Bed bugs are insects that live in dark caves and feed on bats. Some species of bats have been found with bed bugs on their wings during flight. They are part of the family Cimicidae, which also includes the swallow bug and the purple martin bug. There are about 10 to 12 species of bed bugs in the continental U.S., including three species that are common in Indiana.
These insects are difficult to identify without a microscope. This is why pest controllers and researchers have to know a little about their biology to identify them. The recent interest in this species has been fueled by the increasing number of infestations in households around the world. Researchers have found that the biology of bed bugs is very similar to that of other pests, so exterminators use similar methods to treat them.
Adult bed bugs are about a quarter inch long and reddish-brown. They lack wings and can only fly up to 1.2 meters. However, they can crawl at a speed of one meter per minute. Another interesting fact about bed bugs is that they reproduce slowly. A female bed bug will lay one egg a day, but this is much slower than that of a common housefly. The newly emerged bedbug nymph is smaller than a pinhead. They will shed their skin five times before reaching maturity.
The world’s population of bed bugs is on the rise, and many countries are experiencing a rise in bed bug infestations. Brooke Borel examines the causes, symptoms and control methods.