DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Bed bug head and upper thorax. Note the sucking proboscis (Cimex lectularius). The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is a human pest and found in temperate climates throughout the world and has been known since ancient times. A regular diet of blood is necessary for bed bugs to reach maturity. Bed bugs are generally active only at night, with a peak attack period about an hour before dawn but it may feed at other times of day. Attracted by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide, the bug pierces the skin of its host with two hollow tubes. With one tube it injects its saliva, which contains anticoagulants and anaesthetics, while with the other it withdraws the blood of its host. Magnification: x8 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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