Bedbugs are insects that, as adults, have oval-shaped bodies with no wings. Prior to feeding, they are about 1/4 inch long and flat as paper. After feeding, they turn dark red and become bloated. Eggs are whitish, pear-shaped and about the size of a pinhead. Clusters of 10-50 eggs can be found in cracks and crevices. Bedbugs have a one-year life span during which time a female can lay 200-400 eggs depending on food supply and temperature. Eggs hatch in about 10 days.
Bedbugs prefer to feed on human blood, but will also bite mammals and birds. Bedbugs bite at night and will bite all over a human body, especially around the face, neck, upper torso, arms and hands. Bedbugs can survive up to six months without feeding. Both male and female bedbugs bite.
There are no known cases of infectious disease transmitted by bedbug bites. Most people are not aware that they have been bitten but some people are more sensitive to the bite and may have a localized reaction. Scratching the bitten areas can lead to infection.
Bedbugs are often carried into a home on objects such as furniture and clothing. If you think you have a bedbug problem, check for live bed bugs or shells in the following areas:
Bedbugs can also travel from apartment to apartment along pipes, electrical wiring and other openings. If the infestation is heavy, a sweet smell may be noticed in the room.
The best method to deal with bed bugs is Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which combines a variety of techniques and products that pose the least risk to human health and the environment.
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