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Bedbugs are small, oval insects that feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. They often infest beds in unhygienic homes and hotels and if you find yourself in one of these establishments they can cling to your body and be transmitted to your own bed once you return home. Bed bugs are most active at night and will bite exposed skin while you are sleeping. Small, flat or raised bumps on the skin are the most common signs of a bed bug bite.
Bed bug infestations are primarily the result of two species of insects from genus Cimex: Cimex lectularius (the common bed bug) and Cimex hemipterus (the tropical bed bug). These insects feed exclusively on blood and, at any stage of development, may survive up to 70 days without feeding. Adult Cimex are light brown to reddish-brown, flat, oval, and have no hind wings. The front wings are vestigial and reduced to pad-like structures. Adults grow to 4–5 mm (0.16–0.20 in) long and 1.5–3 mm (0.059–0.118 in) wide. Female common bed bugs can lay 1–10 eggs per day and 200–500 eggs in their lifetime, whereas female tropical bed bugs can lay about 50 eggs in their lifetime.
The most common skin findings associated with bed bugs are pruritic, maculopapular, erythematous lesions. Each lesion is about 2–5 mm but may be as large as 2 cm in diameter and there may or may not be the presence of a central punctum. Bites are usually present on areas of exposed skin, especially exposed areas not covered by sheets or blankets, such as arms, legs, feet, face or neck. Individual responses to bites vary, ranging from no visible effect (in about 20–70%), to small flat (macular) spots, to the formation of prominent blisters (wheals and bullae) along with intense itching that may last several days.
Treatment is directed towards the symptoms. Eliminating bed bugs from the home is often difficult, partly because bed bugs can survive up to 70 days without feeding. Repeated treatments of a home may be required. These treatments may include heating the room to 50 °C (122 °F) for more than 90 minutes, frequent vacuuming, washing clothing at high temperatures, and the use of pest control specialist to administer various pesticides.