Bed bug awareness is growing in the United States. A recent survey indicates that 27 percent of people check their clothing, suitcases, and hotel rooms for bed bugs. Twelve percent have changed their travel plans based on bed bug concerns. In addition, 16 percent inspect second-hand furniture and check their dressing rooms when trying on clothes. Finally, 29 percent wash new clothing before bringing it home. Hopefully, these precautions will prevent bed bugs from spreading to other places.
Bed bugs are active year-round, although they tend to be most active during summer and fall. Unlike other insects, bed bugs do not go into dormancy, and so their activity increases during these seasons. As a result, they can produce up to four generations per year if conditions are right. Because bed bugs do not have a set period of dormancy, they can easily hitchhike to a new location. This is especially true for those who travel, or have out-of-town guests.
Adult bed bugs are oval-shaped, wingless insects that are about a fifth of an inch long. They have well-developed antennae and small compound eyes. They also have an area behind their heads called the pronotum that bears numerous small hairs. Immatures, or nymphs, are smaller and lighter in color.