Bed bugs are nocturnal blood-sucking insects that are reddish-brown in color. Bed bugs undergo incomplete metamorphosis. The eggs are laid singly or in clusters cemented to surfaces in cracks and crevices, on furniture or walls. The eggs will hatch into nymphs, and the nymphs will undergo five molts to become adults. A blood meal is required for each molt. The adult form is often only distinguishable from the nymph by size and the presence of wing pads. All life stages of bed bugs are obligatory blood feeders: nymphs require blood meal to molt, while adults require blood meal to reproduce.
They are gregarious and opportunistic feeders, where they feed as much as possible until the body is fully engorged. Nymphs become fully engorged after feeding for 3-10 mins while adults may take 10-15 mins. They will feed on other animals when human hosts are not available.
Bed bugs will only approach a host when they intend to feed, but spend most of their time hiding or resting in their hiding sites. They are attracted to the host by the presence of carbon dioxide and body heat. Hence, feeding is stimulated by the higher amount of CO2 in the presence of humans. They are attracted by the body heat of the host when they are closer to the host. They will pierce the skin with proboscis, and inject saliva which contains anticoagulants (prevent blood from clotting) and anaesthetics. Bites cannot be felt until some minutes or hours later.
Common Bed Bugs in Singapore
Bed bugs are not as commonly found in private homes as they are in public spaces where everyone lounges, sleeps, or sits, like in the theatre or hotels, but, the risk is still present. While bed bugs are not carriers of diseases, experiencing an infestation is highly distressing and the situation can quickly escalate if left untreated.
If you have bed bugs, high chances are it’s either of these two species:
COMMON BED BUG (Cimex lectularius)
The Cimex lectularius is often present where temperate climates are, feeding off human blood, or animals, if they’re unable the find the former. They are nocturnal in nature, and therefore feed late into the night, while hiding when the sun is up. Fairly large in size, they can grow up to five millimeters in length, and are rusty red-brown coloured.
TROPICAL BED BUG (Cimex hemipterus)
While the Cimex hemipterus is closely similar to the Cimex lectularius, it differs in the sense wherein it is smaller in size, growing up to a maximum of three millimetres long, and mainly feeds on human blood. It is typically drawn to areas on one’s body where the skin is covered by clothing, such as the waistline.
Do you know…
Bed bugs are very efficient and effective travelers! They don’t fly or jump onto humans, but rather, latch onto personal belongings like your backpacks, clothing, or luggage that you carry around as transport.
They have other means for travel too, especially once they’ve infested a particular home. Bed bugs can actually crawl into openings such as vents or beneath doors to spread out to adjacent rooms within a similar property.
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