What do Bed Bugs Look Like?

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Bed bugs are anything but tiny adorable bugs that scamper around your home during the day and pull up the covers at night for restful slumber. They may be depicted to your children like this in cartoons and bed time stories, but in reality these bugs are disgusting blood thirsty villains who stay up at night to bite you and siphon your blood.

What does a bed bug, known as cimex lectularius, look like? They do not have any wings and flat smooth bodies with sucking and penetrating mouthparts so they can feed off your blood. Bed bugs are at times falsely identified as cockroaches or ticks. Bed bugs are only one quarter in length enabling them to conceal themselves quite discreetly. Bed bugs can be seen without the assistance of a magnifying glass and bear the resemblance to tiny lentil seeds. If examined on a closer level, you would see that bed bugs have very small banded hairs on their backs and are brown with a hint of red. Bed bugs that are not yet adults are translucent, but get browner as they mature. Bed bugs can expand in size, to about four to five mm, after they feast on your blood with their tiny beaks and become bloated.

Where do bed bugs get their nourishment? By now you probably have guessed that it is your blood. Just like bats and vampires, bed bugs rest at night and do their work at night. And, just like mosquitoes are drawn to heat and carbon dioxide. While you sleep in the comfort of your own bed, these horrible insects use two hollowed out vessels which penetrate your skin and draw out your blood. The saliva of a bed bug has anesthetic characteristics and this is what will enable them to feed off you for extended periods of time without being detected. One may begin to itch and swell within an hour or so after being feasted upon.

How do bed bugs gain entrance into your home? They can enter your home on luggage or on your clothing. Maybe you took a vacation and the hotel you stayed in was infested or maybe you visited a friend whose home was overrun with these vile creatures. Children can bring them home from school on their backpacks. You may have bought a second hand piece of furniture that was infested with bed bugs. All of these scenarios can bring bed bugs into your home.

Bed bugs reproduce rather quickly. Their eggs are very hard to see because they are so small and translucent. They are practically weightless and can be blown through the air very easily. It only takes about ten days for the eggs to hatch and the assistance of their mother is not needed. Bed bugs can become pregnant five hundred times during their life span and can lay as many as five eggs a day resulting in three hundred eggs with each gestation.

How can you get rid of bed bugs? One option is to use a product containing food grade diatomaceous earth. This substance will dehydrate bed bugs after they unknowingly walk through it on their way to dinner. Diatomaceous earth is nontoxic and does not contain any harmful pesticides. Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled wherever you have seen bed bugs. Within hours you will notice a drastic reduction in numbers.

Another way to get rid of bed bugs is to vacuum and steam clean areas that are infested with the bed bugs. This alone will not entirely eliminate bed bugs. Bed bugs are great at concealing themselves and this method alone will let some slip by. It is very important that after you vacuum, you burn the bag or get rid of it with extreme care.

By: Bradley Skierkowski