Bed bugs are small reddish-brown flattened and oval shaped insects, which feed on human blood. They are mainly found in houses and hide in areas such as cupboards, wallpapers, beds, cracks on the wall, clutter areas, peeling paint and on cloths. These insects are attracted to their hosts by a numbers of things. First, carbon dioxide is one of the things which lure them to the host. Warmth and some chemicals also attract them to the hosts. Moreover, sweat, vibration and odor also attract them to the host.
Bed bugs feed on the host’s blood by sucking. They are therefore, hematophagous meaning bloodsucking insects. They prey on their host during the night and are thus nocturnal insects although they can also prey during the day especially when it’s dark. These insects have two tubes which resemble a tongue. One tube is used in injecting saliva to the prey. The saliva contains elements such as anticoagulants and anesthetics. The other tube is used in sucking the blood.
There are a number of ways in which you can identify bed bug bites. There are various skin manifestations, which occur when you are bitten by the bugs. It should be noted that different people have different skin reactions when they are bitten. There are those people who get skin irritations. There are others who develop blisters or red itchy bumps on their skin. Other people develop rashes on the skin.
It must be said that sometimes it may be difficult to identify an individual bite from the bed bugs. The patterns of the bites are referred to by bed bug specialists as ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner’ patterns and this shows the sequential manner in which they feed on their prey. When preying on their host, the bugs take about five minutes and they return to their hiding places. One common feature about the bites from bed bugs is that they sequentially appear in a row unlike other insects bites.
It should be noted that other insects’ bites can mimic the bites from bed bugs. It’s therefore essential to establish whether the bites are of bed bugs or other insects such as mosquitoes and flea. In most cases, the bugs will suck blood in body areas such as the neck, arms, hands and face. The bed bugs have their peak feeding time just before dawn. This means that they will prey more on their host during the early morning hours before they return to their hiding places.
It’s imperative to know the various bed bug symptoms since these insects can be a problem if they are not identified early in advance and control measures taken. The bed bugs can stay for more than 7 months without feeding (hibernating) and thus are very difficult to control once they have invaded your house. There are other signs, which will help to unearth whether the bites you notice in your body are from bed bugs. For example, you can check out for fecal spots on the bed sheets. Blood stains are also other signs. Moreover, the bed bugs will leave behind light-brown exoskeleton shells through shading their skin. Physically spotting the bugs is another way of determining the bites although it may be difficult to spot them. However, you can use light at night to search for the insects in the clutter areas and around the bed.