Types of Bed Bugs – the “nuisance pests”
Bed bugs are one of the most notorious invasive pests in the world. No building is protected from them; they manage to sneak in everywhere. The most common types of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are mainly nocturnal, wholly parasitic insect that feeds on the blood of humans and thrives in warm climates. Bed bugs have been on the planet for thousands of years and have adapted perfectly to human settlements. Bed bugs do not infest places due to lack of hygiene – they infest any place they manage to gain entry into, as long as there are humans around. They are tiny creatures that are hard to detect and hard to remove. Often professional pest control is required to eliminate these stubborn and pesky invasive pests.
There are around 90 known species of bed bugs (including Cimex antennatus, Cimex brevis and Cimex latipennis), of which around three (Cimex hemipterus, Leptocimex boueti and Cimex lectularius ) feed on human blood. Many other types of bed bugs feed on the blood of animals, especially bats and birds. Therefore residences near bird farms, animal farms or poultry farms are at a constant risk of getting bug infestations.
Bed bugs have been found in homes, hotels, hostels, dorms, hospitals, cab seats, old books, old mattresses, old clothes, old furniture – the list goes on. The common bed bug hitches a ride from one place to another using humans. This and the fact that they reproduce fast is the reason why bed bugs infestations crop up quickly and are hard to eliminate.
Bed bugs do not live in colonies, but instead can be found hiding in groups or large numbers.
Here are the common types of bed bugs:
As mentioned above, there are many types of bed bugs in the world. Many of them aren’t ‘bed bugs’, but come under the same family and have similar characteristics.
The common bed bug
The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is found everywhere in the world. Though they prefer temperate environment, they manage to thrive almost anywhere. The common bed bug is responsible for most of the bed bug infestations around the world. An adult bed bug is around 5mm long and has a brownish body. The body is flattened and oval in shape but turns cylindrical once it has been fed with blood. They have microscopic hairs on their bodies that make their skin look banded. When bed bugs bite humans, they secrete an analgesic that prevents us from feeling any pain or waking up. Bed bug bites become physically visible only a few days after the actual bite.
These bed bugs hide in various places in and around the house. They are attracted to the carbon dioxide released by sleeping humans, although it has been found that very high levels of carbon dioxide can kill them. Bed bug eggs are tiny but visible to the naked eye. They mostly look like specs of dust.
The common bed bug reproduces fast, and so the infestation spreads at a greater rate. An adult female bed bug can lay up to 10 eggs a day. The female bed bug requires human blood to reproduce, and young bed bugs only mature into adults once they have had human blood. These bed bugs can also go without food for long periods of time, allowing them to truly adapt to any situation.
It has been found that many bed bugs have become resistant to human methods of bed bug elimination that use insecticides. It, therefore, takes a combined approach to get rid of bed bugs, one that can only be properly executed by professional exterminators.
The common bed bug lets out an uncomfortable odor when crushed.
To know whether or not you have a common bed bug infestation, look around for the following signs:
- Black dots on the bed covers (bed bug feces)
- Red dots on the bed covers (crushed bed bugs)
- Foul smelling bed clothes or pillows
- Physically visible bed bugs
- Red itchy blemishes on the skin (usually in clusters) (usually on skin exposed while sleeping)
The common bed bugs can cause a range of issues – from itchy bites to sleepless nights. In extreme cases, bed bug bites have also led to allergies and insomnia. It is thus important to get rid of a bed bug infestation as soon as it is noticed.
Tropical bed bugs
The tropical bed bug (Cimex hemipterus) feeds on human blood and is found in warmer regions like Florida and California. It can be hard to distinguish between the tropical bed bug and the common bed bug. These bed bugs can even feed on animal blood if the human prey is not available. The tropical bed bug has behavior similar to that of the common bed bug.
The tropical bed bug has a prothorax near the eye, this is its main difference with the common bed bug. Only an expert can tell the difference between these two bed bugs. Tropical bed bugs are not as common as common bed bugs, but in recent years have resurfaced in different parts of the world.
These are ‘bed bugs’ that feed on the blood of bats. Bat bugs (Leptocimex boueti or Cimex adjuncts) feed primarily on the blood of bats but can feed off human blood if it is nearby or easily available.
They also feed on the blood of other birds. If you have birds or bats frequenting your house or the area around it, chances are that your house might get itself a bat bug infestation.
Bat bugs are similar in physical features to the common bed bugs. Bat bugs are usually found in places such as Africa and even in South America. For a common person, it will be hard to distinguish between a common bed bug and a bat bug.
Mexican chicken bugs
The Mexican chicken bug (Haematosiphon inodora) looks similar to the common bed bug. These pests choose to feed on the blood of birds and domestic fowls (such as chickens, turkeys, and ducks). If you have a poultry farm or have poultry near your house, there is a high chance that you will be targeted by the Mexican chicken bug. Only a trained pest professional can tell the difference between the Mexican chicken bug and the common bed bug. All these bugs look similar and have the same reproductive cycles.
Barn swallows bugs or swallow bugs (Oeciacus vicarious) feed on the blood of the cliff swallow bird but are often mistaken for the common bed bug.
These bugs can also feed on human blood at times (although rare). They are mostly found in the nests of the swallow bird but have even been found in human settlements when bird migration occurs.
They do not travel from place to place using humans – they use birds and the nests of birds to do this.
These are a few of the most common types of bed bugs in the world. Most of the time, however, your infestation will be from the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius). Bed bugs are not to be taken lightly if you have a problem you need to address it immediately. Exterminator Near Me can help you find a professional exterminator in your area who is qualified to eliminate your bed bug problem.