Bedbugs are 3-10 mm long linsekts that resemble lice. In all stages of their development they live by sucking blood and some species prefer human blood. They are strongly flattened from above, which means that they can hide in confined spaces during the day to creep out and suck blood at night. They find their victims with the help of the humans exhaled air and body heat.
Appearance and characteristics
The mouthparts are made up of a pair of joined stylets that form a coarse food canal and a thin salivary canal. The tips of the stylets have small teeth with which they cut through the skin and muscles until they find a suitable blood vessel to penetrate. The blood pressure in the vessel then automatically fills the insect with blood within three to five minutes.
Bedbugs use scent signals (pheromones) to communicate about nesting sites, eating places and reproduction. The mating may seem slightly violent. The male sticks his sharp penis through the female's exoskeleton at a special place on her belly and injects semen into her abdominal cavity. From there, the sperm are transported via the blood to a storage site from which they subsequently fertilize the eggs that develop in the ovaries. The female then lays 3-5 eggs each day and has the ability to lay close to 500 eggs during her lifetime.
From the eggs, nymphs are hatched that grow and shed skins 5-6 times before they they,become adults. Before each shedding, the nymph must have a hearty meal of blood.
Feeding and catching
Apart from the blood it drinks, the bedbug gets the fluid it needs from the moisture in the air where it lives.
Bedbug bites may resemble mosquito bites but it is very individual how people react to them. Bedbugs do not spread any diseases but it is very difficult to get rid of them. It is therefore important to seek professional help from a pest control company as soon as you discover them in the home.