By virtue of its name, people always think bedbugs are found only in beds when, in fact, they fit anywhere their bodies can be hidden and they are as thin as a sheet of paper. |
The common bedbug is Cimex lectularius. They are true bugs [of the order Hemiptera] in that they possess a hinged beak in the front of the head and have a stylet. The stylet is what is pushed through the skin to find a blood vessel inside. The bug sucks until it's full, and when it's finished it will go and hide and digest the blood. The body swells up to six times its normal size—from a flat insect to football-shaped.They are found in all kinds of furniture, electric appliances, clock radios, computers, printers, behind pictures, books and, of course, bookcases. They are found in cracks and crevices in the wall and within walls as well as in electric outlets, wiring, pipes, plastic and metal conduits.
Bedbugs are very flat, allowing them to hide in tiny crevices. A crack wide enough to fit the edge of a credit card can harbor bedbugs. The most common place to find bedbugs is the bed. Bedbugs often hide within seams, tufts, and crevices of the mattress, box spring, bed frame and headboard. Bedbugs also hide among items stored under beds. Many areas besides beds, however, can harbor bedbugs such as nightstands, dressers, upholstered chairs and sofas. Other common places to find bedbugs include: along and under the edge of wall-to-wall carpeting (especially behind beds and furniture); cracks in wood molding; ceiling-wall junctures; behind wall-mounts, picture frames, switch plates and outlets; under loose wallpaper; amongst clothing stored in closets; and inside clocks, phones, televisions and smoke detectors. Bedbugs are capable of traveling as far as 100 feet to feed, but usually remain close to the host in bedrooms. Bedbugs can be found on their own, but more often congregate in groups. These groups of bedbugs are very often found in beds, usually either in the seams of a mattress (usually the seams closest to the sleeper), in the box spring, or within the structure of the bed itself.
The problem with calling them a "bedbug" is people have an infestation and they throw out the mattress, but then the critters come back. It's really a nest or roost-inhabiting insect, and our homes are our roosts.
There are several ways how one's dwelling may become infested with bedbugs. The bedbugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually unknowingly transported in on luggage, clothing, or other belongings that are carried by individuals as they travel. Current outbreaks have been traced to increased domestic and international tourism. This is a particular problem for hotels, motels, and apartments, where turnover of occupants is constant. Infestations can also occur inadvertently by bringing infested furniture, mattresses, or used clothing to one's household. A third way people get bed bugs is by moving into a vacant apartment. The apartment may appear to be "clean", but because bed bugs can survive for many months without feeding, bed bugs may already be present in the unit. Lastly, bed bugs may travel between units in multi-unit buildings after originally being brought into the building by one of the aforementioned routes. The bugs can wander between adjoining apartments through voids in walls and holes though which wires and pipes pass.
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