Recognize bed bugs - what do stings / bites and bugs look like?

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Recognize bed bugs - what do stings / bites and bugs look like?: recognize

The bed bug (Cimex lectularius) belongs to the family of flatworms (Cimicidae) and to the order of the beak-hens (Hemiptera). In any case, this house bug, as it is also called, is a more than annoying parasite, who prefers to stay where there is to suck warm blood. The bites leave their typical traces on the skin. Beds of warm-blooded animals attract these species magically. The infestation of a human from bedbugs is called cimicosis.


Bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye, they are 3 to 10 mm long, depending on their age and whether they have just been soaked fresh. If you look at them through a magnifying glass, you might discover the following:
  • flat, red-brown body
  • mutilated wings (flightless)
  • 6 hairy legs (very nimble)
  • punctate eyes (stunted)
The cream-white eggs are invisible to the naked eye, just a millimeter in size. The larvae have almost the shape and size of an adult bug, but are much brighter.

way of life

After mating, the bedbug lays females one to twelve eggs. Every day. Bedbugs live for half to a year. The female brings it in the course of its lifetime about 200 eggs. The hides well hidden in cracks, wrinkles and holes. After two weeks, the larvae hatch. The larval stage lasts about six weeks. During this time, they skin five times, that is, they go through five stages of development.
Already as a larva, the bed bug must be soaked in blood in each of these phases. Maybe it's good to know: at the larval stage they do not survive temperatures below 15° C. The development stops. Adult bedbugs can not survive temperatures over 50° C for more than one hour. Even minus degrees do not survive. However, it takes a few days to kill them with frosty temperatures.
Geographically, it is almost omnipresent on our globe. Only north of the 65th degree of latitude it will be too cold for the house bugs. A close proximity to humans with or without an animal environment is vital for this parasite.
Bedbugs are active at night and hide in cracks during the day. Popular retreats in the home environment include:
  • Cracks on and under beds or mattresses
  • behind wallpaper
  • behind baseboards, in floorboards

Bed bugs bite

Every three to five days the bedbugs need fresh blood. Their food sources are humans, pets, birds and bats. For a meal, until they have been soaked, they need about ten minutes. They multiply sevenfold their weight. The bite is not noticed by the host, as they previously set a small local anesthetic, similar to the mosquitoes. With fragrances they make each other aware of where to get something or if there is danger. In an emergency, they can get by without food for months. They are attracted by body heat and carbon dioxide fumes.


In order to come to the clear diagnosis "bed bug infestation", you need, as in medicine or criminalistics, always several tracks. A trace alone can usually have several causes. For example, itching stitches, small traces of blood on the sheets, feces or strange odors.

Traces in the house

The bugs have to catch a blood vessel with their bite in order to be able to successfully soak. The bite can therefore lead to small blood spots on the bed linen or nightwear. Bedbugs communicate with each other mainly through odors. We can even perceive these odors. In other words, it stinks. The smell is disgusting and sweet. Small black dots, not even a millimeter in size, can also give evidence of an infestation with bedbugs. These feces traces are found frequently in the breeding grounds and around their hiding places, which they visit during the day.
When the larvae skin, they leave behind their transparent, bug-shaped sheaths. These are also usually found in the vicinity of their nests.
To find traces of feces or larvae, it is good to know where to look. The proximity of doors and windows, cold, wet and metallic surfaces avoid them. On the other hand, they like materials like paper, wood and textiles. If bedbugs are suspected, the places near beds, sofas and pet beds must be thoroughly examined:
  • Bedstead, under the bed, bedsteads
  • Cracks of mattresses and slatted frames
  • Bedside table, cupboards (especially drawers)
  • Sockets, light switches, ceiling lamps
  • Cracks, joints and holes in walls, ceilings and floors
  • Blankets, sheets, pillows and rugs
  • Cracks on the sofa, armchairs
  • Picture frames, books
  • Bird cages, rodent cages
  • Sleeping places of cats and dogs
Tip: Bedbugs also enjoy traveling. They like to stay in airplanes, trains and coaches, as well as in backpacks and unwashed linen.

Traces on the skin

Mostly one discovers in the morning reddened, itchy bites or swelling. Of course mosquitoes or cat fleas can be responsible for that. So it's time to look more closely and include the other tracks in the diagnosis.

Bed bugs bite

Stitches, bites
Since the bugs do not always encounter the same blood vessel, you will usually find several bites side by side (bugbands) or in a grouping. Even dog and cat fleas leave itchy bites, usually three or four in a row or grouping. However, they are usually more punctiform. Bite is absorbed into all exposed body parts, arms, legs, head, face and neck area. On the other hand, they do not like places like underarms and knees. How the stitches look exactly the next morning, that is individually very different. While it comes in some people to thick swelling, the bites are barely perceived by others. It is estimated that 20% of people do not even notice it.
The bites do not hurt. The bugs give their people with every bite a regular injection with various medically effective substances: There is something for the local anesthetic (anesthetic), something against too fast blood clotting (anticoagulant), some blood thinners (hemolytic) and some active protein compounds set the small vessel wide so the blood can flow properly. So far, no specific infection that is caused by bed bugs has yet been found. Although the bug releases masses of pathogens and substances into the blood during food intake.
In medicine one speaks of a multi-grouped urticae (reddish, raised skin change) by a bite of the bed bug. The characteristics can vary greatly from person to person. Making a definite diagnosis of cimicosis (bed bug bites) is difficult on the basis of the symptoms alone:
  • in the center of a wheal a tiny bloody point
  • small bubbles can form
  • severe itchy papules over several days
  • as a result, local infections and superinfections are possible
  • in very severe cases: anemia, anaphylactic reactions
The symptoms are very unspecific in any case. It is sometimes even difficult to distinguish the bite marks from diseases such as urticaria or chickenpox. Even in the laboratory, results of investigations of different insect bites (bugs, lice, fleas, mosquitoes) are very similar.
Tip: Less sensitive people who have been stung many times, usually develop a tolerance to the stitches. They are barely noticeable. Small traces of blood on the bedding could then be the only clues.
Before it comes to a panic about bed bugs, it is best to first carefully search for clues in order to confirm or disprove the suspicion. However, one should not leave it too long. The smaller the population, the easier it is to fight against it. If it already starts to stink, the infestation is already well advanced and you will hardly get around to get professional help to combat.

Video Board: 10 Bug Bites You Should Be Able to Identify.

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