Bed bugs are little vampires. They come out at night, when the lights are off, and sneak into your bed and suck your blood while you sleep. Sadly, they don’t look as charming as the typical vampire.
What are the different types of bed bugs?
Here’s what we know about the different types of bed bugs:
- The term ‘bed bug’ doesn’t refer to just one insect species, but rather a whopping 90.
- Only three of these species spend their time nibbling on humans.
- The other 87 types prefer to live outdoors.
We’re going to take a look at the types of bed bugs that commonly plague human households. Read on for more.
Types of Bed Bugs
The three kinds of bed bugs that bite humans are L. boueti, C. hemipterus, and C. lectularius.
Two common bed bugs in Europe and the US generally have a wider prothorax, the upper portion between their abdomen and neck.
They also have flatter edges than their tropical counterparts.
While this might seem like useful identification information, unless you have a microscope on hand (and are an entomologist), you’re probably not going to be able to tell the difference between the different kinds of bed bugs with the naked eye.
They all have two antennae and are flightless with no wings (but two small “winglike protrusions” on their backs.
They have similar nesting habits and tend to cause the same kind of damage to your home.
What’s worse, their bites are identical, so you can’t examine those to tell the difference either.
C. hemipterus and C.lectularius are the two kinds of bed bugs you should be concerned about if you live in the US or Europe. They feed on humans and prefer living in common household objects like carpets, sofas, mattresses, and even behind wallpaper.
L. boueti are only found in South America and West Africa, as they prefer tropical climates. Unless you live in those areas or have recently traveled to them, you won’t have to worry about them. L. boueti are also mostly sustained by bats, though they won’t hesitate to feed on humans if given a chance.
Interestingly, bed bugs evolved in caves, drinking bat blood, but graduated to the home environment, drinking human blood, over the centuries.
The common bed bug signs in the home are small red bites that appear in a zigzag or line pattern, as well as dark spots on bedding, sheets, mattresses, carpets, and cloth furniture left behind by fecal droppings.
Bed Bugs, Bat Bugs, & Swallow Bugs
Having your home examined by a pest control specialist is crucial if you think you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation. Because it might turn out that you’re dealing with a completely different insect!
Bat bugs and swallow bugs are two insects almost identical to bed bugs in appearance, and they leave very similar bites.
Swallow bugs get their name from their tendency to feed on cliff swallows and generally prefer living in bird nests. However, they are known to move into houses during swallow migrations.
Likewise, bat bugs prefer feeding on bat blood. They live in temperate and tropical climates, and when bat populations dwindle, they move into human homes.
So, getting a trained expert to look at your home will help you determine the kind of bug you are actually dealing with.
Contact a Professional
It’s tempting to deal with a bed bug infestation by yourself, especially when it could mean saving some money, but your best bet is to contact a professional.
A bed bug infestation is a nightmare. You can’t feel safe and secure in your home. You don’t know where to sleep. You fear you’ll spread your infestation to friends just by visiting. It takes over your life.
Oh, and it can last for a year. Fun times.
There are certainly ways to get rid of the problem yourself, but if you’re not cautious when implementing them, you could worsen the problem, or simply waste your time and delay correct treatment.
Leave the bug-busting to the professionals and avoid running the risk of letting a potentially small bug problem evolve into a more serious infestation.
Bed Bugs & Chickens
If you keep chickens of your own or live in a rural area, then you may want to watch out for the signs of a Mexican chicken bug infestation. These bugs are almost impossible to distinguish from the common bed bugs we mentioned earlier. And while they mostly feed on poultry and birds, they are also known to bite humans.
They used to be quite rare outside of agricultural environments.
However, there has recently been an increase in Mexican chicken bug infestations in human dwellings like college dorm rooms, apartments, and hotels.
More About Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are flat, small, wingless insects that have a reddish-brown color and are less than an inch long before feeding. Both the males and females drink blood, and they reproduce quickly.
They look an awful lot like apple seeds, and their eggs look like grains of rice, but are the size of a grain of salt.
During the day, they prefer hiding in bedding, which is how they got their name. However, they also hide in cracks in furniture, floors, and walls.
They come out at night to feed. While they do not jump or fly, they are incredibly quick crawlers.
1. How They Enter Homes
These insects can come in from used furniture or other infested areas. They commonly latch onto items like backpacks, purses, luggage, or other items placed on upholstered surfaces.
In multi-unit buildings, they can travel between rooms, so it’s easy for a bed bug infestation to spread throughout the entire house or apartment complex or hotel.
2. How to Avoid Bed Bugs
When you are staying in a hotel, be sure to place your bag on a suitcase stand instead of on the floor or bed. Make sure that this stand is away from any furniture or walls, and when you get home, wash your clothing and put them in a hot dryer.
It would be best if you also inspected used and new furniture before you bring it inside. Be thorough; check the tufts, seams, and underneath cushions.
Controlling a Bed Bug Problem
As we mentioned earlier, it is best to hire a pro.
But you can take matters into your own hands when controlling a bed bug problem, though it requires an integrated pest management approach. This technique combines the least threatening methods to your environment and health.
Here are some strategies:
- Move your bed away from furniture and walls.
- Clean and get rid of clutter in the bedroom.
- Wash your pillowcases, sheets, bed skirts, and blankets. Dry them on a hot setting for at least half an hour. Some believe dryer sheets help, but we doubt it.
- Use mattress and box spring covers – the ones used for dust mite control work the best. Putting duct tape over zippers helps as well. T
- Vacuum molding, floors, and windows daily. Also, vacuum the seams and sides of mattresses, furniture, and box springs. Once you’re done, empty the vacuum bag immediately and dispose of the contents in a sealed bag or container.
Not only are pesticides dangerous if used improperly, but they may not be all that effective. If you do decide to use pesticides, be sure to follow these guidelines closely:
Not only are pesticides dangerous if used improperly, but they may not be all that effective.
- Do not apply pesticides directly to your body. There are no repellents registered for bed bug control that you can use on bare skin.
- Do not use outdoor pesticides indoors.
- Only use registered pesticides, and be sure to check that they are labeled for bug control.
- If you choose to hire a pest control company, make sure that they are experienced in dealing with bed bugs. The company should follow integrated pest management approaches and any pesticide application.
Getting rid of a bed bug infestation takes persistence and patience, and if you’re renting your home, it’ll take your landlord’s cooperation. In truth, it can be a completely exhausting and expensive process when you get an exterminator involved.
Remember, bed bugs are more of an annoyance than a health concern, and dealing with infestations can be done if you’re vigilant enough.
What Causes a Bed Bug Infestation?
Bed bugs are persistent and adaptable, so there are a number of ways that an infestation can occur.
They can enter your home as stowaways when furniture, luggage, and bedding are moved in, which is why you should always be careful when purchasing second-hand furniture. Also, avoid purchasing a used mattress at all costs. A thorough visual examination should tell you all you need to know about the safety and cleanliness of the furniture you purchase.
Even homes that appear clean or that are vacant can be infested with bed bugs. The problem is that these insects can survive for as long as two months without any food and are able to move through holes between apartments.
Signs of An Infestation
The most obvious signs of a bed bug infestation are bites that appear on your body when you wake up in the morning. If this happens, be sure to immediately check your room for signs of bed bugs or bed bug activity.
The most obvious signs of a bed bug infestation are bites that appear on your body when you wake up in the morning.
Take a close look at your linens and the tufts and seams of mattresses and box springs. Look out for eggs as well as bugs. Signs of activity can also appear beneath loose wallpaper in the corner of dressers and desks, near beds, in your laundry, and in drawers.
It would be best if you also looked for bed bug droppings in carpets and beds. Bed bug droppings can leave reddish stains on your furniture, which is another telltale sign that you may be dealing with a bed bug infestation.