Bed bugs are parasitic insects that prefer to feed on human blood. The term is used loosely to refer to any species of the genus Cimex, and even more loosely to refer to any member of the family Cimicidae (cimicids). The common bedbug, Cimex lectularius, is the most famous species of the family. The name of the "bed bug" is derived from the insect's preferred habitat of houses and especially beds or other areas where people sleep. Bed bugs are mainly active at night but are not exclusively nocturnal and are capable of feeding on their host without being noticed.
A number of adverse health effects may occur due to bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. Diagnosis involves both finding bed bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms.
Bed bugs have been known as human parasites for thousands of years. At a point in the early 1940s they were mostly eradicated in the developed world but since 1995 have recently increased in prevalence. Because infestation of human habitats has been on the increase, bed bug bites and related conditions have been on the rise as well.
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