Bed Bug Feeding Blood
The Bedbugs are live strictly by feeding on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. The name 'bed bug' is derived from the insect's preferred habitat infesting houses and especially beds or other common areas where people may sleep. Bedbugs, though not strictly nocturnal, are mainly active at night and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts.
Bedbugs are bloodsucking insects. They are normally out at night just before dawn, with a peak feeding period of about an hour before sunrise. Bedbugs may attempt to feed at other times if given the opportunity and have been observed feeding during all periods of the day. They reach their host by walking, or sometimes climb the walls to the ceiling and drop down on feeling a heat wave. Bedbugs are attracted to their hosts by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide. The bug pierces the skin of its host with two hollow feeding tubes. With one tube it injects its saliva, which contains anticoagulants and anesthetics, while with the other it withdraws the blood of its host. After feeding for about five minutes, the bug returns to its hiding place. The bites cannot usually be felt until some minutes or hours later, as a dermatological reaction to the injected agents, and the first indication of a bite usually comes from the desire to scratch the bite site. Because of their natural aversion for sunlight, bedbugs come out at night.
Although bedbugs can live for a year or eighteen months without feeding, and purportedly up to three years in the case of the species Oeciacus vicarius (the cliff swallow bug), they normally try to feed every five to ten days. Bedbugs that go dormant for lack of food often live longer than a year, while well-fed specimens typically live six to nine months. At the 57th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America in 2009, it was reported that newer generations of pesticide-resistant bedbugs in Virginia could survive only two months without feeding .Vermin and pets may also complicate a barrier strategy. Bedbugs prefer human hosts, but will resort to other warm-blooded hosts if humans are not available, and some species can live up to eighteen months without feeding at all. Anaphylactoid reactions produced by the injection of serum and other nonspecific proteins are observed and there is the possibility that the saliva of the bedbugs may cause anaphylactic shock in a small percentage of people. It is also possible that sustained feeding by bedbugs may lead to anemia. It is also important to watch for and treat any secondary bacterial infection. Systemic poisoning may occur if the bites are numerous.
Bed bugs feed on humans, usually at night when they are asleep. They feed by piercing the skin with their elongated mouthparts, which consist of two styles that normally fold under their body when at rest but fully extend during blood-meal feeding. One stylet has a groove that carries saliva into the wound, while the other has a groove through which body fluids from the host are taken in.
A single feeding may take up to 10 minutes, and feels like a pin prick, but because feeding usually occurs at night when people are asleep they are not aware they have been bitten until afterwards. However, saliva injected during the feeding can later produce large swellings on the skin that itch and may become irritated and infected when scratched. Swelling may not develop until a day or more after feeding, and some people do not show symptoms. Bed bugs currently are not considered to be disease carriers.
Bed bugs can go without feeding for 80 to 140 days. Older stages of nymphs can survive longer without feeding than younger ones, and adults have survived without food for as long as 550 days. A bed bug can take six times its weight in blood, and feeding can take 3 to 10 minutes. Adults live about 10 months, and there can be up to 3 to 4 generations of bed bugs per year.
All people are not equally sensitive to bed bug bites, so while some victims break out in rashes from the bites, other people may not display symptoms. When a reaction does occur, the results of feeding can be mild (a simple red spot) to severe (rash or even hives). Bed bugs have been discovered to harbor 28 different human pathogens, but fortunately, the transmission of these diseases to people has not been demonstrated. Dark blood spots on sheets and bedding may indicate bed bug feeding. Bed bugs will sometimes excrete while they are feeding. This results in darker (reddish or brownish) spots or smears placed on bed sheets, pillowcases and mattresses, or in nearby areas. This material is composed mostly of digested blood and the stains care very characteristic.