• Scientific Name

    Cimex lectularius

    Appearance

    The adult bed bug is reddish-brown in colour with an oval, flattened body around 4-5 mm long with 3 pairs of legs - the forelegs are very close to the head and the middle and hindlegs are about 1/4 of the way along the body leaving a large portion of the ticks abdomen 'unsupported'. The Bed Bug has a prominent piercing and sucking mouthpart in the form of a proboscis that swings forward and then downward when feeding. There is only 3 stages and the two nymph stages the developing Bed Bug look very simllar to the adult, just smaller and lighter in colour.

    Bed Bugs are truly 'bugs' as they belong to the insect Order Hemiptera. They have no wings and unlike Fleas cannot jump.

  • Lifecycle

    The Bed Bug lifecycle can take as little as 45 days or depending on food and temperature as long as a year in cooler environments. The average development from egg to adult is around 50 days.

    Eggs

    The female Bed Bug must have a blood meal in order to lay her eggs. She will deposit 1-10 eggs or more per batch in secluded places. The eggs are extremely difficult to see without magnification, they are about the size of a dust spec, white in colour and sticky, causing them to adhere to the surface on which they were laid.

    Nymph

    The eggs will hatch after about 7 days and the nymph looks like an adult except for it's smaller size (about the size of a pin head) and lighter straw colouring. Given good food sources and favourable temperatures, the nymph will molt 5 times in as little as 40 days and requires a blood meal inbetween moults. Bed Bug nymphs and adults can survive a year without a blood meal in cooler temperatures making them one of the most resilient insects.

    Adults

    The adult will emerge from the final moult ready to feed and to reproduce. A female Bed Bug will lay somewhere between 200-550 eggs in her lifetime.

  • Habitat

    Bed Bugs are pretty gross. They prefer to sleep where humans sleep and due to their small flattened bodies they love to get into mattress seams, bedframes and headboards. Bed Bugs don't have nests but some research tends to show that an aggregation pheremone may be used as they tend to congregate in the same hiding spots. You will always know if Bed Bugs have been in a mattress, folding down the edge seams you will find dark spots and staining (if not live Bed Bugs) which is excrement. The Bed Bug is quite lazy and does not want to travel metres to get a meal so will be quite close to where the person will sleep.

    Bed Bugs are often found in back-packer accomodation along with cheaper motels or dormitory type accomodation. Back-packers are the perfect transport mechanism and will carry bed bugs around with them in their luggage. This is why it is recommended never to open your suitcase on a bed or leave it on the luggage rack in a lower rated motel.

    Food

    The Bed Bug is a blood feeder and it seems that temperature is extremely important to a Bed Bug and research has shown they will feed in the few hours just before dawn before returning to their hiding place.