What to Do with Bed Bugs? Part I
Bed bugs are parasites that are particularly comfortable in our bedrooms because they depend on the proximity of the human host. In our magazine article we introduce you to these unwanted roommates or uninvited guests in the bedroom in detail and inform you about how you can prevent an infestation with these annoying pests and what you can do against bed bugs when the animals are already in your bedroom ” wide ”. To do this, we get to the bottom of the most important questions about bed bugs:
What are bed bugs?
The bed bug (Cimex lectularis) belongs to the bed bug family Cimicidae. In addition to the bed bug, this family also includes the bat bug (Cimex pipistrellus), the swallow bug (Oeciacus hirundinis) and the pigeon bug (Cimex columbarius). The four species hardly differ in biology. The bed bug is the best-known type of the family and is most often found as a parasite or pest in the human environment.
What do bed bugs feed on?
As parasites, bed bugs feed on human or animal blood by biting or stinging their respective host and sucking the blood. Since bed bugs do not have well-developed sensory organs, when looking for a source of food, they orient themselves solely to the host’s body heat as well as to its carbon dioxide and perspiration secretion.
Bed bugs have a stinging device for sucking blood that is similar to that of fleas or mosquitoes. If the bed bug bites it, like mosquitoes or fleas, it also releases anticoagulant proteins into the host’s body, which can lead to reactions such as itching.
Typically, bed bugs visit their host once a week to ingest a meal of around 7 ml of blood. The lancing process takes place in a time window of only three to seven minutes.
How long can bed bugs go without food?
It is believed that, in extreme cases, bed bugs can starve for up to nine months. A simple starvation of the parasites is therefore hardly possible. So if you have a bed bug population in your own bedroom, it is not a good idea to just let things take their course and wait for the bed bugs to “go away” on their own. It is very likely that this will not happen.
What do bed bugs look like?
When answering the question “How can you recognize bed bugs?” You have to differentiate, as the appearance of the bed bug varies depending on whether it is hungry or has had enough. There are also slight differences between female and male bed bugs and differences between young bed bugs and adult animals.
Bed bug females are about 4.5 mm in length and overall they are stronger than the slightly smaller males (about 4 mm in length). An empty bed bug with an empty stomach is oval or egg-shaped and very flat (roughly like a piece of paper, hence the nickname paper flounder). Bed bugs, like all insects, have six legs. They are also hairy and have no wings. Sometimes it is said that bed bugs have no eyes or are completely blind. However, this is not entirely correct: bed bugs have very small compound eyes and cannot really see much, but they are not completely blind. The animals therefore perceive differences between light and dark. They prefer a life in the dark and step out in the event of interference or exposure to light.
The color of the bed bug when sober is yellow-brown to brown-red. After a meal of blood (sucking takes between three and six minutes), the bed bug is spherical and looks like a beetle. In this fed-up state, bed bugs can reach a length of up to 8.5 mm. The abdomen of the bed bug changes color from red to black as it sucks blood.
Basically, there is a great similarity between young and old bed bugs, whereby the young or larvae are smaller and the animals appear more transparent in color. In this context, it can generally be stated that bed bugs have a length of about 1 mm to 8.5 mm, if one includes young animals as well as old animals of both sexes.
In order to grow, the animals shed their skin. In order for this to work, the young bed bugs must suck blood at least once before each molt. Taking into account the graphic from the following paragraph of this article ( How do bed bugs develop? ), This results in an answer to the question “How often do bed bugs suckle blood?” : Usually at least five times – once blood sucking at each stage of development .