Bed bugs are the bane of any home or business, and it’s important you get any infestation identified and dealt with quickly. These small creatures quickly make sleeping and resting a nightmare, and their itchy bites can be a huge distraction.
Although bed bugs will likely be around for millennia, there’s no reason why you have to give them free accommodation.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are little insects that feed on blood. To do that, they must feed on people while they’re sleeping, which is why they’re associated with bedding. They likely started feeding on animals with nests or permanent resting places, such as bats and birds, but they quickly discovered a liking for human blood. Typically, they can range from 1/16 of an inch to 3/16 of an inch, and because they’re oval and brownish, they may initially look a little bit like an apple seed.
Bed bugs don’t spread disease, but they are unpleasant due to the itchy bites. They can survive for up to a year without feeding.
Other Crawling Pests
Who loves crawling insects? While there are many who will happily keep some as pets, very few people want them crawling around in their homes. So what do you do if you think you have some sort of infestation? The key is species identification.
Types of Crawling Insect Species
While not all of these are technically insects, they are all unwanted, so we’ve broken it down for you.
These include spiders, ticks and scorpions. Arachnids have eight legs (barring accidents) but they do not have antennae. Scorpions can be identified by their tail and pincers, technically called “grasping pedipalps,” whereas spiders lack these features. Spiders lay eggs, while scorpions generally give birth to live young.
Termites and ants
Although these two groups look similar, they are actually unrelated. Termites are members of the cockroach family, whereas ants are closely related to wasps and bees. You can tell the difference by looking at their waists. Termites have a thick waist and are white, and their antennae are straight. Ants come in a huge range of colors, their antennae are bent, and they have highly defined waists that taper down to almost nothing. A termite infestation is an immediate problem that needs to be dealt with. An ant problem is an annoyance, but they won’t generally cause major damage.
Fleas and lice
These are an example of convergent evolution, where two relatively unrelated species develop similar techniques for survival. Fleas are closely related to flies (they are wingless flies), whereas lice have their own subsection of Insecta. Both live on animals (and sometimes humans), but fleas require the host to have a set place to sleep (as part of the life cycle occurs in the bedding), whereas lice stay on the host.
Millipedes and centipedes
These are both members of Myriapoda (literally, many legs — scientists aren’t always very imaginative), and they are more closely related to crabs than they are insects. You can identify them by their many legs — the minimum they will have is 10, and the maximum is around 750. Centipedes have one pair of legs per segment; millipedes have two pairs of legs per segment.
There are hundreds of cockroach species, but four are particularly well-known as pests. They have broad, flattened bodies and a tough exoskeleton, and their antennae are flexible. They inhabit dark areas.