Bed Bugs are wingless insects, roughly oval in shape, 4-5mm long when fully grown and fast runners. They are rust brown in colour and change to a deeper red brown following a blood meal. Bed Bugs hide in narrow cracks and crevices, making detection often very difficult.
Every time we go to bed we shed dead skin cells which is the favourite food of bed bugs. Now if that’s all they ate they wouldn’t be such a problem. Unfortunately Bed Bugs also attach themselves to our skin and can cause serious skin irritations which if left untreated can become infected. At an average size of only 4mm they are very hard to spot. The average untreated double bed can contain several thousand bed bugs.
Bed bugs, bed-bugs, or bedbugs are parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood. Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug, is the best known, as it prefers to feed on human blood. Other Cimex species specialize in other animals, e.g., bat bugs, such as Cimex pipistrelli (Europe), Cimex pilosellus (western US), and Cimex adjunctus (entire eastern US).
The name “bed bug” derives from the preferred habitat of Cimex lectularius: warm houses and especially nearby or inside of beds and bedding or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night, but are not exclusively nocturnal. They usually feed on their hosts without being noticed.
A number of adverse health effects may result from bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. They are not known to transmit any pathogens as disease vectors. Certain signs and symptoms suggest the presence of bed bugs; finding the insects confirms the diagnosis.
Bed bugs have been known as human parasites for thousands of years. At a point in the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have increased in prevalence since 1995, likely due to pesticide resistance. Because infestation of human habitats has been on the increase, bed bug bites and related conditions have been on the rise as well.
Bed bugs can cause a number of health effects, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. They can be infected by at least 28 human pathogens, but no study has clearly found that the insect can transmit the pathogen to a human being. Bed bug bites or cimicosis may lead to a range of skin manifestations from no visible effects to prominent blisters.
Diagnosis involves both finding bed bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms. Treatment involves the elimination of the insect (including its eggs) and measures to help with the symptoms until they resolve. They have been found with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), but the significance of this is still unknown.
Investigations into potential transmission of HIV, MRSA, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and hepatitis E have not shown that bed bugs can spread these diseases. However, it may be possible that arboviruses are transmissible.