Bed bugs feed only on blood, and the adult female bed bug must have a blood meal from a warm blooded animal before she begins to lay her eggs. The species of bed bug that attacks humans is named The Common Bed Bug – Cimex lectularius – and also is known as the wall louse, house bug, mahogany flat, red coat, and crimson rambler. You can see the confusion if only common names are used and why a “scientific” name is assigned for each species of organism in the world. The female bed bug gets her quota of blood by sticking her piercing-sucking mouthparts into a human being and sucking up the desired quantity of blood. This takes about ten minutes. She then begins to lay her eggs. She produces a quick-drying glue-like substance that she will use to stick her eggs to the surface upon which she has chosen to lay them. She will produce only one to six eggs each day and if she is able to replenish her supply of blood food at intervals can be capable of laying up to 200 eggs in her lifetime.
The eggs are white in color, elongated in shape, and about 1 millimeter long, and that is not very big. The eggs take a week or longer to hatch and the colder the temperature the longer it will take, the warmer the temperature the sooner they will hatch. Temperatures up to that of a human body are ideal – around 98 degrees, and if the temperature rises much above that the eggs may not hatch at all. In fact, we can use temperature as a very effective weapon against bed bugs, and at 122 degrees Fahrenheit we can kill all stages of these insects. The nymph that hatches from the egg – the first instar nymph – is almost colorless and is extremely HUNGRY. At this very first point it looks like a bedbug, and it certainly can say with all honesty “I know who my mother is....because I look like her”.
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