Bed bugs belong to that group of insect family called as cimicidae. It is a very little flat parasite that does not have wings and is reddish brown in color. It survives on human and animal blood. The size of an adult bug is of 5mm to 7mm in length, and the size of an infant is about 1.5mm. The bed bugs crawl swiftly from one point to another. They have a flat body, which has the resemblance of a tiny cockroach. The favorable climate for bugs to multiply and grow is between 70 and 80 degree F. Within a year, bed bugs can produce three generations.
Bed bugs can be seen anywhere in the house. However, the concentration of bugs is more in bed rooms. They cluster together and their presence is more intense in beds, mattresses, furniture cracks/joints, box springs, upholstered wooden furniture, chairs, bed frames, and clothes. A few signs which indicate that a particular place is bug infested include presence of shed skins, egg cases, and fecal stains in their hiding places. Bed bugs can live for nearly a year without feasting on human or animal blood. As such, bed bugs can be present even in unused houses.
Before World War II, bed bugs were found in almost all the states of America. However due to the extensive use of DDTs, in forties and fifties, the bugs were almost eradicated. But the bugs had a comeback due to legal ban on use of certain pesticides and increase in travel and immigration. Numerous law suits and frequent news reports confirm their existence. Migration of bed bugs is very easy, because the bugs can very easily travel in suitcases, garments etc. to homes, hotels, restaurants, and vice versa. Generally the bugs are found in places where people tend to gather and concentrate, such as cinema halls, public transport vehicles, office buildings, and laundries.
The bed bugs grow rapidly in unhygienic over crowded areas with poor sanitation facilities and near homes where the birds and mammals nest. Bed bugs have no wings, but it can crawl quickly and cling to garments, beddings, etc. As such the bed bugs can easily relocate and spread to new and adjoining rooms and locations.
The bed bugs are more active during the night when people are asleep in bed. They tend to bite in any part of the body that is exposed. In most cases of bed bug bite no treatment is required. The cases of constant and severe itching due to bed bug bite can be removed by the application of steroid or antihistamine creams.
Symptoms of bed bug bites
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of bed bug bites:
- In most cases of a bed bug bite, the signs include redness on the bite spot, itching and swelling.
- The signs of bed bug bites depend on the level of sensitivity of the skin to the chemicals secreted during the bug bite.
- The bed bug bites normally go unnoticed, because it does not cause pain. The saliva of the bed bugs possesses anesthetic and anticoagulant properties. Thus, pain caused due o skin puncturing, and clotting of blood is prevented. The victims may feel itching or irritation over the spot of bed bug bites, only after few hours. In some cases the itching may be felt after some days or weeks.
- The bed bug bites normally resemble a mosquito bite or a flea bite. But the fecal marks on bed sheets, hiding points and the peculiar smell of the chemical secretion would reveal the difference from other insect bites.
- Normally a bed bug bite will leave the mark of a tiny, flat or elevated bump over the skin or a cluster of such bumps when they feed in sequential order.
- The scratching of a bed bug bite may open up the skin and make it vulnerable to bacterial infection.
- Now it is believed that bed bugs do not carry infectious organisms. But many researchers believe that the bed bugs possibly carry the organism which causes American trypanosomiasis. However it has not been proved so far.
Treatment of a bed bug bite
Even though the bed bug bite normally does not need any treatment, the following are some of the treatments given for bed bug bites:
- Lemon can be applied on the bed bug bite after washing it with soap and cold water. Again after an hour it may be washed with cold water.
- Lavender spray can give relief from irritation
- Applying ice on the bed bug bite can reduce the inflammation
- Serious itching can be removed by using steroid and antihistamine creams
- The herbs like black walnut, red pepper and black pepper can effectively treat the bed bug bites.
- Infections caused by bed bug bites can be treated by antibiotics
Bed Bug Bites Pictures