The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is the only parasitic pest species of homes and buildings that relies primarily on human blood for sustenance. Bed bug infestation rates in the US have been increasing significantly with each passing year since the bloodsuckers reemerged throughout the country two decades ago. Adult bed bugs can be recognized for their dark brown to black body that is around the size and shape of an apple seed at 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch in length. Bed bugs feed for a period of 5 to 10 minutes during which their bodies progressively enlarge to an elongated, swollen, dull-colored, and engorged state.
Immature bed bug offspring look like smaller and lighter colored versions of adults. Occasionally, tiny white bed bug eggs no larger than 1/20 of an inch in length and width are found in bed bug harborages where the pests congregate. The most common bed bug harborages include inaccessible spaces like wall and ceiling voids where the pests gain access through cracks, crevices, outlets, light fixtures, and pipe penetrations in walls, ceilings, and flooring. Bed bug fecal spots, shed skins, and living specimens can always be found in between cushions, mattress lining, folds in bedding, and on bed frames within moderately to highly infested homes.
Earlier this year, police arrested a couple in Augusta after a disturbing bed bug encounter led to the discovery of a bed bug-infested home that authorities deemed a serious health hazard to the resident child. Both individuals were charged with one count of deprivation of a minor and one count of neglect of a disabled adult, elder person, or resident. The elder in question was found covered in bed bugs in a local hospital room before police paid a visit to the address found in the senior’s admission records. Upon arriving, police discovered a child living in a home that had been rendered uninhabitable and medically hazardous due to an extensive infestation of bed bugs that were found crawling up walls, roaming about on the woman’s bed, and crawling around garbage. The child was removed from the home and it was later alleged that the couple had been embezzling the elderly woman’s disability assistance and social security checks.
Have you ever spotted bed bugs in a public place?