Bed bugs get their name because they live and feed in beds.
Bed bugs are a rapidly growing problem for homeowners because they travel via bedding, clothing, luggage and other forms of transportation and relocate very easily. Bed bugs will crawl up to 100 feet for blood - both human and animal. Bed bugs can live for more than a year without feeding (nymphs can survive for several months), so long trips aren't a problem.
Measuring approximately 1/8-inch, bed bugs have a red-brown color and a flat, oval shaped body. Nymphs resemble their parents but are smaller and slightly lighter in color. Active mostly during the night, bed bugs are ground travelers and are very agile climbers, easily able to move up and over obstacles such as walls and other surfaces. While they don't have nests, bed bugs will congregate in dark places where they hide during daylight hours. Females can lay up to 500 eggs during their lifetime and they seek out secluded places such as in and around beds, in closets and under other furniture. The nymphs, when they hatch, can live for months.
Bed bugs are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards, electrical switchplates, picture frames and even wall paper. They come out at night for a blood meal.
Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.
A strong indicator of a bed bug infestation is small brown or red spots on mattresses, sheets and bedding. Bed bug bites can range from itchy welts, similar to mosquito bites, to no reaction at all. They are a robust and persistent pest and treating them should always be handled by a pest control professional.