Pests are grossly fascinating to me. Creepy crawlies of all kinds take up residence in our homes, seemingly just to sneak around and give us the jitters. Yet, as unnerving as household pests can be, they are true manifestations of how far mother nature can stretch in the fight for survival. An inspiring sentiment; I’m on a mission to outline and provide insight into the lives amongst this super powered menagerie.
Meet Cimex Lectularius, the common bed bug. The best known of the bed bugs, they feed exclusively on human blood and for millennia have plagued the box springs of people all over the world.
“Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Everyone has heard it at least once. The name bed bug refers to the insect’s tendency to make it’s nest in and around human bedding. A closer look at the biology of the bed bug can tell us why. Sensitive hairs lining the topside of the bed bug’s body lay flat when in small, warm, cramped areas. When these hairs are pressed down the bed bug feels relaxed and safe.
Feeding mostly at night, bed bugs use their tube-like mouthparts to feed undetected for up to ten minutes at a time. Bed bugs seek out blood meals, not just for nutrition but also to mate.
Bed bugs were nearly driven out of American households in the mid-1900’s thanks to commercial chemical treatments like DDT. Things are different now and bed bugs have become immune to pesticides and have flourished in American homes thanks to increased tourism, business travel, and growing global interconnectivity.