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the web of life in southern Africa

Cimicidae (Bedbug family)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Paraneoptera > Condylognatha > Hemiptera (bugs) > Heteroptera > Cimicomorpha > Cimicoidea

Cimicids are ectoparasites that feed on the blood of mammals and birds and are usually found in the vicinity of roosts and nests.  About 5 genera and 10 species have been recorded from southern Africa, including the Common Bedbug Cimex lectularius.


Two species feed off people: 

  • the Common Bedbug Cimex lectularius. This is the species most commonly encountered.
  • Cimex hemipterus. This species is found in tropical areas of the world and occurs in northern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

Only one African species of cimicid, Paracimex africanus, feeds on birds. All remaining cimicids in Africa are associated with bats.   


  • Usinger, R.L. (ed.) 1966. Monograph of Cimicidae. Entomological Society of America, Baltimore, 585 pages.