Bed bugs are scientifically known as Cimex Lectularius which are small insects that are wingless and feed only on blood. They exclusively feed on warm-blooded animals. Since, humans are also warm blooded they serve as ideal host for bed bugs. Through millions of years these insects have been inhabiting bird’s nests and roosts. Some of these insects have also grown and adapted the human environment; this enables them to live in houses and feed on human blood. Bed bug bites are common occurrence throughout the world. Bites from this insect can be extremely discomforting and itchy, causing irritation.
Feeding of bed bugs
Bed bugs are most active an hour before sunrise which is their peak feeding time. If they are hungry and if sufficient opportunities are present, they feed any time irrespective of day or night. However, they prefer to hunt during nighttime as they dislike sunlight. They find their host through heat wave and follow the wave towards the host. They may either approach directly or climb up to the ceiling and across until they find the heat wave. The bug gets attracted to the host due to its warmth as well as presence of Carbon dioxide. They have two hollow mouth pieces which is used to penetrate through skin of the host. One tube is used for injecting saliva that contains anesthetic substance and anticoagulant content. The other tube sucks in the blood.
The bug may keep feeding for approximately 5 minutes after which it returns to seclusion. Though it is said that bed-bugs bites are not noticeable, most people feel pricking or intense itching when the bug bites. The bite becomes obvious after few minutes. Though the host may scratch the bite unaware that he is been bitten by a bed-bug, bites may not be noticeable for several days. Bed bugs feed every 5 days to 10 days but they can live without feeding for months. If foods are not present around then they can remain dormant for over years. A bug that just sucked enough blood can stay alive for six months without feeding.
Bed bug bite severity
These insects usually feed on their host while they are asleep. This complements the ability of insect to first numb the penetrated skin to make feeding uninterrupted and easier. As the bed bugs keeps feeding on a particular host over time, the host starts developing sensitivity to bed bug bites. Ultimately the host becomes allergic to the bite and he may start experiencing mild to intense symptoms due to the bite. Once the host develops sensitivity to bed bug bite he may develop lesion that resembles to mosquito bites. Most human may assume that they have been bitten by a mosquito and may perhaps never come to know which insect was it.
Symptoms of bed bug bite
Bed bug bites usually do not appear immediately after you are being bitten. It may sometime take a few days before symptom may become obvious. It should be understood that bed bugs do not come out every night to feed. They can remain hungry for days and months so they do not come out often if they are well fed.
Bed bug bites are usually said to be highly itchy once the host has developed sensitivity to the bite. One may also feel burning sensation on the skin days after you are been bitten. As mentioned above you may not feel the bite if you have not been bitten several times because local skin becomes influenced by the aesthesia in the saliva of the bug, but when you develop sensitivity the anesthesia does not work optimally on your skin. Since the bite is often itchy with prominent marks, the host tends to scratch which makes him prone to swelling, bleeding and secondary infection.
Bed bug reproduction
Bed bug reproduction belongs to the ‘traumatic insemination’ category which is also known as hypodermic insemination. The males have hypodermic genitalia which penetrate the female bed-bug at any spot on their abdomen and eject semen into the penetrated region. The ejaculated sperm reaches the ovaries and results in fertilization eventually. On an average a female bed bug lays 5 eggs daily and approx 500 eggs through her entire lifetime. The eggs are 1 mm milky with structures which need around two weeks to hatch. Bed bug reproduces only when they have reached their maturity level.
Bed bug bites treatment
Most bed bug bites take around two week to resolve and do not necessarily need treatment. In case when treatment is need the focus is on relieving symptoms. Some of the common treatment techniques adopted for treating bed bug bites include:
- Topical cream application such as cortisone that can relieve itchiness
- Prevent scratching in order to decrease chances of infection
- In case infection is recorded than oral antibiotics can be given to deal with infections
- Corticosteroids are recommended in case of severe allergic reaction
- Sometimes allergic reactions are also handled through antihistamine creams
Bed big bites are often benign and may resolve without any medical aid. But treatment may be needed if moderate to severe allergic reaction has developed. Treatment is also highly suggested in case if you have developed infection due to scratching. If any serious health anomaly is experienced then one should consult a doctor for advice and treatment.
Bed bugs bites are quiet preventable by taking measures to eradicate these bugs from your house; one of such methods is running a pest control in the house. This can significantly reduce your chances of suffering from bed bug bite.