What are Bed Bugs?

Bed Bugs are tiny, wingless insects whose bites do not usually hurt, but which can cause an itchy skin reaction.

They are parasites, as they survive by sucking the blood of humans and some other animals. The most common Bed Bugs that affect humans are Cimex lectularis (in mild or moderate climates) and Cimex hemipterus (mainly in Tropical climates). They are reddish-brown in colour and range in size from 1 to 7 millimetres (from 1/25 to over a 1/4 inch). They can live for several months without feeding on blood.

Bed Bugs move slowly. They are attracted from their hiding places by body heat and carbon dioxide produced by people. They bite any exposed area of skin, usually during sleep. Before feeding, Bed Bugs are flattened and reddish-brown in colour. But after a blood meal, they become less flattened and redder. A feeding is completed in five to ten minutes, then they return to their hiding places.

A plague of global proportions

Bed bug infestations have become more common in the developed world, with great prominence in recent years, linked to mass tourism. They hide in cracks and crevices in mattresses and other structures such as bed frames, pillows and walls and are often carried in luggage. In case of infestation, Bed Bug droppings or blood can be seen on bedding or behind wallpapers. In underdeveloped regions, Bed Bugs hide in structures such as mud houses and thatched roofs.

Symptoms of Bed Bug infestation

Bed Bug bite marks appear on the skin from a few hours to ten days after the bite. They can look like any of the following:


  • Only tiny holes


  • Flat, purplish patches


  • Red patches, solid raised bumps or hives (welts), often itchy and with a tiny hole in the centre.



The bites are painless, but may itch in some people. They may appear in linear patterns or may be seen clustered together. Older adults develop symptoms less frequently than younger people. The bite marks disappear after about a week. If people scratch the bite site, there is a risk of developing an infection.

How to act

Firstly, it is recommended to get rid of infested clothes and mattresses. The effective bed bug treatment protocol used by Pragalgarve – Desinfestações, Lda. complies with the most up-to-date standards. It is divided into two stages: 1. applying steam heated to 180º, which eliminates the eggs, nymphs and also adult Bed Bugs; 2. spraying the affected area with an effective pyrethroid insecticide. Complete eradication of the pest is guaranteed.