Description & Habits
Bed bugs are small, brownish, and flattened insects that feed mainly on the blood of humans. Adult bed bugs are about 3/16" long and reddish-brown, with oval, flattened bodies. They are sometimes mistaken for ticks or cockroaches.
The nymphs resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs do not fly, but can move rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces.
Female bed bugs lay their eggs in secluded areas, depositing 1-5 eggs per day and hundreds during a lifetime. The eggs are tiny, white in color, and are hard to see on most surfaces without magnification (individual eggs are about the size of a dust speck). When first laid, the eggs are sticky, causing them to adhere to surfaces.
Bed bugs are resilient. Nymphs can survive months without feeding and the adults for more than a year. Infestations therefore are unlikely to diminish by leaving premises unoccupied. Although bed bugs prefer feeding on humans, it will also bite other warm-blooded animals including, but not limited to, dogs, cats, birds, and rodents.
Bed bugs are mainly active at night. During the daytime, they prefer to hide close to where people sleep. Their flattened bodies enable them to fit into tiny crevices - especially those associated with mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards. Bed bugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but do tend to congregate in habitual hiding places. Also present will be eggs and eggshells, the brownish molted skins of maturing nymphs and the bugs themselves. Another telltale, though less frequent sign, is rusty or reddish blood smears on bed sheets or mattresses from crushing an engorged bed bug.