chapter  17
20 Pages

Bed Bugs (Cimicidae)

All members of the family are temporary ectoparasites on a limited array of warm-blooded vertebrates: bats, people, and birds that roost together. The bugs live separately from their hosts, moving to them only to feed; other aspects of the bugs’ lives are spent in cracks and crevices in the walls of caves or birdhouses or humans’ rooms. All stages take vertebrate blood as their only food. The bugs may accumulate in large numbers and as a result the loss of blood may be serious; this is the chief, perhaps the only, damage done.