Bed bugs are a type of parasite. They are known to be members of the Cimicidae family. These bugs first became visible in humans approximately 100 MYA in caves in the Middle East. They continued to live alongside humans throughout the last Ice Age (approximately 12000 B.C.). It is believed that they originated in caves that housed bats. There are also Cimex species that originated in the old world, including Cimex pipistrelli.
Bed bugs are ectoparasites and obligate blood-sucking insects. These bugs are among the most common ectoparasites in the world. In recent decades, their infestations in human habitats have increased significantly. They are now considered a nuisance and public health concern.
Adult bed bugs are oval-shaped, wingless insects that are about a fifth of an inch long. They have thin bodies, well-developed antennae, and small, compound eyes. Their pronotum, or the area behind their head, is covered with numerous small hairs. They produce up to three generations per year, depending on the temperature of the environment.
Bed bugs can be classified into three species. The Cimex lectularius species is found in temperate climates and the Cimex hemipterus species inhabits tropical climates. They are most commonly associated with humans, but they are also found on other mammals, including birds near humans.