Bed bugs can cause a mild reaction when they bite. Most bites are congregated in one area of the body and may look like mosquito bites. Some people may not show any signs of bites but still are being fed upon. Bed bug bites will show up after a night of sleeping and the bugs inject a painkilling agent that will mask the pain of bites. This will make it difficult to tell when they are feeding. If any bugs are found they should be kept in a baggy or jar so they can be identified. Some doctors can distinguish bed bug bites but others cannot.
There are several species of bed bugs in the U.S. Florida has a strain called the tropical bed bug. Bat bugs are the same as bed bugs but prefer bats as the main host of feedings. Swallow bugs are usually found in bird nests and around birds. They are slightly smaller and can bits humans. Fumigating attics and wall voids after evicting these animals is an effective way of killing these bugs.
Bed bugs are not currently considered important in the transfer of diseases but tests have shown that they can carry tularemia, yellow fever, and typhus. However, these are not normally carried in regular cases. Bed bugs give off a unique odor from glands on the body. The odor has a “sweet” smell and can be detected when infestations are heavy. Bed bugs also give away their presence by leaving blood stains on mattresses, sheets, pillow cases and white areas. This is due to the excrement of blood feedings. Adults also leave behind shell casings when molting
Bed bugs are extremely hardy insects and can live in extreme conditions. Adults can live up to a year without feeding in buildings that don’t even have heat. This is also a reason why they can spread so efficiently to other areas, waiting for someone to give them a ride from place to place. Humans are the preferred hosts but bed bugs will feed on cats, dogs, birds, and rodents if desperate. They mostly feed at night when people are asleep but can feed during the day if conditions permit. Places like hospitals, theaters, and hotels may allow for daytime feedings.
Bed bugs are feeders of humans, domestic animals and bats/birds. Bed bugs feed on blood only. Bed bugs are about 1/5-1/8 of an inch long. They are oval shaped and look about the same as a dog tick. After feeding, bed bugs become enlarged and turn a reddish color. Bed bugs have sucking mouthparts which enable them to in take blood through skin.