Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on warm-blooded mammals. Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, oval-shaped, flattened insects. They measure approximately 4-5 mm in length and can easily be seen with the naked eye. Bed bug nymphs are much smaller and are often translucent and more difficult to see without the aid of a microscope. The group of insects that are commonly called bed bugs includes species that feed on other animals such as birds and bats. Human bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are found throughout the world.
How do bed bugs feed?
Bed bugs feed on human blood. They are nocturnal and prefer to feed in the predawn hours (2 to 4 a.m.). During the day they stay relatively motionless, hiding in cracks and crevices. They are most often found hiding in the vicinity of where the host’s head lies while sleeping (pillow, headboard). At night, bedbugs come out of hiding and are attracted to their human host by the carbon dioxide and heat that is given off by a sleeping person. When they begin to feed, bed bugs inject anti-coagulants (to keep the blood flowing) and anesthetics, which prevent the host from feeling the bite and waking up. The insects will feed for 3 to 5 minutes and then retreat back to their hiding places
What is their life cycle & behavior?
Female bed bugs lay 3 to 4 eggs per day and will lay up to 250 eggs in a lifetime. Eggs normally hatch in 6 to 10 days and the new nymphs actively seek out their first “blood meal”. Nymphs will molt 5 times to reach the adult stage. The nymphs require a blood meal before each molt, but once they reach the adult stage they can survive for many months without a meal.
How do bed bugs find you?
Bed bugs find their hosts by following the carbon dioxide trail of sleeping, warm-blooded animals.
They inject anti-coagulants, to keep the blood flowing, and anesthetics, so you will not feel their bite and wake up. Bed bugs will feed for about 3 to 5 minutes if left undisturbed. After their meal, they will retreat to a nearby crack or crevice to digest their food.
Why are bed bugs commonly found in headboards?
Bed bugs are not fantastic climbers and cannot climb up most smooth surfaces. This is why wood (headboards and nightstands) is appealing to bed bugs. They can grip its rougher surface sufficiently to climb up and down, and it often has many cracks and crevices for them to hide in. Bed bugs are commonly found in hotel rooms in cracks and crevices on the backsides of headboards. Another common spot is on the underside of wooden nightstands.
What do bed bugs bites look like?
Bed bug bites vary greatly. They are often mistaken at first for mosquito bites or a rash. The bites may be single or occur as a cluster of itchy bumps. There may be a delay of a few days from the time a person is bitten until the bites are visible or begin to irritate. Some people are very sensitive to bed bug bites and some people do not react at all.
Who is at risk?

Anyone who travels.

*Travelers most commonly pick up bedbugs in their luggage at hotels. However, luggage is also vulnerable to bed bugs in aircraft and train cargo holds as well as taxi trunks.

*Parents of kids in boarding school/college/military.
Bed bugs have been found infesting college dormitories and military barracks. Make sure kids returning home don’t bring bed bugs back with them.

*People living in multiunit dwellings (condominiums, townhomes, apartments, college dormitories).
Bed bugs from one infested unit can travel between walls to infest neighbors.

*People who buy used furniture and household items.
These items from bedbug-infested residences may create a pathway into your own home.

*People who frequently have numerous overnight guests/visitors.
Many bed bug infestations have been brought into homes by friends and relatives. If you are being bitten by bed bugs and you move from your bedroom to your couch they will FOLLOW! Bed bugs like to live within 12 to 15 feet of the “meals” (US). But they can travel up to 100 feet inside a building to get a meal.

According to the National Pest Management Association, there has been a resurgence of bed bugs (Cimex Lectularius) in the United States over the last two years. The Environmental Protection Agency held a Bed Bug Summit in April of 2009 in response to both public and industry concerns about the increase in bed bug infestations. And reports about bed bugs have been aired in every major news outlet and in newspapers across the country. Bed bugs are back.

Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on people (or animals in a pinch). Bed bugs get their name because they like to hide in bedding and mattresses, but bed bugs can live on the nightstand, your headboard, luggage, clothing, carpets and just about any place where humans are regularly present. They are nocturnal and very hardy. They have the ability to live for up to a year without a meal. They travel by hitch hiking on you or on your clothes, luggage and furniture until they find a new source of food.

Bed Bugs are Becoming Immune to Pesticides