a close up picture shows what a bed bug looks like

Bed Bug Symptoms

Cimicidae refers to the family of flat-bodied, wingless, bloodsucking bugs, which includes three species that bite people. Members of the cimicidae family survive by sucking the blood from humans or animals. In the United States, cimicidae were wiped out by the widespread use of DDT pesticides after World War II, but have reappeared in recent years.

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

The reappearance of these organisms can be attributed to increased immigration to the US, travel from the developing world, and restrictions of the use of more potent pesticides. They often reside in tiny cracks in furniture, most often on textiles or upholstered furniture. They are found more often in sleeping areas, especially in beds, including mattresses, box springs and bed frames; hence, the layman's term cimicidae: bed bugs. They can also be found in curtains, carpet edges, furniture corners, cracks in the wallpaper and the spaces in wicker furniture. Although bed bugs are most often found in unsanitary environments, they can also survive in clean homes. Overcrowded living spaces also become a ripe breeding ground for these insects, but since they can survive for months without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes. The quality of the areas they infest is also irrelevant for bedbugs; recent news reports the discovery of bed bugs in upscale hotels.

Symptoms of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs symptoms include small bites that are often difficult to distinguish from other insect bites. They are often identical to the bites left by other parasitic blood-feeding insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, ants and lice. Generally, bed bugs symptoms are small red spots, with a darker red spot in the middle. Cimicidae bites are often arranged in a rough line or in a cluster, indicating the tendency of bedbugs to feed on the same location more than once. While the bites itself are painless, small raised bumps on the skin appear shortly after, and redness, swelling and itching are common bed bugs symptoms. These bites often appear on the face, neck, back, hands, arms and legs, which are the areas which have the greatest contact with the bed while sleeping. Cimicidae also leave odorous secretions that leave fecal spots in bed sheets or hiding places, which can also be used to diagnose bed bugs bites as opposed to bites from other insects. Immediate medical treatment is advised for people who experience severe allergic reactions in addition to the symptoms mentioned above. While it has not been conclusively proven that bed bugs are disease carriers, bed bugs symptoms are associated with the development of American trypanosomiasis, or Chagas disease.

Treatments for Bed Bugs

The bites left by bed bugs are not treatable. Most medications focus on relieving the bed bugs symptoms. To relieve the itching, steroid or hydrocortisone creams may be applied or oral antihistamines may be taken. In some cases where infections occur in heavily affected or scratched areas, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Bed bug bites are an example of cases where prevention is better than cure; prior to occupying any hotel rooms, guests should examine the beds and mattresses for signs of a bed bug infestation. Also, apart from treating the bed bugs symptoms, victims of infestations of cimicidae are also advised to get rid of all bed bugs from their homes. While mild infestations may be resolved using sprays or insecticides, vacuuming and a thorough cleaning, most cases require treatment by pest control experts or exterminators, who can provide options on how to remove these pests from your home. Pest-control experts often advise replacing infested mattresses and sealing the new mattresses to prevent re-infestation. Bedding materials may also be washed regularly using extremely hot or extremely cold water, which can kill bed bugs.

Last Updated: July 24, 2015