Further you will learn:
- What feed on bedbugs and whether the only source of their food is blood;
- How many bed bugs are able to live without blood and if they die, if they leave the apartment for several months;
- Do bedbugs of domestic animals (cats, dogs) bite and why chicken coops sometimes just swarm with these parasites;
- And also find out whether bed bugs live in the wild and can not be accidentally picked up somewhere ...
Bites bed bugs - a kind of paradox of modern civilization. These parasites, which pestered people even in stone caves, today easily adapt to the conditions of apartments with European-quality renovation and continue to successfully reproduce, despite all the achievements of the chemical industry that produces insecticides.
A huge number of flats and houses in Russia, the United States, Britain, China, in developed and developing countries are teeming with bedbugs (especially the problem is in small hostels, through which a significant flow of people of medium and low incomes passes).
But why is it so difficult to fight these bloodsuckers? After all, it would seem that bed bugs feed on a man's blood, which means that it's enough to leave the apartment for a couple of weeks, that's all! Parasites will die, so to speak, starving - just for lack of a food source.
However, practice shows, even if you leave the bug-infested room for six months, then often not the entire population of parasites perishes: the surviving individuals again start to bite people and actively multiply.
But how does it work? What bedbugs have been eating all these months, and are they really eating only the blood of a person? Do they fall into suspended animation? Let's understand together ...
Diet and method of feeding bed bugs
The only food of the bed bug is really only the blood of mammals. As with other species of bedbugs (and there are more than 40 000 species in nature), the parasites of the jaws have turned into an elongated proboscis with which the insect pierces the human skin, gets to the blood vessel and sucks the blood to saturation.
It is interesting
Generally speaking, what feeds bed bugs well shines through the translucent walls of their young larvae: their bodies appear scarlet from the blood drunk (see the examples on the photos below).
If you catch several insects of varying degrees of saturation, it is easy to see that hungry adults have a flat brown body, and hungry larvae are light brown or light yellow. When saturated, parasites become dark red, their bodies swell, filling with fresh blood.
At the same time, in their "dining habits" blood-sucking bugs are quite original. So, for example, they are not satisfied with sucking blood from one wound only for one feeding. They in most cases make several punctures along one blood vessel (or even without binding to it).
Due to this feature, the bites of bed bugs are prominently distinguished among the bites of other human parasites: traces of them usually merge into chains at intervals of 1-2 centimeters. A kind of track is formed from bites (so if you find such tracks on your body, then you should not ascribe their allergies, as often unprepared people do when they first get to know the bugs).
In addition, bed bugs bite only for the hairless parts of the body. Because of its wide flat belly, these bloodsucking parasites are difficult to break through the scalp to the skin of a person, so they almost never bite the head and groin.
On a note
Common places bites bugs - buttocks, hips, sides, stomach, back, arms, neck and face. If a person sleeps in his underwear, parasites do not climb under him and bite only the open parts of the body.
The Bedbug is the bloodsucker of the night. On his prey, he prefers to attack in the interval from two o'clock in the morning until five in the morning, when the person is most soundly asleep. Bites are almost painless, but saliva secreted by the parasite, after some time after getting into the skin tissue, starts to cause itching. Accordingly, it is usually possible to catch a parasite directly at the moment of a bite only with a sensitive dream or with an accidental awakening at night.
A characteristic feature - after a night feeding bloodsuckers on a white sheet, small blood stains are often left.
It is interesting
Other types of bugs, living in nature, can pierce the stems and fruits of plants, sucking out their juices. Some attack arthropods, and large bugs - even on fish and frogs, sucking out almost all the insides of their victims. However, most bedbugs are vegetarians, and they do not attack a person.
Bed bugs today live almost exclusively in a person's dwelling or next to him, but in nature they are found only in very specific places - for example, in the nests of bats.
How long can bedbugs live without blood?
In general, it can be said that bedbugs live without food for a long time. One or two months of hunger strike for them are practically harmless and do not require even a confusion and some inhibition of physiological processes.
If the source of food near the blood-sucking bug is not too long, then it can fall into an anabiosis-like state, in which the biochemical processes in its body are strongly slowed down. In such a peculiar hibernation, an insect can spend up to a year, remaining alive.
There are cases when tenants of apartments wrapped up with bedraggled mattresses with polyethylene film in the hope that parasites will have nothing to eat and they will die without blood in a couple of months. However, even after half a year of keeping the mattress wrapped in a film, the bugs in it still remained alive.
On a note
In comfortable conditions, the life span of a bed bug is about 12-14 months. If there is hibernation in the life cycle, then this period increases.
It is useful to consider the following nuances:
- adult bugs live without food for longer than larvae;
- without obtaining fresh blood, the female can not postpone another portion of eggs, so the reproduction of parasites practically stops;
- without obtaining blood, the larva is not able to shed, its development slows down sharply.
It is interesting
Normally the bed bug feeds every 5-6 days, and in between it digests the drunk blood. Larvae can eat more often, but with each feeding they make less bites and suck less blood than an adult.
Even if several dozen bedbugs live in the house, a person can not pay attention to their bites for a long time. Often, parasites bite only one person in the family, virtually without touching the rest of the tenants.
"Recently we rented an apartment, without furniture. Furniture all new bought, made repairs. A month later, she began to find signs of bites on the baby. At first I thought that it was an allergy, because I and my husband did not have anything at all. Then I found the bedbugs right in the nursery bed. Where did they come from? The apartment was empty for a year, nobody lived there. Neighbors look at me like a madman, they say that everything is clean ... "
Can bugs suck the blood of pets?
It is generally accepted that bed bugs do not bite pets: cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rats, etc. However, in reality, it's not so simple.
In certain situations (critical for survival, that is, when there is absolutely no other food), blood-sucking bugs can also bite domestic animals. It is important that for bugs the potential victim is all mammals and birds: parasites can, if necessary, feed on blood of pigeons in attics and blood of rats - in basements.
However, even on rats, bloodsuckers are much more difficult to eat than on humans - the presence of a dense wool cover creates difficulties for access to the surface of the skin. About dogs and cats, and here it is not necessary - because of the difficulties with access to the skin, bedbugs practically do not touch these animals.
Even if people do not live in the apartment for a long time, but pets are present, parasites gradually leave the premises, if there is such a possibility (usually through cracks and ventilation ducts - to neighboring apartments).
"Tidbit" for bedbugs is domestic chickens, with their thin skin and areas without feathers in the eye and beak. That's why chicken coops are infected very often: bed bugs feed on the blood of a bird with the same pleasure as the blood of a person. Often in the countryside, chicken coops from bugs are even more common than residential houses - bedbugs here multiply rapidly.
Bed bugs and their diet in nature
In general, the number of bed bugs living in nature today is much less than the aggregate number of their housing populations.
Sometimes wild populations of bed bugs are found in caves, in which the same temperature is maintained year round: parasites feed on the blood of bats here. Bats do not have wool on the wings, and under the thin skin there are easily accessible blood vessels, which provides the bugs with practically ideal conditions for nutrition.
In some places in nature, the bugs constantly inhabit the burrows of rodents and the nests of colonial birds. But it is, you can say, the fragments of their main population.
It is interesting
Scientists believe that it was in caves in prehistoric time that bedbugs first rasprobovali human blood and switched to food by it. Since then, these parasites have become regular companions of man, and their populations in caves are considered to be original conservatives.
Today, in addition to bed bugs, some species of predator bugs parasitize on bats. On the video below you can see how this food takes place.