There are 8 growth stages of the bed bug. The first several stages of bed bugs are so tiny, most people cannot see them. An adult bed bug, after a blood meal, looks--in size, color, and even shape--much like an apple seed. If they haven’t eaten in a while, they look flat, almost clear, with a dark line in the middle (blood staining of their insides).
Bed bugs have an alarm pheromone that works like a tornado warning to preserve their colony, telling them to run and hide when they are being treated. The steps to eradicate are as important as the product you chose to use.
Bed bugs can live up to 18 months without eating; they often do this inside the walls after treatments to eliminate them. Once you have eliminated them, do something preventative to keep them in the walls to starve them out. This means you need to know how long the product you are using continues to work until the next preventative treatment is done; and you need to do the preventative plan religiously. This also means if you are sharing walls with someone else, they also need to be doing preventative treatments.
There are other bugs that look so much like bed bugs that you need a microscope to see the difference (such as Bat Bugs and Bird Bugs), and they can also infest homes and bite people to stay alive (but they cannot reproduce without the blood of the animal they need. Just like bed bugs can stay alive on your pet's blood, but not reproduce without human blood.)
Got Bed Bugs? Check for carpet beetles, too. There has been a noticeable increase in carpet beetles found in conjunction with bed bugs, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which licenses exterminators.
In the winter it takes 3 months for bed bugs to go from eggs to adults (with a bite between each growth stage to move to the next). In the summer, they do the same thing in 3 weeks. Dealing with the situation quickly is important!
They take 15 minutes to eat their blood meal...which is why they bite at night. They try not to wake you.
They can't fly but they can run 30 feet in 15 minutes. (This is how they can move to another house after one is treated or even left empty. They go looking for new people/food.) And sometimes, they do take a ride on the wind from thrown-to-the-curb furniture right back into the home.
Speaking of furniture...moving it around, or dragging your laundry to the dryer without using bed bug killer first...you are just spreading them throughout the premises. (See the 1st bullet point on this list for why.)
85% of bed bugs will be in the bedroom; in the box springs particularly. However, to eliminate them, you need to treat the entire home. They don’t eat paper, fabrics, or wood, but they use them for shelter. To eliminate: Don’t use “Bug Bombs”…they spread bed bugs. Don’t try heat treatments on your own or use rubbing alcohol (which does not kill bed bugs), both can start a fire. Daily vacuuming can go a long way towards helping, but the vacuum bag then needs to be taken out immediately, treated to kill the bed bugs, and disposed of in outside trash. (Best: Use a nylon hose instead of the bag to collect them, tie it off and run through a dryer on HIGH for 30 FULL MINUTES.)
You don't react to every bite, and 3 out of 10 people get NO REACTION -- AT ALL-- EVER from a bite...still being eaten up though and in a worst case scenario, living with them can cause anemia.
Females are impregnated "violently" by being speared by the male directly into their abdomen...which means they can actually be speared by more than one male simultaneously. It could kill her. This is why the pregnant female leaves the colony to find safety...thus starting new colonies.
You can tell the difference between adult males and females with the naked eye: the males have points and the females are round on the bottom...just like us. :)
Some good news: They haven’t been found to spread disease. (Whew!) But bites can turn into infections with scratching, so make sure to use anti-itch products rather than scrape the skin.