduce quality of life by causing discomfort, unsightly bites, scarring, sleeplessness, anxiety and embarrassment.