Bed Bug Bites◀ Back To Blog
June 11, 2013
Although bed bugs will feed on other animals if they have to, bed bugs prefer human blood.Although bed bugs will feed on other animals if they have to, bed bugs prefer human blood. All active stages of bed bugs feed on blood: nymphs, adult males and females. All stages require a blood meal in order to molt and eggs and sperm production in the adults require energy from blood meals.
How often do bed bugs feed?
It all depends on the life stage of the bug, whether hosts are available, and temperature. Cooler temperatures, disturbances, no available hosts and competition between bed bugs will increase the time between feeding. At their ideal temperatures (80 F) bed bugs will search for a blood meal about every 3 days. At a cooler (64 F), they require a blood meal once a week.
When bed bugs suck blood they expand in size and become red or reddish-brown as the blood fills their body. Nymphs can increase their weight 3 to 6 times after feeding, adults up to 2 times. A tiny nymph will feed for approximate 3 minutes to reach full engorgement, while it takes an adult 10 to 15 minutes.
Bed bugs can go for long period without feeding if they have to. Adult bed bugs and late instar nymphs can sometimes survive for more than a year without feeding. Small nymphs are more susceptible, but can still go for months without a blood meal. Their ability to starve allows bed bugs to remain alive in vacant buildings or when furniture is in storage to resume the infestation many months later when a host becomes available.
How bed bugs bite:
Bed bug bites are most common on uncovered arms, shoulders, necks and legs. The hungry bed bug uses its antennae to set the suitability of the potential feeding site. It grasps the skin with the claws on its front legs and probes repeatedly with its beak mouthparts to test the skin. When the bed bug finds a suitable place, it pushed its beak through the skin at a right angel. The bed bug flexes humps and rocks its body to help with penetration. The cutting parts at the end of the beak move and slice and eventually cut their way into a suitable blood vessel. Sounds painful! The victim usually feels nothing during the bite and sleeps peacefully. As bed bugs feed, they inject saliva which acts as an n anesthetic. The blood rushes up the beak and slowly fills the bed bugs. As the bed bug completes its meal, it usually excludes a drop of blood from the anus. The bite wound also bleeds as the bug pulls out of the skin. This blood and the drop from the bugs anus, produces a typical dark brown or rusty spot on sheets and clothing.
The After effects of Bed Bug Bites:
Bed bug bite reactions vary from person to person; some people have no reaction at all. The time from the bite to the first sign of a reaction is also highly variable, ranging from almost immediately to up to 7-11 days after a bite. As people receive more bites, they usually develop sensitivity: the reaction more noticeable and the time to reaction decreases.
Bed bugs bites are reddish lumps which can blister. There is no red spot at the center as with fleas or black fly bites. Sometimes there may be a series of bites in a line or triangle. There is usually itching for a few hours or days.
The fact about bed bugs is their ability to hitchhike almost anywhere on your clothing and belongings, going unnoticed until there is a severe problem. If you travel often, have out of town guest, a student returning from college or summer camp or just purchased items, keep an eye out for signs of bed bugs or take one of these proactive approaches to bed bugs. If you experience bed bugs in Lake George or elsewhere in the Capital Region, contact Thomas Pest Services for an immediate inspection.
Source: Pinto & Associates | Video Source