Bed bugs belong to the Cimicidae family which in the larger scale of things belongs to an order of insect species known as Hemiptera – “true bugs” which have mouth parts capable of piercing and sucking. They are blood sucking ectoparasites which prey on warm blooded mammals i.e. humans, domestic animals etc. and also birds.

Bed bugs or Cimex lectularius as they are known in the scientific world are flat, oval shaped and reddish brown in color. They have six legs and measure between 5-7mm. Once a female bed bug has laid her fertilized eggs – usually in well hidden spots like along the base of headboards or in cracks and crevices in walls, floors, baseboards or can even be found in furniture – the young will emerge within 4 to 5 days.

Our Vampire friends are nocturnal creatures and will in most cases attack their victims at night when they go in search of prey. They are usually most active just before dawn. However, cases have been reported of daytime attacks particularly where bed bug infestations are present in public areas. They are attracted to body heat, sweat and the carbon dioxide we exhale so finding their way to your bed is not a problem!

When bed bugs bite they directly insert their mouthparts into the skin at the same time injecting an anticoagulant and anesthetic ensuring they can have their meal without the victim waking up – feeding can take anything from 3 to 15 minutes.

Bite marks can appear on any part of the body but often on parts which have been exposed such as arms, legs, neck and face. The bites will induce different skin reactions in different people. Most people will suffer a minor allergic reaction to the saliva injected into the skin by the bug not the actual bite itself, while others may have no skin reactions at all. For a few very unfortunate people bite reactions can be severe and will require urgent medical attention.

There is usually a delay between actually being bitten and the subsequent allergic reaction appearing – anything up to 9 days! However, this time lapse will decrease with repeated bites from the bugs in your home, as continual bites may sensitize individuals thus leading to a more pronounced allergic reaction.

The biggest problem is that quite often a patient presenting with these symptoms to a doctor without checking their home etc. for signs of bed bugs are often misdiagnosed, with their bite reactions passed off as scabies or some other insect bite. So for proper diagnosis patient education is vital.

Bites from bed bugs do not usually require medical treatment. The great annoyance for most is the unbelievable itching, causing them to scratch uncontrollably but, this is not a good idea and should be avoided if at all possible as it greatly increases the risk of a secondary bacterial infection which will most likely need medical attention.

There are a few ways to treat bed bug bites :

1. Antihistamines – These will give relief from the incessant itching but will not get rid of the bites.

2. Systemic Corticosteroids – This treatment will again give relief from the itching and burning of bed bug bites but will do little for the rash or welts on the skin.

3. Topical corticosteroids – the best known of these is hydrocortisone which will ease itching and help the bites heal a little.

The best treatment of bed bug bites is to eradicate any bed bug problem in your home quickly. Dealing with infestations is not an easy task but, it is better than constantly dealing with bites from these blood sucking pests. You can hire a pest control in Brisbane to treat bed bugs.

Author's Bio: 

Adler Conway lives in Melbourne and work full time as a freelance writer and editor. He is passionate about Cleaning Services and writes blogs on various cleaning services.