Is There Another Name for Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts. Although they were especially common in the past, with improvements in hygiene the presence of bed bugs in the United States has lessened, especially since the period of time around World War II. These bugs, which have been in existence since ancient times, are also known by other names.

Early Names

"Bed bug" is probably the most common name that these insects are known by, especially in the United States. However, they do have other common names, since humans first encountered them years ago. Ancient Romans called them "cimex," which means bug. Greeks called them "coris," which means "to bite." The English called the insects simply "bugs." Early Spanish peoples called the bed bug "chinche," a name which has been handed down to present Spanish people, who refer to the insect as "bug of the bed."

Common Names

Other names for the insect that have been used through time include bed louse, wall louse, night riders, wallpaper flounder, red coats and crimson ramblers. Additional common monikers that people have used for bed bugs have included "bat bugs" and "bird bugs," and some have even used the name "mahogany flats," obviously in reference to the flat bodies that bed bugs have.

Scientific Name

Bed bugs belong to the family of "Cimicidae." There are actually different types of bed bugs, but the most common of these insects, which adapt to human environments, are known by the scientific name of "Cimex lectarius." Other species of bed bugs, such as those that swarm around bats and poultry, are known as "Cimex hemipterus." South America, West Africa and other tropical regions are areas in which the species known as "Leptocimex boueti" is found.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

True to their name, bed bugs often live where humans sleep, making their homes in bedding, mattresses, box springs and areas of bed frames. Their tiny sizes allow them to sneak into the cracks and tiny gaps of the bed components. They can also hide in carpet, other furniture, clothing and drapery. The insects are often transported to previously uninfested areas by hiding in the luggage of travelers, arriving from different countries.