Bed bug infestations are identifiable by:
- Small red or brown fecal spots on mattresses, upholstery, carpets or walls
- Molted bed bug skins or white, sticky eggs or empty eggshells (eggs are 1-2 mm in length)
- Red, itchy raised pustule bite sites on humans
- Female bed bugs lay one to five eggs per day, or an average of 540 eggs in a lifetime. They tend to lay eggs in cracks or on rough surfaces.
Bed bug nymphs grow to adulthood in about three weeks. Each nymph goes through five developmental stages, molting each time, and requiring at least one blood meal per stage. Once a nymph reaches adulthood, it can live for six to nine months without a blood meal.
Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide emitted by human or animal hosts. They tend to feed at night on bare skin. They prefer human hosts, but will feed on an animal if a human host is not available.
Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood. After feeding, they hide for five to 10 days. During this time, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate and lay eggs.
Bed bugs cause itchy, red bites but they have not been known to spread disease. Not everyone reacts to a bed bug bite.
Bed bugs are found in all 50 states. They are more prevalent in urban areas and among populations who rent.
Today, bed bugs can be found in homes, apartments, hotels, hospitals, schools and college campuses, office buildings, retail stores, movie theaters and even on public transportation.
Unfed adult bed bug Recently fed adult bed bug
Second intstar bed bug nymph (fed) Third instar bed bug nymph (unfed)
Bed bugs eggs, nymphs and adults Bed bugs and fecal spotting on sofa
along mattress cording
All photos courtesy of The Ohio State University.