Bedbugs Quick Overview
A bedbug is a small, blood-sucking parasite that feeds on mammals and birds. Bedbugs belong to the insect family Cimicidae, and although there are several different species, the most common species associated with human infestations are Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus. There has been a recent resurgence in bedbug infestations worldwide, particularly in developed countries, including the United States.
Adult bedbugs are reddish brown in color, flat, oval-shaped, wingless and approximately 4-5 millimeters in length. Immature bedbugs (nymphs) may be translucent or light tan in color and therefore very difficult to see. Bedbugs are often more red in color after feeding. Bedbugs are attracted by warmth, and they generally feed during the night, often just before dawn. They tend to feed every five to 10 days, though they can survive without feeding for several months. Bedbugs pierce the skin and inject saliva that contains anesthetics and anticoagulants into the host, which often make their bites painless initially. After feeding on the host's blood for several minutes, bedbugs will retreat back to their hiding place. They will generally try to remain within close range of their warm-blooded host. Affected individuals may feel and see the consequences of the bedbug bite afterward, though many individuals will not develop any physical signs of a bite. Bedbugs do not transmit human diseases.
Picture of an adult bedbug
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/24/2016
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