Bed bugs remain a problematic pest across the United States, beyond just bed bug bites. In fact, one out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs. Reflecting the increasing problem with bed bugs, a survey of pest management professionals found that prior to 2000 only 25 percent had encountered bed bug infestations, but in 2013 an amazing 99.6 percent of U.S. based professional pest management companies encountered bed bug infestations. Bed bugs are found in places beyond homes and hotels, such as hospitals, schools, doctors' offices, public transportation, college dorms, day cares, offices and any other places where humans live or gather.
Bed bugs have flat oval bodies, six legs, are reddish-brown in color and are similar in size to a dog tick - many have described the adults as resembling a flat apple seed. Adult bed bugs are approximately 1/4 inch long, while nymphs (juveniles) may be as small 1/16 of an inch. With feeding, they enlarge or engorge with blood. The adults turn from a brownish to reddish color, while the translucent nymphs may become bright red during the feeding process.
Bites on dogs and cats will look much like bites on people, and the pet owner may actually suspect a mosquito or flea bit the pet. As with people, bed bugs do not stay on pets, but return to a protected harborage site after feeding. In addition to bites, the presence of the bug’s feces, cast skins and the animal’s irritation at night are also indicators of bed bugs biting pets. Therefore, one of the best things to do is inspect the pet’s bedding and frequently groom the animal while being vigilant for the telltale signs of bed bug presence.