Bed bugs (Cimex lectularis) are attracted to the increased temperature your body provides compared to the rest of the bed, as well as the carbon dioxide being exhaled from your lungs. They have flat bodies, which enable them to travel through the smallest of spaces, as they are a mere 4mm long and 2.5mm wide. They are very efficient and fast at crawling (they travel at the same speed as an ant) and regularly crawl up to a few meters each night to reach the bed where they will feed on a human’s (or another animal’s) blood. Effective bed bug control solutions take in consideration the ways bed bugs spread to be more effective.
Bed bugs are spread primarily by crawling through a building’s infrastructure, through pipes, underneath and through the carpet. Doing so means that they can infest a whole block of apartments very quickly from just one family, as a female Bed bug can lay between 500 and 600 eggs. They are found crawling through buildings and carpets at night, between the hours of 10:00pm and 06:00am as they are nocturnal. After feeding, they return to known “harborage areas” by following chemical trails left by other Bed bugs; these are usually found nearby the host.
The initial causes of infestations can vary – Eggs can be laid on a pet whilst outdoors and being brought into the home, buying antique furniture or vintage clothing can be another cause of infestations, with Bed bugs or their eggs being living on the item – Bed bugs have been observed to survive for up to 550 days without food.
Sometimes Bed bugs can be spread by being physically close to someone who’s home harbours Bed bugs, as they are likely to infest clothing and crawl between from one host to another. Similarly, Bed bugs can be spread by staying overnight in infested places, such as unhygienic hostels, motels and hotels. If a friend or a family member has slept overnight in a home, they may have unintentionally spread Bed bugs. Additionally, Bed bugs can be spread from one neighboring building to another through any small crevices.