Bed Bug Quick Facts & Tips

1What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small insects that feed on human blood. They are usually active at night when people are sleeping. Adult bed bugs have flat, rusty-red-colored oval bodies. About the size of an apple seed, they are big enough to be easily seen, but often hide in cracks in furniture, floors, or walls. When bed bugs feed, their bodies swell and become brighter red. They can live for several months without food or water.
2What does a bed bug bite feel and look like?
Most bed bug bites are initially painless, but later turn into large, itchy skin welts. These welts do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites.
3Are bed bugs dangerous?
Although bed bugs are a nuisance, they are not known to spread disease.
4How does a home become infested with bed bugs?
In most cases, people carry bed bugs into their homes unknowingly, in infested luggage, furniture, bedding, or clothing. Bed bugs may also travel between apartments through small crevices and cracks in walls and floors.
5How do I know if my home is infested with bed bugs?
You may notice itchy skin welts. You may also see the bed bugs themselves, small bloodstains from crushed insects, or dark spots from their droppings. It is often hard to see them because they hide in or near beds, other furniture, and in cracks.

HOW CAN I GET RID OF BED BUGS?

The Health Department recommends that homeowners hire pest control professionals to get rid of bed bugs. The pest control company should:
  • Inspect your home to confirm the presence of bed bugs.
  • Find and eliminate their hiding places.
  • Treat your home with special cleaning and/or pesticides if necessary.
  • Make return visits to make sure bed bugs are gone.
  • Be sure you hire a licensed exterminator.

IS IT NECESSARY TO USE PESTICIDES ON BED BUGS?

The best way to get rid of bed bugs is to clean, disinfect and eliminate their hiding places. Since bed bugs can live for several months without food and water, pest control professionals may use a pesticide. Talk with the professional about safe use of pesticides and make sure he/she:
  • Uses the least toxic pesticide.
  • Follows instructions and warnings on product labels.
  • Advises you about staying out of treated rooms and when it is safe to reenter.
  • Treats mattresses and sofas by applying small amounts of pesticides on seams only. Pesticides should never be sprayed on top of mattresses or sofas.