Where Bed Bugs Come From

Bedbugs are often also called house bugs and clearly belong to the vermin. The animals are nocturnal. They are noticeable by their stings, which often lead to small, red hives on the skin. While bed bug bites only cause unpleasant itching in some people, they can also lead to extensive skin inflammations, discomfort or visual disturbances if they are highly sensitive.

The bug itself is rather inconspicuous. It is as thin as paper and is only between 3.8 and 5.5 millimetres long. If it is soaked with blood, however, it can reach a length of 9 millimetres. Its colour is reddish brown and instead of the forewing it has small scales. A house bug grows between 6 and 12 months old.

Where do bedbugs come from?

It is no longer possible to say exactly where the bedbugs originally came from. Either they come from Asia or from the Middle East. It is likely that the bloodsuckers lived in caves where both bats and humans lived. In this way they got from the nesting places of the bats to the blood of the humans.

Bedbugs adhered to human proximity and were able to spread around the world. Although the house bugs cannot fly, they have managed to settle both in the tropics and subtropics, as well as in the Alps up to an altitude of almost 2000 meters. In the north it can be found above 65 degrees latitude.

The bloodsucking insects live in the city as well as in the country. While in rural areas you are also in the stable, in the city you often have your nests in dwellings adjacent to pigeon lofts.

In the wild, bedbugs live in mammalian buildings or bird caves.

Bugs can’t fly, but they’re quite fast on foot.

The parasites love the warmth and the darkness. During the day they hide in the mattress, under the carpet, behind the wallpaper, in bedsteads or even in CD sleeves.

At night they crawl out to feed themselves with human blood, their food.

The house bug takes about 10 minutes to feed and then disappears back into its habitat as quietly and quickly as it came.

Bed Bugs Transmission

The transmission of bedbugs is possible in different ways. However, transmission from person to person can be largely ruled out. This is because the bloodsuckers are only present on the human body for food intake. They then immediately return to their safe hiding place.

Used clothing: By buying used clothing, you can bring the vermin into your home. If bedbugs have glued their eggs into the crease of a piece of laundry, you acquire the parasites together with the clothing. The larvae hatch after about 14 days and develop into adult bedbugs within six weeks. But already in the larval stage the bugs suck blood.

Old furniture: In addition to the transmission through clothing, there is also the possibility that you bring the bloodsucking insects into your house through old furniture. Because bedbugs not only use textiles such as clothing or curtains to lay their eggs, but also furniture cracks or even picture frames, you are not immune to the parasites even when buying antiques.

Anyone who has noticed a bedbug infestation at home probably wonders whether the vermin can even transmit dangerous diseases. You can be at least partially reassured about this. Scientists have already identified 28 different pathogens in the bedbugs, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and the HIV virus, but there is no evidence of these diseases being transmitted to humans. However, the house bug is regarded as the carrier of Q fever.

Prevent bedbugs

So that you don’t experience your blue miracle one day, you should not only know how bedbugs are transmitted, but also how you can protect yourself against them. The first requirement for preventing bug infestation is hygiene. Do not only wash your bed linen regularly, but also the cover of your mattress.

Be careful when buying used clothing. If you cannot be 100% sure that your purchase does not contain bedbugs, wash at least 60 degrees for 30 minutes.

Alternatively, keep it in the freezer for more than 10 hours at minus 18 degrees. Keep the laundry in a closed freezer bag.

You must also be careful when buying pictures and used books. Paper is also a popular nesting place for bedbugs. Put the picture with its frame or the book including cover in a freezer bag and keep it in the freezer for at least one day at -18 degrees Celsius.

In order not to bring the bloodsucking insect into your suitcase as a travel souvenir, you should already take some precautions in the hotel. These include never opening your suitcase near the bed. Place your luggage on a chair or table to unpack or pack the textiles.

Visit ted.com for further information about bugs.


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