What is a Bed Bug?
Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that are rising in number. They've made a strong comeback after nearly 50 years of limited activity in the United States. Adult bed bugs have a distinct reddish-brown color and have flat, oval-shaped bodies about 1/4 inch in length.
In a protected area, an adult female will lay up to five eggs in one day. The eggs are small, approximately 1mm in size and are whitish in color, making them almost invisible to the untrained eye.
Bed bug eggs are slightly sticky when first laid, which allows them to adhere to surfaces to remain safe until hatching. Once hatched, bed bug nymphs are no larger than a pinhead.
They resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color until they reach maturity. The nymphs mature rapidly, shedding their exoskeleton as they grow larger after each feeding. Bed bugs feed only on blood, preferring human blood, but will also feed on other warm-blooded animals if necessary. Signs of a bed bug infestation are:
Small spots of blood on mattresses and bed linens
Tiny brown droppings
Exoskeletons, or “cast skins” shed by growing nymphs
Tiny white eggs and egg casings
Why do I have them?
Bed bugs are efficient hitchhikers, capable of traveling great distances with an unsuspecting host. The affordability and prevalence of mass transit and international travel is a major contributing factor to the increase in bed bug infestations. However, it's important to note that anyone can get bed bugs as they don't care how clean or dirty a home may be. Bed Bugs find an area to harbour or rest and will continue to breed as long as they have a feeding source.
It has become more common and more detrimental to travel to countries with less rigorous standards of hygiene and limited pest control practices.
Because of this it is likely to find bed bugs in airplane seats, cabs and hotel beds. It is common for these pests to travel in luggage, backpacks and even in clothing. Once the bed bug has hitched a ride, its destination could be anywhere. Healthcare facilities, public transportation and private homes are just a few of the places you may seem them show up in.