On paper, it appears the bed bug has the anatomy and biology to transmit blood borne diseases and illnesses. However, unlike mosquitoes, bed bugs have not been shown or reported to transmit blood borne or other kinds of illnesses.

Latest development in the news (read my blog post about it here) has shown the AIDS virus does not survive inside the bed bug. This has spurred intensive research into possibly reversing this biological process in hopes of learning more about the AIDS virus.

Are Bed Bugs Carriers of and/or Transmit any Diseases?

hey are a notable irritant and a great adversary in the world of biting insects.  While their bite is annoying to many people in the sense of some physical discomfort, it has been reported that others have suffered from emotional distress.  Certainly, they are worthy of their importance within the confines of the hotel and motel industries, respectively.  However, introduce this parasitic insect into our home, apartment complex or school dormitory, and our immediate concerns will assuredly elevate.

Please enjoy the short video below by M&M Environmental for more on Bed Bug Bites and Disease.

You are absolutely encouraged to educate yourself with a basic foundation of bed bug biology, feeding habits and their association with your home, apartment or vacation stay overs.  Students, in their travels abroad, should also be inspired to educate their selves about this “hitchhikers” habits and how this parasite can affect your home.

Risks and General Concerns to the Public:

Bed Bugs require a warm-blooded host in order to survive and reproduce.  The consequence of the bite itself varies among its human hosts. Usually some itching will occur at the bite area.  And eventually, red welts will materialize near the affected area as well.  It has been reported that most bite victims will usually notice these rash like symptoms within a day or two.  And others may awaken with bite symptoms immediately following a night time encounter with this pest.  Typically, the bite itself is not felt in the physical sense while the bed bug is feeding.  However, the psychological discomfort that accompanies these bites can be overwhelming.  Substantial loss of blood may occur where there are areas of large infestations incurring heavy feeding.  Of special note would be to the young and malnourished.

There are numerous agents of human disease that have been found in bed bugs.  At this time, this would include an array of viruses, protozoa and other associated bacteria as well as parasitic worms.   However, there is no evidence to suggest that bed bugs are transmitters of these agents through their bite.  This would include HIV and the hepatitis B virus.  While this parasite is indeed a carrier of at least 27 reported agents of human disease, none of these agents reproduce and multiply within the bed bug or survive for any significant length of time.            

Bed Bug Bites and Relief from the Itch

If you have suffered from bed bug bites or have bed bug bite symptoms and/or a bed bug bite rash, please view Bed Bug Bites and Skin Treatments and How to Treat Bed Bug Bites.  You will find quick access to some great resources, very applicable and user-friendly tips, home remedies, asymptom checker and hopefully for you, a fix and some quick relief from the itch caused by bed bug bites!

History and Feeding Habits:

Cimex lectularius(for all of our friends in the scientific community), have been a part of our world for thousands of years.  More commonly known as the “bed bug”, it is of a species that feeds exclusively on warm blooded animals.  And preferably human whenever possible!  They are referenced in early Greek writings during the time of Aristotle.  They were also first mentioned in Germany, France and England during the 11th, 13th and 15th centuries respectively.  Some of these earlier cultures held the belief of using these parasites for medicinal purposes, such as ear infections and snakebites.

Bed bugs are small parasitic insects.  They are attracted to their hosts by the presence of warmth and primarily the emissions of carbon dioxide emitted from the host. Their survival is dependent upon obtaining the nourishment needed without any benefit of killing their hosts.  They are not known to transmit disease the way that ticks, mosquitoes and other parasite insects do. However, they are the culprit of a number of medical conditions.  This may include hypersensitive skin disorders and other mild allergic symptoms. The psychological trauma of being bitten moreover, has caused many of their victims a sleepless night.

By the early 1940′s, the bed bug population had been mostly eradicated in the industrialized world due to the widespread usage of DDT.  And while they remain a prevalent force throughout the undeveloped world, infestations in developed countries have since been reported with more regularity.

While an exact cause for the more recent explosion is unclear; it has been ascertained to the infrequent exchange of second-hand goods between home owners, greater foreign travel abroad, immigration from the developing world, as well as the their increased resistance to pesticide methodology.

Where Bed Bugs Hide:

It has been appropriately named “bed bug” from its habitat of choice.  It will take up residence anywhere that people sleep.  And although they are not strictly “creatures of the night”, this is their most active time of feeding.  They tend to congregate in any crack or crevice near their current food source. They can be found in the seams of a bed mattress, within the box springs and bed frames, as well as behind the headboards. Also, other areas that they will reside are in the voids of wicker furniture, behind wall paper, inside wall outlets and underneath carpet seams. And since they can survive for many months without feeding, even vacant homes can serve as a temporary home.

Where Bed Bugs are Found

They are found in our schools and churches, single-home dwellings, hospitals and assisted living facilities alike.  Furthermore, while these parasites are often reported in areas of poor sanitation, they can equally be found in super clean environments.  Troubled areas often include dwellings of high turnover rates of nighttime guests.  This list is extended to hotels-motels, dormitories, homeless shelters, cruise ships and even movie theaters.

Bed Bug Description

Adult bed bugs are two dimensional in their flatness and appearance.  They are egg-shaped, lack wings and are a coppery reddish brown hue in color.  The adults grow from 4-5 mm in total length and approximately 1.5-3 mm in width.  The newborn nymphs are semitransparent and much lighter in color than the adults.  The nymphs will darken in color as they moult and reach adulthood. Sometimes they have been mistaken for book lice and ticks.  Others have mistakenly identified adult bed bugs as young cockroach nymphs.  The minuscule size alone of these pests will require magnification to properly identify these infamous hitchhikers.

Through the release and transmission of pheromones and kairomones, they communicate the necessary information they need to survive in reference to feeding, nesting locations and reproduction.

Bed Bug Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of this insect varies among the species; it is contingent of atmospheric temperatures, compositions and local feeding opportunities. They can survive a wide range of diverse conditions and temperatures.  However, they do not fair well within high concentrations of carbon dioxide.  They have been known to survive several days at temperatures as low as 14.0 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 113.0  degrees Fahrenheit.