What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are oval, wingless insects that reach about ¼ inch in length. They have flat bodies that are reddish-brown in color. They may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. They do not develop wings and cannot fly. Bed bugs can survive for many months without feeding. Click Here! for a bed bugs fact sheet.
Where are bed bugs found?
Bed bugs can live in any area of the home and can reside in tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses, box springs, and bed frames.
Other sites where bed bugs often reside include curtains, the corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.
Bed bugs easily hitchhike in secondhand furniture, travelers’ luggage, clothing, mattresses, and bedding. In multi-unit housing, eradication can be more difficult if bed bug infestations are not adequately treated. Bed bug infestations occur in all 50 states.
What are the symptoms of bed bug bites?
Fortunately, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease. However, they do bite and suck blood from humans, and can affect mental health in the form of anxiety, paranoia, or loss of sleep. The bed bug bite resembles those of many other kinds of blood feeding insects such as mosquitoes and fleas. Reactions vary and can include itching and swelling. If scratched, the bite areas can become inflamed or infected.
Bed bugs are most active at night, especially between the hours of midnight and 3:00 AM. They bite exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. Bed bug bites may go unnoticed or be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other skin conditions.
Bed bugs also leave characteristic dark brown or reddish fecal spots on bed linens, mattresses or walls near the bed. They have glands that emit an odor that has been described as musty raspberry or coriander-like that may be noticeable in heavy infestations.
Should you seek medical advice?
Bites affect individuals differently based on sensitivity levels. Speak to your doctor about antiseptic creams or lotions and/or antihistamines. If you experience allergic reactions or severe skin reactions to your bed bug bites, contact your doctor about treatment.
Are bed bugs a public health issue?
Although, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, they have a large (and potentially severe) impact on our social, mental, emotional, and physical health. In 2009, the CDC, USDA, and EPA jointly declared bed bugs a public health pest, recognizing the significant health impact of the pest.
How do I get rid of bed bugs?
Getting rid of bed bugs is not an easy process. It usually requires treatment by a professional control company. However, there is action you can take:
How do I prevent bed bugs?
Recognition and avoidance of a bed bug infestation may prevent bed bugs from being introduced into your home.
When traveling and staying in a motel or hotel: pull back the bedspread, sheets and mattress pad to examine the mattress for signs of bed bug infestation. If you suspect bed bugs are present, contact the hotel staff.
At home, if you suspect the possibility of bed bug exposure, launder clothing as soon as it is brought back into the home. Inspect and thoroughly vacuum suitcases. Keep debris removed from around the home. Repair cracks in walls and caulk windows and doors.
If you purchase used furniture, carefully examine it before bringing it home.
Be aware that bed bugs may already be present in vacant rental housing units.
There is a large amount of mixed information regarding bed bugs and bed bug treatment due to the difficulty of this pest. The Bed Bug Myths and Misconceptions handout is designed to clear up the many misunderstandings around bed bugs.
For more information or if you think you’ve been exposed to an infestation, contact Jenna at 641-421-9339 or firstname.lastname@example.org