Bed bugs only feed on blood. Under cool conditions, bed bugs have been able to survive up to a year without a meal. They prefer to be more active at night when the host is asleep. Found in cracks and crevices, including mattress seams, sheets, furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames. Often found in hotels, where they can travel from room to room and in visitors’ luggage or other personal belongings such as purses and briefcases.
Females can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live for more than 300 days.
There are many possible signs of bed bug activity. The first would be seeing the bugs. Adult bed bugs are about the shape and size of an apple seed. A second sign would be case skins. As the juvenile bugs grow, they shed their skins, discovery of which can indicate their presence. After feeding, bed bugs return to their harborage to hide. They eventually defecate in these areas, which appears as black to brown stains on porous surfaces or black to brown mounds on nonporous surfaces. Bites also may indicate bed bug activity, but further signs will need to be found, since other sources can cause red welts on the skin.