Once upon a time, in the golden era of the ’50’s, bed bugs were almost gone. Almost. But they started to come back. By the 1990’s, they were almost an epidemic. Hotels, apartments and homes became infested with these terrible little biters. Why do bed bugs bite? The blood meal gives them enough energy to move to the next part of their life cycle. Often that means laying eggs, but can be a number of other stages in life.
These little pests have no regard for your house keeping. You can have a clean or dirty home. You can be rich with nice furniture and things, or poor with few possessions. Their only concern is that they can find a nice place to live, such as your bed or couch, and a host to feed off of. To understand this it is important that we understand this pest’s lifecycle.
THE LIFECYCLE OF THE BED BUG
The adult female bed bug, after taking a blood meal, will lay her eggs in a place she has used to hide during the day. This is often a crack or crevice within the bed, possibly a seam or deep in the mattress stuffing. These pests are very good at hiding, especially in mattress stuffing and seams. The flask shaped eggs are covered in a sticky substance that keeps them in place. She will lay between five and eight eggs every week for about eighteen weeks, assuming that she can continue to get blood meals.
Once the egg hatches, a nymph will come out. A nymph looks much like the adult bed bug, only smaller. As it grows, it will outgrow its skin and molt, or remove its skin in leu of new skin. In order to have enough energy to do this, the bed bug nymph will take a blood meal. It will do this five times in its lifecycle. After the last molt, the insect enters its adult stage, where the bugs will mate and the process will begin again.
When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic, so that the host is unaware that they have been bitten. They also inject some of their saliva in order to thin the blood out, preventing clotting. Later, once the anesthetic wears off, the injected saliva will cause itching and welts, but this is long after the bed bug is gone. When the bed bug first hatches from its egg, it will be almost translucent, but after the first blood meal, the bed bug will have a reddish, orange color that will darken with each blood meal.
Most people, after the bite, will itch and develop welts at the spot that they were bitten. This is the body detecting a foreign substance and rejecting it. Everyone responds differently to bed bug bites. Some people have itchy welts that will last many days. Some people do not have a reaction at all. These people can have an infestation and never realize it. The good news is that there is no known diseases that are spread by bed bugs or their bites.
WHEN DO BED BUGS BITE
Often, bed bugs will bite when a person is in their deepest sleep. This is usually between 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM. This pest detects the carbon dioxide emitted from the skin and is attracted to it. They do not jump or fly on to people. These blood suckers are crawlers. They crawl quickly for their size at about a foot or two per minute.
Bed bugs do infest other animals as well. Poultry farms have difficulty with these pests infesting their chickens. Often, in laboratories, guinea pigs are used as hosts. Bed bug do not do well in fur, but will bite exposed areas, just as they will avoid clothing in humans.
Understanding bed bugs and their life cycles will help to understand why do bed bugs bite. If you are in need of an exterminator here in the Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Bixby, Owasso, Jenks, Claremore or north eastern Oklahoma area, feel free to Contact Us here at TermMax Pest Control. We are here to help!