You may or may not have seen bedbugs, but you must have heard of them or their bites. Here are some detailed information to give you a better understanding of bedbugs. Only after you get to know them, can you be better prepared in the fight against bedbugs.
Bedbugs are small insects. The length of adult bedbugs is around 5-7mm while nymph bedbugs can be as small as 1.5mm. Adult bedbugs are reddish brown in color while nymph bedbugs are appear clear in color. Bedbugs are not able to fly because their wings are vestigial. But, they can crawl fast. Their bodies are flat and sometimes people mistake them for small cockroaches or ticks.
Bedbugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. They are actually very smart insects. Bedbugs try to detect their hosts by seeking out human body heat and sensing the presence of the carbon dioxide on their breath. You may wonder how bedbugs feed without their host noticing them. Actually, a bedbug will pierce the skin of its host with its mouth part. It first injects saliva that is a mixture of an anesthetic, so the host feels nothing. Then it injects an anticoagulant so that the blood flows out freely. After that, it sucks out blood until it is full. The bites are not noticeable until after the skin reaction has occurred. Bedbugs prefer to bite the face, neck, hands, and arms. The peak time for feeding is between midnight and 5 o’clock in the morning when people are asleep. Hungry bedbugs will try to feed at any time, but they do not like sunlight and prefer the dark. One feed will take between 5 and 10 minutes. The bug will then return to its hiding place. Bedbugs feed every 5 to 10 days. Surprisingly, bedbugs can even survive for about 70 days without feeding. That means they may be even present at vacant or abandoned rooms. A well-fed bedbug has a lifespan of several months.
Most often, bedbug bites present themselves as small, flat or raised bumps on the skin. The hosts of bedbugs may also detect redness, swelling, and itching on their skin. The bites can take up to 14 days to become visible but often appear within several days. The bites are larger than fleabites and do not usually have a red dot at the center. Normally, an individual does not have to get treatments for bedbug bites because the bites resolve on their own in most cases. However, there are things that need to be done if a person wants to prevent second-time bites or when the bites get severe. The first thing is to keep the skin clean. When the itching feeling gets strong, the bitten area needs to be cleaned with warm water and antibacterial soap. Moreover, applying ice to the bitten area can help reduce swelling and also stop pain and inflammation and that is the best way to treat bed bug bites. In addition to those measures, oatmeal baths can also help relive bedbug symptoms. When the bites get really serious, steroid creams or oral antihistamines may be applied. This can prevent skin infections and is the most effective of all home remedies for bed bug bites.