A bed bug is about the size of a grain of rice. This bed bug has recently had a feed.
The most active time for a bed bug is about one hour before sunrise - the peak time for feeding. However, they will try to feed at any time of day or night if they are hungry enough, and if the opportunity is there. They prefer nighttime and hate sunlight.
They will reach their host either by crawling straight towards them, or climbing a wall and then across the ceiling until they feel a heat wave - when they jump down onto their host. The bug is attracted to the host by both its warmth and the presence of C02 (carbon dioxide).
It pierces the skin of its host with two hollow tubes. One tube injects saliva which contains anesthetics, so that the host feels nothing, and anticoagulants, so that the blood flows out freely. The other tube sucks the blood in.
Feeding takes about five minutes, after which the bug returns to its hiding place. Bites are not noticeable by the host until at least a few minutes or some hours afterwards. Hosts, for example humans, will be aware of a bite after scratching it. Often bites may not be noticeable for several days.
Bed bugs will feed every five to ten days. They can, however, last for several months without feeding. If there is no food around them can become dormant for over a year. A well fed bed bug has a lifespan of about six to nine months.