The human bed bug and its relatives from a small group of bloodsucking insects (family Cimicidae). Although the bed bug is the best know species of this group, most problems occur with the closely related bat bugs. Swallow bugs can be serious problems where swallow nests are attached to dwellings. Poultry bugs associated with poulty houses, are also occasionally encountered.
The bite of these bugs often is painless, but a toxic saliva injected during feeding will late cause severe itching and a large inflamed area often called a weal.
Bat bugs and bed bugs have not been demonstrated to transmit any human diseases.
Populations of bat bugs found in homes primarily develop on bats, birds, or small mammals that have nested in or near the building. When the animal hosts leave or die, the bat bugs invade living areas through cracks and crevices. Typically, bat bugs infestations originate from animal populations established in attics.
Bed bugs, that can develop on humans, are primarily moved from one location to the next via infested furniture and bedding. Bed bugs and bat bugs also may come from other infested home by way of water pipes, gutters, through windows, along walls, ect. Migrations may occur if a house is vacated and their food supply is cut off.
Bat bugs and bed bugs are characterized by a short broad head, broadly attached to the prothorax and an oval body. The body as a whole is broad and flat.
The adults are about 1/4 to 3/8 inch long, brown and wingless. After taking a blood meal, they become bloated and may change size and shapes.
Female bed bugs lay 1-5 eggs per day and can lay up to 541 eggs for a lifetime. Developmental time (egg to adult) takes 21 days at 86°F to 120 days at 65°F.
Bat bugs can be distinguished by the long hairs on the thorax, these fringe hairs are longer than or equal to the width of the eye.
CONTROL STEPS TO HELP YOU WITH BED AND BAT BUGS
Bat bugs: Exclusion and removal of bats and other hosts of the insects in the home also should be made to more permanently remove sources of bat bugs. This last step should be coordinated with insecticide treatment, since an increased movement of bat bugs into the living area may occur after removal of the animals.
Bed bugs: Sanitation should be done; this will include washing clothing and bedding in hot water. Mechanical removal with a vacuum around headboards, seams of mattress, box spring, dressers, night stands, bed frame and casters. Steam cleaning of seams, baseboards, cracks and crevices will also help. Keep in mind that you need a temperature of 140°F for 10 minutes to kill all stages of bed bugs.