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Bed bugs are universal pests of humans and domestic animals, as well as of bats, birds, and various other mammals. The sole food of bed bugs is the blood of warm-blooded animals. Common names used for the bed bug include mahogany flat, chinch, and red coat. An adult bed bug is about 1/5 inch long and 1/8 inch wide. Its reddish brown to mahogany-colored body is greatly flattened and oval shaped. After feeding, the bug's body enlarges considerably, becoming longer and much less flattened. Although the body is covered with tiny hairs, these hairs are so small that they are almost invisible to the naked eye, so the general body appearance is shiny. Bed bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts that enable them to pierce the skin and suck blood from their hosts.

No one knows why bed bugs are becoming more common, but there are some reasons that might explain it:

  1. People are traveling more which increases the likelihood of transporting bed bugs from infested to un-infested areas.
  2. States are experiencing a tremendous amount of immigration from parts of the world where bed bug infestations are common. Some of the immigrants may bring bed bugs with them.
  3. Reduced use of residual insecticides in buildings. Surface applications of residual insecticides are rarely used indoors which permits bed bug infestations to survive and even flourish.
  4. Bed bug infestations are difficult to find and inspect. Since bed bugs have not been common for more than 50 years, it’s doubtful that most people today have seen a bed bug.
  5. Ineffective treatments. Pest Control Professionals unfamiliar with bed bugs and their biology may be using inadequate treatments. As a result, infestations survive, spread and flourish.

Bedbugs are generally active only at night, with a peak attack period about an hour before dawn, though given the opportunity; they may attempt to feed at other times of day. Attracted by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide, the bug pierces the skin of its host with two hollow tubes. With one tube it injects its saliva, which contains anticoagulants and anesthetics, while with the other it withdraws the blood of its host. 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. While bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, their presence is unwelcome and has presented difficult challenges and distress to many people.

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