Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Bed Bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae: Cimex spp.)

  • Dini Miller
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_257

The Cimicidae are obligate blood feeding ecto-parasites of humans and other animals. There are 74 species of cimicids, including the human bed bugs, bat bugs, chicken bugs, swallow bugs, and pigeon bugs. Cimicids are organized into 22 genera and 6 subfamilies. Of the 22 genera, 12 have evolved to feed exclusively on bats while another 9 genera feed exclusively on birds. There is only one genus, Cimex, which contains species that feed on multiple hosts, typically specializing on birds, bats, or humans. Of all the cimicid species only three feed on humans. These include Leptocimex boueti Brumpt, a West African species that feeds on humans and bats; Cimex hemipterus F. (tropical bed bug), found in both the new and old world tropics feeding on humans and chickens; and Cimex lectularius L. (common bed bug), which is found all over the world and feeds on humans, chickens and bats.

Cimicids that feed on humans get their common name “bed bugs” from their long history of harboring in human...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dini Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Virginia Tech UniversityBlacksburgUSA