Bed bugs are small, brownish and wingless insects about the size of an apple seed that feed on blood of warm blooded animals such as cats, dogs, rodents and birds. Humans are considered warm blooded too, therefore humans are also ideal hosts for these bed bugs. The common bed bugs are scientifically called Cimex Lectularius and these insects are actually called bed bugs because of the places they prefer to live in inside some people’s homes; they prefer to live on bed mattresses, beddings, even on sofas and other soft home furniture.
Bed bugs originally infest nest of animals such as birds, but over time, they have learned to adapt and infest places or homes for humans such as homes, dormitories, hotels, barracks and so on, most especially the common bed bugs which has learned to adapt to human environment. They can infest a certain area by being transported, attaching themselves on luggage, furniture or bedding moved to a new area. They can also be transported by animals such as birds or bats flying to a home. Bed bugs can move from one place to another through tubes and holes.
Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, may it be the nymph form, egg and adult stage of bed bugs. Nymph stage of bed bugs appears as whitish-yellow and translucent and turns reddish because of the recent blood feeding. Adult bed bugs are usually flat, but inflate and elongate after feeding. The peak time of bed bug feeding is about an hour before sunrise, bed bugs are most especially active that time. However, bed bugs will take the opportunity to feed whenever available and whenever they are hungry at any time of the day or night. They get to their animal or human host by crawling towards it, attracted to the heat or warmth of the host and the presence of carbon dioxide. Bug bites that occurred while sleeping are signs of having bed bugs in the area. Bed bug bites appear as red bumps of the skin in rows of two to four bites, which are really itchy. Bed bug bites are commonly found in the neck, back, face, shoulders, arms and legs. It is important to detect a bed bug infestation early in order to prevent it from becoming worse.
Dangers of Bed Bug Bites
Some people may wonder, “Are bed bugs dangerous?” Actually, bed bug bites are not hazardous to health. If bed bugs feed on one particular human host over a period of time, like several weeks for instance, the human becomes more sensitive to the bed bugs’ saliva, leading to an allergic reaction. However, not all people develop an allergic reaction to bed bug bites. Bed bugs inject a small amount of saliva when feeding, which usually takes minutes; this saliva contains anesthetics which is responsible for the painless bites and also contains anticoagulants so that blood will continuously flow. The only slight risk a human may experience from a bed bug bite is when that certain person develops a mild to severe allergic reaction to the bed bug bite. Fortunately, medications are available in treating the allergic reaction, such as corticosteroids or antihistamine medications.
Bed Bug Diseases
Bed bug may seem like a dangerous kind of biting insect because they feed on both animal and human blood. In fact, bed bugs carry diseases and other pathogens inside them and around their mouth area. However, they are not known to cause bed bug diseases, and are not proven to transmit diseases to humans. Scientific tests have been performed and have concluded that bed bugs are merely nuisance rather than health risks to humans and are unlikely to transmit bed bug diseases from one host to another. Another thing humans can experience from bed bug bites is the risk of a secondary infection due to intense scratching of the itchy bed bug bites. Scratching will cause the skin to break, allowing entry for bacteria – however these infection causing bacteria are not from the bed bugs.
Health experts say that bed bug infestations may cause an added stress to people causing noteworthy impact to the welfare and emotion of some people as these bed bugs may cause discomfort, anxiety, not enough sleep or even embarrassment.