Bedbug bed.

Cimex lectularius, commonly known as the Bedbug or Bedbug bedding, is a pest insect of the family Cimicidae. Their food is hematofaga, that is nourished with blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. Its common name comes from frequently used habitat: mattresses, sofas and other mobiliario.1 Although it is not strictly nocturnal, their main activity develops it at night.


Cimex lectularis is the kind of bug that has better adapted to the human environment. Found in temperate climates around the world and feeds on blood. There are other species such as Cimex blackwelder, located in tropical regions, which also infect chickens and bats, and Leptocimex boueti, which is located in the tropics of West Africa and South America, that infects bats and humans. Cimex pilosellus and Cimex pipistrella primarily infect bats, while odorless Haematosiphon, a species of North America, mainly affects chickens.

This Bedbug adults are red-brown in colour, are crushed, oval, and wingless, with microscopic hairs that give it an appearance of having stripes. A frequent misconception is that they can't see with the naked eye. Adults are 4 to 5 mm in length and do not move fast enough to escape the view of an attentive observer. The nymphs are translucent, color clear which are acquiring dark as they perform the successive moults to reach maturity.


Feeding habits

Bed bugs are normally active after sunset, with a peak in its power about an hour before dawn. However, they can try to their diet at other times if given the opportunity, and they have been observed feeding at all hours of the day. They reach their victim by scrolling or even sometimes going up the walls of rooms up to the ceiling and letting themselves fall on someone when they detect heat that we shed the human. Attracted by the heat and carbon dioxide we exhale the breath, the Bedbug pierces the skin of his victim with a kind of two hollow tubes of your oral appliance. With one of them extracted blood from its host and other it injects its saliva which contains anticoagulants and anesthetics. After feeding for about five minutes, the Bedbug returns to his hideout. The bite may not be felt by people up to a few minutes or even hours after. The first indication of a bite is the desire of rascár is due to the reaction that occurs when agents injected by the insect.

Although these bugs can live between a year and year and a half without food, usually try to feed every five or ten days. Bed bugs in beds which come into dormancy by food shortages, can live more than one year, while the well-nourished individuals typically live six to nine months. Few individuals infestations can be difficult to detect, and it is possible that the victim does not detect it at the beginning. Bites are usually grouped into lines or groups, can be found in various parts of the body of persons.


A Bedbug (Cimex lectularius) male, inseminando traumatic way to a female of the same species

All the bed bugs mate through a system called insemination traumatica.3 4 5 instead of entering their genitalia in female genital tract as it is normal in copulation, males Pierce females with hypodermic genitalia and ejaculate within the female's body.

Immature stages

According to the National Pest Management Association, females of these bedbugs can lay up to five eggs a day and about 500 in his life [citation needed] the eggs are visible to the naked eye, they measure approximately 1 mm in length (approximately as two grains of salt) and are milky white. The egg matures in a week or two. The newly emerged nymph begin to feed immediately. It passes through five ninfales stadiums separated by moults before maturity. They must feed at least once in each Stadium.

At room temperature in a House, it takes about five weeks to develop entirely from a newly emerged nymph to adult. It is only fertile in his adult age.


In the majority of cases observed, the effect of pitting consists a reddish bulge of skin although it can also be flat, usually accompanied by an intense itching. Redness and swelling of the skin is the result of an allergic reaction to the anesthetic contained in the saliva of the Bedbug, which is introduced into the blood of the victim. Bed bug bites may not be distinguishable from the mosquitoes, although those of bed bugs usually last longer until its effects disappear. Bites may not appear at the same time and can take up to nine days in their symptoms. Bed bugs bites do not often have a red dot at its Center as it usually happens in the flea. A feature that is similar to the bites of fleas is that they often appear aligned. This type of distribution can be caused because the insect has been disturbed while feeding and is situated a short distance from where he was to continue feeding. Also it could be these alignments to successive bites insect until it finds a vein. People react in different ways to these bedbugs, it depends on many factors such as the type of skin of the victim, the environment and the type of Bedbug. In exceptional cases allergic reactions may occur to bites that cause nausea and discomfort. In a large number of cases, estimated at 50% of all persons, there is no visible symptom of bites whatsoever, thus hindering the identification and elimination of this scourge.

Normally, people respond to the stings of these bedbugs with anxiety, stress and insomnio.6 some people may also develop infections in the skin by scratching the bites.

The majority of patients whose bites are treated with corticosteroids to try to reduce the itching and burning do not experience significant improvements in symptoms. Antihistamines reduce itching in some cases, but do not affect the appearance and duration of lesions. Topical application of corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone, seems to reduce injuries caused by bites and decrease itching.

Several patients are also decreased itching and inflammation with the application of hot water in the zone of picadura.8 water must be around 50 ° C if it is not hot enough may aggravate the symptoms. Water, nor should overheat since it may cause burns. Hot water with a cloth, can also be applied even the area with a hair dryer can be heated. There are disagreements about what is causing the symptoms decrease with heat. Some hypotheses say that heat saturated the nerves that transmit the itching and not transmit the signal to the brain; others, that the heat degrades the chemicals that cause inflammation; and other, that heat triggers a large release of histamine, which causes then a deficit of this substance in the heated area.

Disease transmission

Apparently the bed bugs have all the required prerequisites to be able to transmit diseases from one host to another, but where confirmed cases are not known these bedbugs that have acted as vectors. At least twenty-seven pathogens are known (although there are authors who estimated them at forty-one) that are capable of living inside the body of Cimex lectularius, or in their buccal apparatus. Multitude of tests made in laboratory have concluded that these bugs seem to not pass on diseases of a person to otra.9 therefore, the bed bugs are less dangerous than other common insects such as fleas. However, transmission of the disease of Chagas disease or hepatitis B can occur if proper conditions are met.

Fluids salivary injected by these insects cause redness and inflammation of the skin, although people may develop greater or lesser intensity depending on your sensitivity. It could be the case that in some people the bite of this insect develop anaphylactic shock but always in a small percentage of people. It is also possible that persons subjected to constant this insect bites develop anemia. It is important to observe and monitor possible secondary bacterial infections.

Global resurgence

The infestation by C. lectularius have recently increased around the world. In the first half of the 20th century, these bedbugs were very common. According to a report of the Ministry of health of the United Kingdom, in 1993 there were many areas where all the House had some level of infestation of these chinches.14 since the mid-1990s, cases of bed bug infestations have increased. Some London Borough charts show that the presence of these bedbugs case dual each year between 1995 and 2001. The increase of these bed bugs infestations are difficult to follow because that often are not identified as a problem. The majority of reports are obtained from companies for control of insects, local authorities and chains of hoteles.14 However, the problem may be greater than what is currently believed.


As already stated, the main reason that seems to justify the increase of this plague around the world is the increased travel internacionales.15 in 1999, four different foci in the United Kingdom made that it alertase the population of a possible increase in the populations of this insect due to the increase of travellers and goods. However, there is evidence of previous cycles of increase in populations of this insect in the United Kingdom. In the period between 1985-1986, the institution of environmental health reported 7,771 infestations in England and Wales, and 6.179 infestations between 1986 and 1987. There were also reports of infestations in Belfast and in Scotland.

Since 1999, they have reported outbreaks in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Australia, Canada, India, Israel17 and in the United States. Two different studies in Tuscany, Italy shows a correlation between the increase in international travel and the escalation of attacks of these bedbugs. In the first case, in the summer of 2003 a seven year-old boy developed a large number of papules that caused him great itching in the lower part of the legs. His parents suspected the presence of insects in the child's room, and found several in the folds of your mattress. Two specimens were identified as C. lectularius and the room was treated with an insecticide. The House had never before been infested with bedbugs. However, a month before two family friends had travelled from Nepal to be ten days with the family. In the second case, a man of forty-eight years travelled in 2003 by car from Prague to Pisa and was in a House leased with three friends. After several days, the man noticed some eruptions with three lines in their upper and lower extremities. Man found several insects in your room that were identified as C. lectularius. Rent a car was disinfected and has not returned to have bed bugs. However, a group of Germans had rented the House a few weeks before the Czech group arrived.

C. lectularius had been almost eradicated due to the extensive use that was made of potent insecticides such as DDT.[citation required] However, many of these insecticides have been banned in the United States, the European Union and other countries, and have been replaced with something less toxic insecticides such as pyrethrins. Many bedbugs have become resistant to these insecticides.[citation required] In a study at the University of Kentucky bedbugs from the beds of many parts of the United States were collected. These "wild" bedbugs were resistant to dose thousands of times higher than bed bugs that were in laboratorio.18 in the city of New York found that bed bugs in that city are 264 times more resistant to deltamethrin than Florida due to a mutation of cells nerviosas.19 another problem is that insecticides of broad spectrum that were used against cockroaches and ants and had a collateral effect conta the Bedbugs are no longer used. Recently, the use of insecticides has been changed by baits and traps against cockroaches, so bed bugs escape the old effect of insecticides.

The number of infestations by C. lectularius has increased significantly since the beginning of the 21st century. The National Association for Control of pests of United States confirms an increase of 71% in cases of bedbugs between 2000 and 2005.18 control company of pests The Steritec Group of Charlotte, North Carolina, confirmed that 25% of the 700 hotels that she found between 2002 and 2006 needed Bedbug treatments. In 2003, a brother and a sister who stayed in Motel 6 in Chicago were rewarded with 372,000 dollars for damages suffered by bed bugs during your stay. These are only a few of the cases verified since the beginning of the century XXI.20

The resurgence of these infestations did the official agency of United States United States Environmental Protection Agency to maintain a National Congress on C. lectularius between 14 and 15 April 2009.21



There are several means by which a dwelling may be infested with C. lectularius. People can be infested in hotels, motels or other accommodations, and take them to their home between their luggage. They can also introduce bugs in their homes carrying infested home furniture or used clothing. If someone is in a place with a high infestation, bed bugs you can upload to your clothes and be transported in it, although this is a rare behavior and that only occurs in cases more extreme infestation. Infestations can also occur in blocks of flats, in which bugs have been introduced into a dwelling that serves as the focus of infestation to the rest of the building. Bed bugs, can also be transmitted by animals, including wild birds and pets.

This spread between different places depends in part on the level of infestation, the material used and if the material is dragged through common areas and while bed bugs emerge, with what occurs a sort of harvest of adults and eggs where goes the abjetos to move.

The size of the populations in bed bug infestations is variable, usually function of time elapsed since the initial infestation. A single female has a great potential of reproduction and its population increase in a geometric manner if it has food and is not controlled. Sometimes people do not realize that have been chopped. Bed bugs can be in any room of the House, but tend to be near their victims, hence the name of Bedbug bedding.



Beds blood-fed bedbugs.

These bugs move easily through tubes and joints, and their bodies are very flat, which allows them to hide in tiny crevices. During the day tend to be away from the light, preferring to be hidden in places like mattresses, inside or outside, bed bases, next furniture, carpets, baseboards, interior walls, tiny holes in wood etc. Bed bugs can be found alone, but are often grouped. Bed bugs are capable of moving more than 30 meters to feed, but tend to remain close to the place where the victim sleeps.



Transparency of Cimex lectularius.

C. lectularius is fast, elusive and nocturnal, which makes their detection difficult. Although you can contact a specialized company to determine if a House is infested with bed bugs, there are methods to enable a person to determine if same if you have infestation in your home.

The presence of bed bugs can be confirmed by identification of captured insects or the arrangement of bites on the skin. Although solitary beaks can give, they often follow a linear arrangement following the veins that carry blood under the skin.


Exudates result of seedlings as well as living organisms have a characteristic smell that in case of significant infestations can cause a "Bed bugs smell" that people who have been in contact with previous insect pests can be recognized. For that reason there is also the possibility to train dogs for detection of bed bugs.

Control and elimination

With the wide use that was made of DDT in the United States and Europe in the decades of 1940 and 1950, bed bugs almost disappeared completely in the middle of the century XX.23 infestations remained in other parts of the world and in recent years they have been reintroduced in the United States and Europe. The reappearance of bedbugs is a challenge for firms, since they have developed resistance to many insecticides, including DDT and other organophosphates

Another reason that have helped its reintroduction is that most pest control companies now use pesticides in traps for the control of cockroaches and ants, primary insects controlled in the houses, instead of residual insecticides. Old residual insecticides had a collateral effect against Bed bugs, but these are not attracted to baits against other insects.

Problems in the elimination and remedies

Bed bugs prefer humans as prey, but they can parasitize other warm-blooded animals if there are no people at the disposal of bed bugs, this complicates the fighting systems. Some species of bedbugs can live for over eighteen months without feeding. A coinfestacion of mice can be an auxiliary source of food for bedbugs and can lengthen the presence of them in a House. For example, a cat or a guest in a House can sit on a protected bed as earlier mentioned, and return to infest the bedding. It should take into account these issues when designing a barrier of isolation beds.

The BBC1 television channel aired a program entitled "The One Show" about the increase in infestations by bedbugs in London. In the programme, he claimed that the simple use of an insecticide is no longer an effective bed bug control method since they have developed resistance to most insecticides that can be legally used in homes in the United Kingdom. He claimed that the use of insecticides along with the freezing of bed bugs is the only effective system of control. All clothes, upholstery elements (including curtains) in the infested dwelling should be frozen at low temperature at least three days in a chest freezer to ensure complete eradication. Did not mention the exact temperature at which it should freeze.

Novel control methods

In some exceptional cases detection of the hiding places of bedbugs can be carried with dogs trained to find these insects through smell. A trained dog can detect and draw a hideout of bedbugs in minutes. This is a service that has started to use recently and which is having much success. Increasingly there are more reports that highlight the success in controlling bedbugs of the beds with the use of diatomaceous earth as a barrier against bugs against which cannot develop resistance and does not present any toxicity or environmental problem. Diatomaceous earth produces abrasion of the cuticle of the exoskeleton of the insect causing the death by dehydration. Bed bugs of the beds exposed to diatomaceous earth typically die in a couple of days.

Precautions on trips

Since most bedbugs are carried by travelers through contact in beds and rooms of hotels and other accommodation infested, take precautions that will help your control.

Examine the possible hiding places of bedbugs, such as carpet edges, seams mattresses, pillow cases, bed bases, head of bed and other small crevices where bed bugs may hide.

2.Controlar specifically the presence in seams and folds of mattresses of droppings, eggs, blood stains or even adults of bedbugs.

3.Tener close to a flashlight, if you don't have a fence, light switch while sleeping so that may be seen immediately suspicious activity during the night without giving time to bed bugs to hide.

4. Leave clothes on the floor or in bed when being suspected of being on an infested site, and instead, use hangers or hooks capable of maintaining the garment away from the floor or the bed. Purchases that are made also keep them so.

5.Cerrar all luggage (suitcases, bags etc.) when not in use. Thus, during the night although bedbugs could climb to luggage not may enter.

6. Have the luggage on the floor, tables or chairs if possible since they can be places where bedbugs hide.

Cleaning in homes

The cleaning of the houses has a positive effect on the control of bed bugs, but unlike that with cockroaches, has no direct effect, since bed bugs feed on the blood of his victims and not food scraps which may get as cockroaches do. Cleaning along with a few good preventive measures and the mechanical elimination of bed bugs help in your control.

Biological control

The spider Thanatus flavidus has proved to be a predatory of bed bugs.

Traps and capture techniques

A technique for capturing bed bugs is having a light or flashlight by the bed, so that it cannot be turned on rapidly about an hour before sunrise which is when bugs develop greater activity. If the light switch is away from the bed and makes it necessary to stand up, lantern, is preferable to not alert the bedbugs and not give them time to hide before capturing them. If kept awake, turn off the light and have prepared a flashlight close and inspect your mattress with her. Bed bugs are not slow in their displacement, approximately move at the speed of ants. If they are more fat because they just feed on blood, they move more slowly.

Sticky traps in some areas around the House or bed can be used to protect, may be used along with some attractive as it can be some source of heat such as thermal or similar blankets and balloons inflated with the mouth, so that they are a source of carbon dioxide that attracts bugs, this method to trap and thus detect bedbugs can be used. There are different opinions on the effectiveness of this method. There are also commercial traps like traps for fleas whose effectiveness is also questionable except for use as a detection medium. Perhaps the easiest way to catch bugs is put long pieces of adhesive tape double sided around or near the bed to protect and verify the strips after a day or more.


Current research

Entomology and urban structure of the University of Texas A & M Center and the Department of Entomology of the University of Arkansas from United States have collaborated in genetic studies of bed bugs with the aim of investigating the recent reappearance of these insects. Studying genetic variation in bed bugs, researchers can understand the emergence of resistance and the dispersion of these insects. Researchers have two theories of how happened this resurgence of bed bugs in the United States of America. The first theory is that bed bugs come from countries where not used pesticides to combat them and that have been introduced by travelers entering by plane to the United States. Another theory is that bed bugs that survived treatment with insecticides were forced to change guest, preferentially towards birds as chickens and bats.

In a recent study, researchers took 136 bedbugs from 22 different sites, from nine States of the United States, Australia and Canada, for genetic analysis. His research concluded in that bed bugs from United States populations did not eradicate never because there was no evidence of a genetic bottleneck nor in the mitochondrial DNA or in the nuclear DNA of the analyzed bedbugs. The researchers believe that bed bugs resistant populations have spread slowly toward chicken farming facilities, and have become human through the workers of these facilities.

Other research is conducted by the University of Texas and the Polytechnic Institute and Virginia State University in order to study the use of bedbugs in forensic science. Researchers have succeeded in the isolation and characterization of human DNA taken from the blood of that bed bugs have fed and containing inside. An advantage that bedbugs have over other insects that feed on blood and which are used in forensic science is that they are not on the host, but in the vicinity of the scene of a crime. Thus the Bedbugs can provide crucial information that involves a suspect with the crime scene. The researchers can determine which person's bed bugs have fed and continue investigating to determine the duration of viable human DNA on the inside of the insect.

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