Bed bugs are small creatures that live inside fabrics. They are active at night and hide during the day. Bed bug bites are usually painless but may cause an itchy welt. The bugs are often found in beds, suitcases, and other clothing. They are nearly extinct fifty years ago, but are now becoming a growing problem in schools and other public places.
Infestations of bed bugs can be very difficult to remove because they multiply rapidly. One adult female can lay hundreds of eggs during her lifetime. Because bed bugs rely on blood to reproduce, they must feed frequently to produce eggs. In addition to feeding regularly, the young need blood every time they shed skin. These bugs can live for months, sometimes for over a year. Because they need warm-blooded hosts to feed, it can be hard to remove bed bug populations.
Adult female bed bugs lay eggs in secluded areas. Usually, they lay one or two eggs a day, laying hundreds of them throughout their lifetime. They look like tiny dust specks and are sticky when first laid. A week later, the eggs hatch and the newly emerged bedbug nymphs can be found. The nymphs are about the size of a pinhead and shed their skin five times before reaching maturity.
In developed countries, bedbug infestations are increasing. This is attributed to increased immigration and international travel. Also, insecticide resistance is a contributing factor. Infections of bed bugs are difficult to diagnose due to the large variety of skin reactions. However, if you find a bite, you can collect the bug to get a more definitive diagnosis.