BED BUGS

This page will be a resource for you to learn all there is to know about bed bugs. Doctor Sniffs is a NYC-based K9 inspection company and we want you to be informed about bed bugs, their habits, breeding cycles, and more. The more knowledge that you have, the better you will be at eradicating them.

What are bed bugs or chinches? 

Cimex lectularius Linnaeus is the scientific name. Adult bed bugs are wingless insects 5-6mm in length. They are small brownish-red insects that can be either flat or bulbous, depending on when they last had their blood meal. Bed bugs feed solely on the blood of animals.

Close up of cimex lectularius, a bed bug, on corrugated recycle paper.
Close up of cimex lectularius on corrugated recycle paper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Bed bugs are ancient insects that studies have proven to have lived with humans in caves, first parasitizing bats, then moving onto humans. There have been reports of bed bugs in Greece, Egypt, Italy, China, and many other countries since the earliest known civilizations began. England’s first documented bedbugs were reported in 1583.

Bed bugs were almost eradicated for a 50-60 year period after WW II. A Swiss chemist named Paul Hermann Müller discovered DDT and the power it had as an insecticide. Paul Hermann Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology for his discovery of DDT being a contact poison for several arthropods.

close up of a bed bug.  Bed bug photo close up.

One reason why DDT was so effective is that it has a very long residual effect. When it is applied to a surface it will keep on killing the bugs for months. If the bugs are hiding in a crack for 7 days and then come out to feed they will, in turn, walk through the DDT and die. DDT was banned in the US in the 1970’s, due in part to Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring. It is now classified as a probable carcinogen to humans and is no longer used in most of the world. Currently, DDT is still used in the fight against malaria in a few countries, most of them in Africa.

After the ban of DDT in the US, the other countries that were still using DDT began to notice that the bed bugs were becoming resistant to the DDT. If you couple the ban on DDT in the US, the DDT resistant bed bugs emerging in many countries, and the increased air travel in the 90’s, this began the emergence of bed bugs in the 2000’s.

What is the life cycle of a bed bug?

life cycle of bed bugs

What is the bed bug life cycle? Bed bugs go through 5 stages after hatching and before reaching adulthood. Each stage the bed bugs enter, they can feed on us. Once they shed their skin, they move on to the next stage.

Check out this article to see what bed bug shells look like in real life.

How do bed bugs mate?

Bed bugs need male and female bed bugs to procreate. However, you can bring home one adult female bed bug that is impregnated and she will be able to start an entire infestation in your home. Bed bugs use the mating practice called traumatic insemination.

What this means is that the male bed bug pierces the female’s abdomen and the sperm migrates through bodily fluids called hemolymph. Eventually, they reach the female’s ovaries, and fertilization happens. A female bed bug that has recently fed on blood is more apt to be involved in the mating process.

Bed Bug Eggs

Bed bugs lay their pearly white eggs, anywhere around the host. An adult bed bug will lay eggs 2 to 5 days after a blood meal. Only the adult female bed bug lays eggs.

Do bed bugs come out in the daytime?

Yes, you can see bed bugs during the daytime, if there is a heavy infestation or if you happen to catch a wandering bed bug. You’ll need a professional bed bug inspector to teach you how to find bed bugs during the day. If you see a bed bug during the day, you can either begin searching for more clues or hire a professional to inspect for you. We have bed bug sniffing dogs, and they are able to sniff out bed bugs any time of day.

How About Traps?

Can you put out bed bug traps and actually catch a bed bug? For bed bugs, there are active monitors with a lure that can attract the bed bugs. Then there are passive monitors which create a hiding space that they are likely to go into. Lastly, there are pitfall traps. None of these options work 100%, but they all do have the ability to trap a bed bug.

Can You Vacuum Up Bed Bugs?

If you have bed bugs in your home, vacuuming is a good way to remove them from surfaces like beds, couches, and chairs. But because they can hide in cracks and crevices, vacuuming alone usually isn’t enough to get rid of all the bugs. You’ll also need to use other methods, such as professional treatment, proper cleaning, heating, and sealing of infested items, to make sure all the bed bugs are gone. Check out some good vacuum cleaners for bed bugs.