What is a bed bug?
The bed bug, Cimex lectularius, is a small but visible insect about the size of an apple seed that exclusively feeds on blood. The adult is approximately ¼ inch in length, brownish in color with an oval, flattened body. Eggs hatch within 10 days and mature into adults within 2 to 4 months. They pass through 5 nymphal instars before reaching adulthood, taking blood meals during each stage (see image to the right).
Bed bugs can live for over a year and, under optimal conditions, adults may feed every few days. Bed bugs will feed on a variety of animals, but prefer humans. They are most active at night often biting people while they sleep, but may feed at any time.