Bedbugs (cimex lectularius)
Bedbugs are increasingly becoming a problem within residences of all kinds including houses, flats, hotels, and other places where humans live and work.
What are bedbugs?
Bedbugs are small wingless insects that feed exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded creatures. Certain types of bedbugs can inhabit birds’ nests and bat roosts. Others have adapted to living in the homes of humans.
Newly hatched bedbugs are very small, about the size of a pinhead. Adults are approximately 6mm in length. When you view a bedbug from above, it is oval in shape. When viewed from the side, they are flat from top to bottom. They can vary in colour from almost white if no feeding has taken place, after feeding they can appear deep brown to dark red in colour. Bedbugs will take shelter in dark cracks and crevices around the area where they are feeding, e.g. in the seams of mattresses, around head boards, behind skirting boards, in fact almost any gap they can squeeze into will become a harbourage for them.
Bedbugs seek out animals and humans at night to feed upon. They inject a small amount of saliva into the skin whilst feeding; this contains an anaesthetic to numb the skin and an anticoagulant to allow the blood to flow freely. The marks left by bedbug bites can resemble the bites of many other types of blood feeding insects therefore it is not reliable way of identifying a bedbug bite. One of the easiest ways of detecting whether you are being bitten by bedbugs is to check your bed sheets for tiny spots of blood; this is often a sign that you are being bitten by bedbugs whilst you are asleep.
If in doubt, have your premises inspected by a trained pest control technician, he will determine whether you have bedbugs or not. If you are experiencing bites during the daytime, it is very unlikely to be bedbugs as they are normally active at night. Being bitten during the day will almost certainly be another type of biting insect of which there are many, including fleas.