Bed bugs likely get their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. They are found in virtually every place people tend to gather, including residences, hotels, schools, offices, retail stores and even public transportation.
Color: Unfed adults are mahogany; engorged
bed bugs are red-brown. Nymphs are nearly colorless.
Shape: Flat, broad oval when unfed; swollen and elongated when fed.
Size: Adults are 1/4 inch long. Nymphs range from 1.3 mm to 4-5 mm.
Region: Found throughout U.S.
Bed bugs like to travel and are good hitchhikers. They will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near their food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards and in cracks, crevices, and folded areas of beds, bedding and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs can also hide in electrical switch plates, picture frames, wallpaper and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, or other shelter. Bed bugs usually come out at night for a blood meal. However, they are opportunistic insects and can take a blood meal during the day, especially in heavily-infested areas. Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days. During this time in the bed bug life cycle, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs. Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.
So where do bed bugs live? Bed Bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices. Beg bugs are also known to survive in temporary or alternative habitats, such as backpacks and under the seats in cars, busses and trains.
Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.
Fleas live by consuming the blood of their hosts. They feed on many different animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, ferrets, rats, mice, and birds. Fleas will feed on humans when other hosts are not available or there is a heavy infestation. Their strong claws prevent them from being dislodged. Fleas use their mouthpiece for piercing skin and sucking blood, even though they lack wings they will use their hind legs for jumping up to 50 times their body length in distance. They have the ability to jump vertically up to 7 in. and horizontally up to 13 in., making the flea one of the best jumpers of all known animals.
Ticks have a two year life cycle in which they will have three blood meals. The female tick will latch onto a host and drink its blood from anywhere to four to five days by inserting their mouthpieces into the skin. Even though deer are the preferred host ticks have also been known to feed on rodents and will readily attack humans and pets. Male ticks attach, but do not feed or become engorged, they stay the same adult size. Once a tick reaches the nymph stage it is ready to feed just like the female. The ticks that feed transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis, the male tick that does not feed will not transmit disease. If the tick is carrying disease agents from its first feeding in the larval stage, it can transmit them during this second feeding.
Fire Ants nest in the soil, often near moist areas. The sting of a fire ant swells into a bump, causing pain and irritation, especially when stung in the same place several times. The bump when left alone will go away on its own within a couple days but it can become infected if scratched.
Carpenter Ants build their nests outdoors seeking wood sources like tree stumps, firewood or landscaping. They mainly attack wood that is or has been wet, decayed and damaged by mold but is not uncommon for them to build paths through dry, clean, undamaged wood as well. Carpenter ant bites may break the skin, leaving big bite marks, resembling pea-sized red blemishes taking just over a week to disappear completely. The same acid found in bee stings, the carpenter ant can inject into the wound during a bite, making the pain very painful. Although the bite is very painful, the stings do not contain venom or transmit diseases.
Argentine Ants prefer moist environments near food sources. They do not normally sting or bite as they do not have stringers, although they can when provoked. They tend to crawl over garbage, dead animals, sewage, or anywhere with a food source making this dangerous as it poses threat for contamination, germs, or even diseases. Argentine ant colonies have multiple queens and will sometimes join together with other colonies to create one large colony, thus an infestation.
Odorous Ants can live almost anywhere, in a variety of conditions. The odorous ant will nest in soil beneath stones, boards, logs, wall voids, water pipes, heaters, under sinks, behind cabinets and beneath the floor. Odorous house ants do not sting or bite but if squished they can be very smelly. The queens in the odorous ant colony are capable of producing thousands of workers and hundreds of reproductive ants making them highly reproductive.
Pavement Ants got their name due to their tendency to burrow under and leave mounds of dirt on top pavement to make their homes. They can nest under stones, along curbs, in cracks of pavement or foundation, along sidewalks, driveways, patios, inside walls and even under flooring. Although pavement ants can bite and sting, they normally will not. If stung it may leave a small red mark on your arm and can easily be eased by icing the area.