Adult bed bugs are about 3/16” long and reddish-brown, with oval-shaped, flattened bodies. They are sometimes mistaken for ticks, cockroaches, carpet beetles or other household insects. The immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs do not fly, and they don’t jump like fleas do ― but they can crawl rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Adult females lay their eggs in secluded places, depositing 1, 2 or more eggs per day, potentially hundreds during their lifetime. The eggs are tiny (about the size of a dust spec), whitish and hard to see without magnification, especially on light-colored surfaces. When first laid, the eggs are sticky, causing them to adhere to surfaces. At room temperatures, bed bug eggs hatch in about a week. Newly emerged nymphs are straw-colored and no bigger than a pinhead.
Becoming a victim of a bed bug infestation is certainly devastating, but the public can rest easy knowing that these pests are not known to transmit any diseases. While it is true that some pathogens have been detected in and on bed bugs including hepatitis B, and exotic organisms such as Trypanosoma cruzi (cause of Chagas Disease, rarely found in the United States) or Wolbachia species, unlike mosquitoes and ticks, bed bugs have not been associated with disease transmission.
The bites of bedbugs can be difficult to identify, and not all red bites are due to bedbugs. Mosquitos, fleas, biting gnats, and mites can all bite humans. Collecting and identifying the bugs can help establish the diagnosis. They can often be found beneath or on the seams of mattresses. Their bloodstains may be visible even in the absence of bedbugs. You should also look into nooks and crannies of furniture, walls, and floors if you're suspicious that bedbugs may be present.
Firstly, its important to remember that, despite their daily diet of blood, bed bugs will not transfer blood based diseases (such as AIDS, etc.). However, in very rare cases, these bites have been known to cause Anaphylaxis, which is an adverse allergic reaction that covers the entire body in a rash. After being bitten by a bed bug, be alert for any of these potential complications:
Jump up ^ John Southall. "That soon after the Fire of London, in some of the new-built Houses they were observ'd to appear, and were never noted to have been seen in the old, tho' they were then so few, as to be little taken notice of; yet as they were only seen in Firr-Timber, 'twas conjectured they were then first brought to England in them; of which most of the new Houses were partly built, instead of the good Oak destroy'd in the old". A Treatise of Buggs [sic], pp. 16–17. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
Probably chiggers -- they are very small, red mites that usually cannot be seen with the naked eye. They are about as small as the period at the end of this sentence. To stop the itching, use OraJel (usually sold for teething babies), which contains benzocaine (an anesthetic). Also, rub in hydrocortisone cream. To prevent chigger bites, wear long pants and stuff the cuffs into your socks.
Prior to World War II, infestations of bedbugs were common; however, after the widespread introduction of the use of the insecticide DDT in the mid-20th century, bedbug infestations became much less common. The recent resurgence in infestations of bedbugs worldwide is thought to be related to several different factors, including the increase in international travel, dense urban living conditions, insecticide resistance, and new, ineffective pest control measures.
Wearing an insect repellent is not completely effective, although you might try oil of lemon eucalyptus or DEET to prevent bites. Avoid bringing home second-hand items such as used furniture, mattresses, or any item that someone has kept in a bedroom. Unfortunately, bedbugs can linger in items for a year without feeding. Launder all used clothing before storing or wearing it. Use mattress, box spring, and pillow encasements on your bed. Fill in any cracks and crevices in your bedroom.
In the case of beds, a more economical option is to encase both the mattress and box spring in a protective cover like those used for allergy relief. Encasements specifically designed to help protect against bed bugs are available through retail or pest control firms. Higher quality ones tend to be more durable and comfortable to sleep on. Once the encasement is installed and zipped shut, any bugs which happen to be inside are entombed and eventually will die. Encasements also help protect newly purchased beds, and make it easier to spot and destroy any bugs residing on the outer surface during subsequent examination. Encasements will not, however, keep bed bugs from crawling onto a bed and biting a sleeping person.
Amazingly, these sneaky little bloodsuckers dine on you without waking you. You don't feel their stealthy bite because they inject a numbing agent into your body, along with an anticoagulant to keep your blood flowing as they suck. The first sign of bedbugs may be itchy, red bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites.