Photo from bedbugs.org
Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki
Where are bed bugs found?
Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa,
Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen
as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in
parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of
Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their
presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where
they are found.
Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people
sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise
ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as
seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside
cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a
bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but
tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.
For more information on bed bugs (pictures, etc), visit EPA's Bed Bug Webpage OR CDC's Bed Bug Webpage
To view a video on how to inspect for bed bugs, Click Here
For more information about Bed Bugs in Schools and Daycares, view this document from the Illinois Department of Public Health: BedBugs_Schools_DayCareCenters
Do bed bugs spread disease?
Bed bugs should not be considered as a medical or public health hazard. Bed
bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their
presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to
excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin
Bed Bug Bites
Bed bug bites are painless. The bed bug injects saliva to ensure belood flow, and ingests the host's blood through needle-like mouthparts. The bed bug retreats to its hiding place after feeding to digest the meal. It will return to feed again in three to ten days.
Reactions to bed bug bites vary. Sometimes an individuals may not even know they've been bitten until redness and swelling appear around the bite. Sometimes the individual will have intense itching. Some individuals will have inflamed swollen spots tha may occur or have a rash-like appearance.
If bed bugs are suspected
- Thoroughly inspect sleeping and resting places
- Inspect any tiny cracks or crevices
- Inspect any places where pets rest
Blood smears on bedding may indicate bed bug infestation, along with browinsh black specks (bed bug feces) and the amber-colored "shells" (shed exoskeletons) of bed bugs.
Heavy infestations can be detected by the peculiar must sweet odor of bed bug secretions.
If You Get Bed Bugs
- First, confirm that you have bed bugs by having specimens identified by an entomologist or pest management professional.
- Avoid using aerosol "foggers". They do not effectively control bed bugs and can present a fire or explosion hazard. Also avoid using quantities of flammable liquids such as rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. Do not use "roach powder" dusts containing ortho boric acid or borates - they are effective against cockroaches, but not bed bugs. Most over-the-counter pesticides will kill bed bugs only when directly applied to the bugs, and do not provide long-lasting control. If you must apply pesticides, always READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS.
- Contact a pest managment professional. Most bed bug infestations are not do-it-yourself projects. You may want to contact more than one company to provide estimates for managing the infestation. It's best to be familiar with the basics of bed bugs and their control before you speak with the pest control company representatives, so you can make an informed decision on which to choose.
- Prepare for treatment by following your pest management professional's suggestions, which may include eliminating clutter (unused/unwanted items), laundering, installing encasements (zippered covers) on mattresses and box springs, and using traps such as the Climbup(TM) on bed legs. If you cannot obtain traps, try wrapping carpet tape or duct tape (sticky side out) around bed legs to trap bed bugs.
- It is usually not necessary to discard mattresses, box springs, bed frames and other items. You can isolate your bed from bed bugs by installing traps beneath bed legs and keeping the bed and covers from touching the walls and floor. Make sure the bed is not in contact with things stored under it.
- Note that while vacuuming can remove some bed bugs, their eggs are sticky and adhere to surfaces, making them difficult to pick up. If you choose to vacuum, do it carefully so the vacuum cleaner doesn't spread the bed bugs. Empty vacuum bags and canisters into plastic bags that seal tightly, preventing the bugs from escaping, and check the vacuum's brushes and attachments for bed bugs immediately after vacuuming.
- To eliminate as many bed bug hiding places as possible, you can use caulk or other materials to seal cracks and gaps around pipes, vents, floor registers and light fixtures, as well as around phone, cable and electrical outlets.
- Expect follow-up inspections and treatments about every two weeks after the initial treatment. Inspection and treatment should continue at least until no bites or bed bugs are seen for a two-month period.