Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs

Public Health Fact Sheet


What are bedbugs?
Bedbugs are small, flat parasitic bugs that feed solely on the blood of humans and animals while they sleep. They are reddish brown in color and wingless.  They can live several months without eating.  Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices in mattresses, beds, wooden furniture, floors and walls during the day, and come out at night to feed.  Bedbugs can be found anywhere.  Their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions. 

How are bedbugs spread?
Bed bugs are found worldwide. They are experts at hiding.  Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from place to place.  Bed bugs are easily transported in luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture.   Bed bugs can infest trains, airplanes, cruise ships, and buses as well as hotels, dorms, homes, and apartment complexes.

Do bed bugs spread disease?
Bed bugs are not known to cause disease.  They do bite, which normally causes discomfort and itchiness.

How are they treated?
Bed bug bites normally do not pose a medical threat.  Some people are allergic to bed bug bites and can have a more serious reaction. Typically, bed bug bites are treated by trying to avoid itching them and applying an antiseptic cream and taking an antihistamine.  Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by  insecticide spraying by a licensed pest control company.

How are bed bugs prevented?
The best way to prevent bed bugs is to regularly inspect for signs of an infestation and treat immediately if found.  Be sure to inspect any second hand furniture before bringing it into your home. While traveling, inspect any room where you'll be staying and inspect all luggage.  Vacuum (paying special attention to areas surrounding beds) and change bed linens at least once a week. 

Additional information is available on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/
Symptoms of Bedbug Infestations

  • Small, itchy red bumps on the skin
  • Finding exoskeletons or the bugs themselves in furniture and bedding

  • Finding rusty colored spots around bedding due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete
February 2020