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Bed Bugs

Before looking for bed bug signs – do you know what bed bugs are?

Bed Bug (Latin -Cimex lectularius) – This bloodsucking ectoparasite attacks mammals, birds, and humans. Fully grown bedbugs have a length, when engorged, of 4-7 mm and a yellow to reddish brown appearance. When gorged, they reach 9 mm in length; in such cases the abdomen becomes increasingly black. While the bedbug hides during the day, at night it goes out in search of a host to find nourishment. At 18 – 22°C room temperature, the fully-grown animal sucks every 3 – 7 days for 3 to 20 minutes each time. At ideal temperatures and with sufficient nourishment, a bedbug has a lifespan of up to 18 months. A female lays up to 400 eggs at an average rate of 3 per day.

How do bedbugs multiply?

A female bed bug lays between 200 and 500 eggs within its life cycle. On average, several eggs are laid per day, and about 15 to 25 eggs per week. After mating and/or fertilisation of the eggs, the eggs are deposited in less than 24 hours. As a rule, the fertilised eggs are deposited in the usual hiding places of the bed bug, such as cracks and joints. In ideal environmental conditions (22 °C room temperature, not less than 13 °C, not more than 36 °C), the larvae hatch after 2 weeks and develop to a mature specimen in another 8 weeks, which then multiplies again. The development into the adult insect happens over 5 stages. In each case the larva needs a blood meal in order to reach the next development stage.

How to recognise bed bugs?

Looking for bed bug signs – Despite their small size, bedbugs are visible to the naked eye. When they have fasted, mature specimens have a flat, oval body with tiny, bristle-like hairs, a pair of thin four-membered antennae, and a length of approx. 4 – 8 mm. They are almost transparent in appearance. They also have a proboscis which is folded under the belly as well as stunted forewings on the head. Overall, they give the impression of having six legs. After feeding, i.e. when they are full of blood, they appear light yellow and/or light brown to reddish brown and their length grows to about 9 mm. The rear part of the parasite has an increasingly blackish colour.


  • Sweet unpleasant smell – These are further distinguishing features of an infestation of bedbugs. The overall impression of a room is also very important. If you sense an intense sweetish smell, it is very likely that you will have a bedbug attack. The smell is caused by a gland messenger that bedbugs release as alarm pheromone.
  • Droppings – The parasite leaves droppings, which are recognisable as small black spots (ink-like) or dark red spots. Such stains can be seen on bedding and/or the mattress, on the bed frame or behind electrical sockets, joints and everywhere where they live.
  • Blood stains – Small red blood marks that develop when biting into the human skin, can also be evidence of the presence of bedbugs.
  • Skin of cocoons – In the moulting process, the insects strip cocoon skins, so-called exuviae. These very light-coloured shed skins have the shape of the pest and are found in their hiding places.
  • Dead bed bugs – If you discover dead animals, you should definitely arrange for a professional to look for the possible presence of live animals.

Classic places where Bed Bugs bite

Once the ectoparasites have identified their host, they settle on their skin and begin their meal. They push their proboscis through the human skin to get to small blood vessels. Bedbug bites usually show up in one place or in a row next to each other, the so-called “bedbug line”. Reasons for the different bite patterns may be that the parasites pull their proboscis out of the skin when their host moves and continue to suck blood at a location next to it or that several bed bugs simultaneously suck blood side by side. Bedbug bites are most likely to appear on exposed body parts: Face, neck, arms, legs, feet and back.