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Bedbugs
I sent you an email befor you got the extra bandwidth. In fact after I sent the email I was not able to view your site again untill tonight. I would hate to think it was my email that broke your bandwidth limits. At any rate, I don’t belive you received my email as most of your other emails seem to be posted/replied to very quickly. That being said I will do the best I can to reconstruct my email. Please feel free to omit/change any parts of this email as you see fit. BTW, your page loads are much faster now.
When I was younger I studied entomology, and even won second place for my display at the state fair. That is why I was very suprised that I had no idea what I was looking at when I saw bed bug for the first time. Your site helped me identify them. It was nice to be able to see all of the different variations and stages of growth. I also w anted to make a small contribution to the knowledge base. One of the signs of an infestation (according to annother web site my girlfriend visited) is small streaks/smears of blood on the sheets. I observed this in my own case, but did not think much of it (although I guess I should have been a little bit more curious about it). I attached a few pictures of my sheets, I don’t know if they will be of any use as they are not very clear since the only camera I had at the moment was my camera-phone. Perhaps they will help someone out though. I’m guessing it happes when I roll over in my sleep and I inadvertantly squash them. And I presume the bigger streaks are from bigger bugs, or ones that have been eating better.
I have never seen a web site with this much information and this many pictures. It is a great web site and I intend to continue using it. Thanks…
Neely
Baltimore, MD

Hi Neely,
Thanks for the information. The streaks are most likely digested blood that has been eliminated by the bedbugs. Here is what Hogue writes: “When indoors, the Common Bedbug feeds exclusively on human blood, invading the bed at night for its meals. Although the bite may cause immediate pain in some individuals, the first indication of its presence is often only dark stains on the bed sheets from the bug’s excrement or the itching of bites the next day. Heavy infestations of bedbugs also are accompanied by a characteristic disagreeable musky odor that comes from the bugs’ scent glands, which are similar to those possessed by Stink Bugs. Some people assume that the source of infestation is dirt or old colthing, and these mistaken ideas probably stem from the bug’s ability to withstand long periods without food. Infestation always begins, of course, by introduction from other preexisting infestations. and the bug easily finds transportation on clothing, bedding, or overstuffed furniture. During the day Bedbugs hide in crevices in walls and floors, behind wall decorations, and in furniture.”

Update (12/20/2005)
Eric Eaton just provided the following information: “I attended a symposium about them, and they leave behind sticky black speckles when they defecate. I have heard nothing about blood continuing to run after their feeding, so I doubt that this occurs. The wound resulting in the stains must be due to something else. Bed bugs are already problematic and set to get much worse globally. Anyone travelling, or considering purchasing mattresses and boxsprings (especially used), should be alerted to this menace.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bed Bug Species and Solutions BugMan,
One of my pictures is a juvenile and the other an adult (or elder juvenile). I know these are from family Cimicidae. Can you tell from the picture whether they are human bed bugs, or a species that prefers birds/bats?

If it is one of the latter, I may be tempted to head to the roof to seek out roosting flyers. I have only seen them on the walls, and my mattress looks uninhabited, yet I have snagged about 60 juveniles and 5 adults off the wall/ceiling. I have noticed around 10 bites over the past two weeks that may be due to them, but that doesn’t seem like enough to sustain them all. Since realizing the bed bug problem, I have isolated my bed from the walls and other furniture, and I have tried to make the legs of the bed unappealing with some household insecticide at the base and some duct tape sticky-side-out part way up. If they were indeed not in the mattress, and were prevented from traveling up the legs, would I still be in danger? I know they can crawl on the ceiling, so are they crafty enough to drop down onto the bed to feed? Any help or advice would be most appreciated.
Nathan in Saint Louis, MO
P.S. Best case scenario for me is to keep this info from my landlord for a while, for reasons too detailed to go into. However, I wouldn’t want someone else in the building to inherit my problem or for the problem to become unmanagable. My hope is that these bugs are primarily interested in bats or birds, and that the bug problem may go away if those animals do. Or, that I can take measures to eradicate them myself.
P.P.S. You perform a great service. Kudos to you.

Hi Nathan,
Sorry for the delay but you seem to have a rational approach to the situation. Had your letter not been so detailed, we would have simply responded with an affirmative Bedbug identification. We checked with Eric Eaton to see what he could tell us about the species. Here is his response: “Wow, great image! Hope it makes its way to BugGuide eventually. It is absolutely impossible to identify even the GENUS without putting specimens under the microscope. Subtle details like the patterns of setae (hairs) are among the only clues as to what they are. He should submit specimens to the county health department and/or county extension service for an accurate ID. This could have lots of implications, from landlord negligence to bat conservation issues, so it really needs to be addressed. Sorry I can’t be of more help myself. Eric” So Nathan, in closing, we echo Eric’s advice to seek out the County Health Department. Being unsure what your reasons are for keeping this from the landlord, we really feel he should know. This story is not being posted on our homepage, but going directly to the Bedbug archive in an attempt to reduce hysteria among the desperate homemakers in our readership.

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Help with a bug please
Hey i was hoping you could help me identify this bug and give me some help on what i can do to get rid of them. The bug is a brownish red color, pretty small, 4 legs from what i could see. When i killed one it was definately full of red blood. Human blood i would imagine. They are crawling all over my bed and have been biting me leaving me with an itch that usually lasts until the morning. I tried using a bug gas bomb to get rid of them but had no luck. I took a picture to help. Thanks alot.
David

Hi David,
Your photo isn’t detailed enough to be certain, but the general outline of the culprit as well as your description leads us to believe you have Bedbugs, Cimex lectularius. According to Hogue: “The species may be recognized by its small size (its length is about 3/16 to 1/4 inch), dusky red color (which changes to bright red when the bug is ingesting blood), and flatness. It is entirely wingless, even as an adult. When indoors, the Common Bedbug feeds exclusively on human blood, invading the bed at night for its meals. … During the day Bedbugs hide in crevices in walls and floors, behind wall decorations, and in furniture.” Seek professional help.

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Hello, my name is Kat and I live in Bakersfield California in the country. Recently I have found small skinny black bugs that smell really bad when crushed. They are really annoying me because at night if I lift the covers there is always one or two crawling around. What can they be? And more importantly, how can I kill them? They might live in the cotton fields around my house or in the alfalfa. There are almond trees too. Any help would be appreciated!

Not so good Kat. They sound like Bedbugs which will bite.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I found these flat(they almost look like ticks) brown bugs living in the seams of and on my box spring part of the mattress set. When you squash them they’re full of blood. What are they?!

This is bad. They are bedbugs. Yes they really do exist. According to Borror and DeLong in their book An Introduction to the Study of Insects, “The Common Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius, are flat, oval bugs about 1/4 inch in length which feed by sucking blood from birds and mammals. The Common Bed Bug is frequently a serious pest in houses, hote.s, barracks, and other living quarters. It attacks animals other than man. The Common Bed Bug is largely nocturnal, and during the day hides in cracks in a wall, under the baseboard, in the springs of a bed, under the ridge of a mattress, under wallpaper, and in similar places. Its flatness makes it possible for it to hide in very small crevices. Bed Bugs may be transported from place to place on clothing, in luggage or furniture, or they may migrate from house to house. Bed Bugs are important primarily because of their irritating bites. They are apparently unimportant as disease vectors.” Here is a photo from Essig of a bedbug feeding on a finger.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear bug man,
In the last few months my roomates and I have been the unfortunate hosts to the dreaded Bed Bug. Until I met the nasty critters in real life, I thought they were only the fabricated subject of the cute little pre-bedtime saying "Night-night, don’t let the bed bugs bite". But they do exist. And they have become a part of my living nightmare now for three long months. I live in Brooklyn, New York in a building with four apartments. The bugs were brought in by our upstairs neighbors. The short of the story is that I have to move out of this building because I cannot take it anymore. I am also afraid that I will bring them with me when I go. Do you have any advice about a bug free move? As it is, I am throwing out my bed my dresser and my couches (that is the extent of my furniture anyway). And I am laundering every article of clothing and bedding and then moving it into storage. The other distressing aspect of my story is that I have become a social pariah. One of my friends just moved into a new apartment and will not allow me to set foot into her home until I am free of bed bugs. She also refuses to see me… well, anywhere. I think she would cross the street if she happened to run into me in Manhattan one day. This has caused a strain on our friendship because, in reality i think she is being paranoid…. is she? Will the eggs stick to my clothes even after i have laundered them? i don’t sleep in my apartment anymore anyway. I am living at my boyfriends while i move out of the infested apartment. Please help me. It sucks that my friends are treating me like I have a communicable disease. Maybe I should just get new friends. Thanks for any advice you can give!
Deirdre .

Dear Deirdre,
I sympathize with you.
You do need to worry about taking the pests with you. Bed bugs may be transported from place
to place on clothing or in luggage or furniture, and they can migrate from house to house.
Eggs are generally laid in cracks, not on people or clothing. The bugs are nocturnal and
during the day, they hide in cracks in the walls, under the baseboard, in the springs of a
bed, under the edge of a mattress, under wallpaper, and in similar places.
My advice is to fumigate before leaving, only take furniture that is irreplacable. Get a new
box spring and mattress, eliminate most of your clothing and only take freshly laundered
clothing to your new place. Good luck.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination