Bed bugs are small, flat, oval-shaped insects. They do not have wings and rely on humans to carry them from one place to the next. Bed bugs are a reddish-brown color and can be between 1 and 7 millimeters. They feed on blood from humans or animals, and they’re most active at night, feeding on their victims while they sleep.
Bites can happen anywhere on the body. Most commonly they occur on areas of skin that are exposed while sleeping, such as the face, arms, legs, and hands.
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Adult bed bugs are light brown to reddish-brown, flattened, oval-shaped, and have no hind wings. Bed bugs can survive a wide range of temperatures and atmospheric compositions. Bed bugs are obligatory hematophagous (bloodsucking) insects.
Most species feed on humans only when other prey are unavailable. They obtain all the additional moisture they need from water vapor in the surrounding air. Bed bugs are attracted to their hosts primarily by carbon dioxide, secondarily by warmth, and also by certain chemicals. Bedbugs prefer exposed skin, preferably the face, neck, and arms of a sleeping person.
Bedbugs have mouth parts that saw through the skin, and inject saliva with anticoagulants and painkillers. Sensitivity of humans varies from extreme allergic reaction to no reaction at all (about 20%). The bite usually produces a swelling with no red spot, but when many bugs feed on a small area, reddish spots may appear after the swelling subsides. Although under certain cool conditions adult bed bugs can live for over a year without feeding, under typically warm conditions they try to feed at five- to ten-day intervals, and adults can survive for about five months without food.