Actually, they aren't that recent, we've had them for over 6 years. Just this summer, though, they became even more numerous. While they had been limited in their activity this last winter and spring, with the advent of warm weather in June, they became a continual presence in our bed.
The Bed Bugs are a semi-nocturnal animal, with the height of their activity occurring during the early morning hours. However, the larval stage does not heed the clock or the sun-- it can be active at any time of the day or night, and is found in the bed even during strong daylight sunshine. Once they metamorphose into larger bugs, they have a strong aversion to the bed during the daylight hours, especially in the early afternoon.
There seem to be distinct sub-species among the Bed Bugs. The largest bug is long and slender, with distinctive red coloring at the head. A wily bug, it uses its knowledge of the bed's occupants to plan an onslaught where it is most effective. Knowing that disturbing the larva often results in complete upheaval in the bed, it generally avoids inserting itself noisily. Despite its delicacy in this manner, its large size contributes mightily to the disturbance of sleep.
Not all Bed Bugs use their own muscles to insinuate themselves into the bed. There is a smaller species of bedbug with shorter, more yellow coloring, that uses the muscles of the bed's occupants to crawl into the bed. They achieve this by making Bambi eyes and plaintive moans, thus appealing to the bed's occupants maternal and paternal instincts. Once in the bed, this particular Bed Bug uses its muscles wildly, though, in an effort to disturb sleep. It's arrival in the bed is often a signal for the larva to awaken and begin its own movements.
There are few bugs as persistent as the Curly-Headed Short Bed Bug. Although lacking many of the muscles necessary for travel into the bed, this bug does not rest until it is in the bed. Using tentacles, it grabs blankets, occupant limbs, nightstands, and any other hanging items to pull itself into the bed. By far the most active of the Bed Bugs, this bug combines movement and noise to make sure that bed occupants are not able to sleep.
The larva stage differs from the other stages in its lack of distinctive coloring. It is quite small, but is whiter and fuller-proportioned than the other stages. Its movements lack a broad range of motion, but are consistent and disturbing. This bug inflicts the most damage on the bed hosts, even to the point of drinking fluids from the host's body! Needless to say, this stage is quite exhausting to the bed's occupants.
Bed Bugs have a curious affect on the bed's temperature. While they rarely exceed a core body temperature of 98.6° F, their arrival in the bed frequently causes the ambient temperature of the bed to rise 493°F. Coupled with their ability to seal off ventilation routes, this can disturb the bed occupants quite mightily, especially in warm summer months.
Despite the obvious pestilential qualities of these Bed Bugs, no one can deny their natural beauty. Even an amateur naturalist, foiled by their rapid movement, is able to obtain breath-taking pictures of these Bed Bugs.
A typical blurry photo of a Bed Bug in motion. They spend many hours of the day constructing stick houses, although they apparently never inhabit the houses. The debris from this construction is another reason that they are categorized as a household pest.
Bed Bugs frequently huddle in clumps, the older bugs protecting the larva. While not a bed, upholstered recliner chairs exert a strange fascination on them, and they will frequently be observed, swarming over one another on recliners, emitting high pitched squeals. A casual observer finds it hard to tell where one Bed Bug leaves off and another begins in this situation!
A rare, fully focused picture of a Curly-Headed Short Bed Bug. One of the most striking examples of its kind, it has large eyes with huge sparkles, and a mouth that rarely stops moving.
I hope this description of some of the characteristics and behaviors of Bed Bugs will help any one living through their own infestation!