Appearance & Features:
Bed bugs vary in shape and size depending on whether they're fed. Prior to feeding they can be flat and a broad oval shape. After feeding they become more elongated and swollen.
The adults are about 6mm in length and nymphs (juvenile bed bugs) range from 1.3mm up to 5mm in length.
Bed bugs feed on blood and they turn from a rusty brown colour to a reddish-brown colour after feeding. Nymphs are colourless when they first hatch and get browner as they mature.
Bed bugs stay close to food supplies and hide in small spaces. This can be anywhere from suitcases to matresses and bedding, walls and furniture close to a human environment.
They generally feed at night but can also take a blood meal during the day if the opportunity presents itself.
Feeding usually takes 5-10 minutes after which they retire to a secluded space for between 5 - 10 days during which they digest their meal, mate and lay eggs.
Threats to humans:
Bed bugs only feed on warm-blooded hosts - this includes humans and other animals. while they don't spread disease they can cause irritation and swelling around bite areas. If scratched these areas can result in local infection.
Hygiene is key to preventing bed bugs. Change bedding on a regular basis and check bed sheets for tell-tale blood spots. If returning from a holiday inspect and vacuum suitcases as they love to travel. Some Bedbugs have recently become immune to most classes of insecticides and professional management is the wisest solution.