Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are cryptic blood sucking parasites which have evolved to feed off of humans. They can and do feed off of our pets and other animals, but they prefer us.
In fact, bed bugs have been successfully feeding on us for several thousands of years. The fact that Western Europe and North America were mostly bed bug free until the late 1990’s was a historical anomaly. Living with bed bugs has been a normal part of human existence for most of our time on earth.
Bed bugs are nocturnal (i.e. they prefer to come out at night but they will adapt to your schedule and become active when you aren’t), they are very flat and they are great at hiding.
This means they are very hard to find until it is too late!
Bed bugs have piercing sucking mouthparts – they cannot actually “bite” or “chew” – they pierce our skin with a beak like a mosquito’s then use the pressure of our heart to pump our blood into them.
A bed bug mouthpart is very thin and needle like, and so small that we typically feel nothing when they bite us, so we can’t notice and swat them like we do with a mosquito.
Bed bugs have a high reproductive potential – this means that they can reproduce quickly so that a newly introduced group of bugs can build into several hundred bugs within a few months.
In other words, bed bugs really suck – but you already knew that.
Watch the following National Geographic video – if you dare !!