As bed bugs cannot fly, the must either crawl or be passively transported in clothing, or more probably in luggage, furniture, books and other objects used as harbourages. Their ability to withstand many months without feeding increases their chances of surviving such transportation and the insects’ very wide distribution throughout the world demonstrates their success.
Household’s, hotel’s etc. can be invaded by bed bugs, but it is likely that infestations will only become established in premises with low standards of hygiene. Bed bugs are often associated with poor, crowded and unhygienic conditions. Most bed bug infestations are to be found in domestic premises, usually in the bedrooms. Both juveniles and adults live similar lives, hiding away in cracks and crevices for most of the time and coming out at night, usually just before dawn, to feed on the blood of their sleeping hosts. Their hiding-places will be close to where their hosts sleep; in the bed frame or the mattress, in furniture, behind the skirting, behind the wallpaper – anywhere that affords a dark harbourage during the daylight hours for these nocturnal creatures.
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The insect infestations occur particularly in areas of high population density including hotels, hostels and holiday camps. In temperate climates bed bugs reach their peak numbers towards early autumn. At this time all stages in the lifecycle will be present. With the onset of colder weather their activity decreases, egg-laying ceases and development of the juvenile forms slows down. Bed bugs overwinter mainly as adults, since the eggs and nymphs are more susceptible to low temperatures and die out with the onset of winter, unless in adequately heated premises.
The bird-feeding bugs, such as the Martin Bug, will be found in the nests of their hosts and follow a similar lifestyle to the Common Bed Bug. The occasional problems of these species attacking humans are likely to stem from abandoned nests built near to or inside houses. Nests in lofts or under eaves would be a likely source if such an infestation were suspected.
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