The Cimex lectularius, a parasitic insect that feeds on blood, may best be known as the bed bug. But don’t be fooled by the name. While they are most frequently found in mattresses, bed bugs can live within 8 feet of where people sleep, and their places of residence vary.
They can live in cracks in furniture or in any type of textile, including upholstered furniture, curtains, carpets, dressers, and even wallpaper.
Similarly, the resilient insects travel in many different ways, but people are not a means of transportation. You will not find bed bugs in your hair or on your skin because they want to stay where it’s warm. If they do hitch a ride on a person, it will be on their clothes.
You won’t know one has bitten you until you see the rash, which will sometimes not appear until hours after the bite. The good news is that there have been no reported cases of bedbugs transmitting disease to humans. But the blood-sucking insects can cause anxiety and sleeplessness – like in the case of this stomach-churning video of a bed bug infestation in a New York hotel.
A recent study in the Journal of Economic Entomology shows that getting rid of the insects may be a lot more difficult than previously thought: Over-the-counter products are ineffective. Bed bugs can last without feeding for up to a year and can repopulate three months later. They also can move fast – up to 100 feet in one night. At least they don’t fly.
A knowledgeable exterminator, plus knowledge about where can they hide, may be your only chance.