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Bed bugs are small wingless insects and feed solely on warm blooded animals and humans. They appear oval in shape and are a deep brown colour. The female can lay up to 5 eggs in a day and up to 500 during a lifetime. They seek shelter in dark places such as cracks and crevices, in the beading of a mattress, in the bed frame itself or in the furniture nearest to the bed.
They usually are most active at night while the host is asleep. While feeding they inject saliva which can cause a lesion on the skin. People should resist the urge to scratch the infected area as this will intensify the infection. Bed bugs will readily survive for months without feeding. They can however "wander" through adjoining walls to get to another food source. Because of the fact that they easily get caught up in furniture, clothing or luggage it is quite easy to transport bed bugs from one premises to another.
Bed bugs have not commonly been linked to the transmission of any disease and are not regarded as a medical threat. Some individuals however, can get skin infections and scars from scratching bitten areas. They can also be a cause of stress, alarm and distress.