These crawling insects are broad and flat and measure 4-5 mm long. Their colour is brown before feeding. After feeding the bed bug will grow longer and more rounded, and turn to a brownish-red colour. The bed bug has no wings.
During the day bed bugs will live in cracks and crevices, preferring wood and paper surfaces. These areas may have a “stink bug” smell due to the residue and excrement of the bed bugs. At night the bed bug will leave these spaces and seek out hosts, including people and pets. The bed bug will attach itself to the host, which generally goes unnoticed, and feed on blood for 3 to 10 minutes. For people, the attachment site on the skin may become inflamed and itchy. Small blood spots may be noticeable on the bed sheets. There will also be small brown fecal spots on walls and surfaces where bed bugs travel. The female bed bug will lay up to 5 eggs per day in cracks and on rough surfaces. An egg will hatch and mature into an adult bed bug in 21 days, and then live for a further 6 to 12 months.
Bed bugs are difficult to prevent, even in the most sanitary of homes. They can be introduced into a home via used furniture or belongings from an infected structure. Bed bugs can also infest transport vehicles, boats, trains, planes, etc. Certified bed bug mattress and box spring enclosures will prevent bed bugs from living in the mattresses and will protect these expensive items from infestation.
A pest professional is required for an effective control.