It is believed that this bug originally evolved with bats living in caves in the Middle East, but in the United States it appears now to be wholly a human pest. It has been associated with humans for thousands of years.
While this species is not associated with the spread of any diseases, its bite can have a serious effect on people who are sensitive to its saliva, and swelling and severe itching or other immune system reactions may be common. The bite itself is generally painless. The Human bed bug is nocturnal, feeding only at night when people are asleep. During the daylight hours it hides in any available crack or hole in the immediate area. The presence of bedbugs may be determined by an unusual “sweet” odor in the room. Females lay their eggs by gluing them to hidden surfaces, laying several eggs each day with a total of about 200 eggs. There are 5 instar stages to the nymphs, and the growth to the adult stage takes about a month and a half, although in the absence of a blood source the nymph may lay dormant for long periods. The adults can live over a year, and in the absence of human hosts they have been known to feed on birds and rodents.
Bed bugs in general are wingless insects with an extremely flattened body from top to bottom, except when they are engorged with blood. They have a large, round abdomen, long 4-segmented antennae, and a small prothorax that flares to the sides. Their mouth is a short, 3-segmented proboscis that is held below the body when at rest. The human bed bug is distinguished from other species by the antennae, where the last segment is shorter than the segment before it, the fringe of hairs along the sides of the pronotum are very short, and the front of the pronotum is deeply concave. Evidence may include bites on occupants of the structure, although a PMP should not attempt to diagnose a bite mark. There also are often small spots of blood on sheets or mattresses, left by the departing bug following its meal. Feeding by adults may last for around 15 minutes.
Characteristics Important in Control:
Control relies on a thorough inspection of a structure to determine hiding places of the bugs, thorough cleaning of mattresses and bed coverings, and a thorough application of a residual insecticide to all possible cracks, crevices, holes, or other hiding places in the room. Vacuuming with a high-powered vacuum will help to remove many of the pests that are hiding.