The insects that are commonly referred to as “bed bugs” belong to the Cimex genus of insect. While the Cimex genus includes 91 species worldwide, only 2 species from this genus feed on human blood. Unfortunately, both of these species can be found in the United States. Another closely related insect species that occasionally feeds on human blood, L. boueti, is also considered a “bed bug,” but this species’ habitat is limited to Africa and South America. C. lectularius is referred to as the “common bed bug,” and like its name suggests, this species is distributed all over the world, and is responsible for the vast majority of infestations in the United States and Europe. C. hemipterus is found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, and they are aptly referred to as “tropical bed bugs.” The tropical bed bug can be found in the US, but populations are limited to Florida. However, isolated infestations of tropical bed bugs have been documented in Georgia and other southeastern states.
Both the common and the tropical bed bug species prefer to dwell on mattresses, bedding, furniture textiles, carpeting, and even behind wallpaper. Not only do these two species demonstrate virtually identical nesting and foraging behaviors, but their appearance is nearly identical as well. Common bed bugs are responsible for most infestations in the state of Florida, but if tropical bed bugs happen to infest a Florida home, there is a good chance that the specimens would be misidentified as common bed bugs. Microscopic examination and a knowledge of entomology is necessary to identify a bed bug species, and since tropical bed bugs have only been known inhabitants of Florida for a few years, it is hard to tell just how widely distributed tropical bed bugs have become in the state and beyond. Despite this, researchers have gained much knowledge during the last decade about how these two species differ when it comes to pest control tactics, as one pest control method may successfully address common bed bug infestations, while failing to successfully address tropical bed bug infestations, and vice versa. In any case, modern pest control firms possess the tools necessary to eradicate bed bugs from homes.
Do you believe the rate of tropical bed bug infestations are on the rise in Florida?