These pests are outside the authority of the Vector Control Program. We offer educational information but do not control or regulate these pests.
Bedbugs are small, flat, brownish bugs that feed on the blood of humans and animals. Depending on age and if they have fed recently, bedbugs can range from the size of a sesame seed up to roughly the size of a ladybug. They have small eyes and large antennae. Bedbugs cannot fly, but they move quickly over floors, walls, ceilings, and other surfaces.
Cimex lectularius is the species of bedbug that commonly bites humans. Found in North America, Europe, and Central Asia, they are not known to transmit any diseases to humans.
SIGNS OF BEDBUG ACTIVITY
Bedbugs are most active at night. They hide during the day where people sleep, in beds or couches. Their flat bodies fit into tiny areas: mattress seams, box springs, bed frames, and behind headboards.
Dark spotting and staining on a mattress, caused by their droppings, is a sign of bedbugs. Eggs and eggshells, molted skins of aging nymphs, and the bugs themselves may also be visible.
In large numbers, bedbugs may cause a sweetish odor that is not always easy to detect. Bedbugs normally start off in the bed, but they will spread around the house, hiding in small crevices.
Bedbugs usually bite people at night while they sleep, feeding on exposed skin using a long beaked mouth to draw blood. It takes about ten minutes for the bugs to swell up with blood. Some people develop an itchy welt from bedbug bites, while others do not react to bites at all.
Hotels, motels, and apartments are the most likely places to encounter bedbugs because of their high occupancy and turnover rate. Once bedbugs are introduced, they spread from room to room. The cleanliness of the building is not always a factor.
Bedbugs hide during the day near areas where people sleep. When staying in a hotel, check for bedbugs in between the mattress and the box spring.
Bedbugs move quickly and may get into luggage: keep your bags off the floor and bed.
Bedbugs are usually brought into the home on luggage, clothing, and used beds or furniture. Traveling to different areas of the world can be a source of bedbugs.
Follow these steps to lower the chance of bringing bedbugs into the home.
- Reduce clutter
- Seal cracks and crevices
- Check all secondhand beds, bedding, and furniture
- Examine the bed and headboard area for signs of bedbugs when traveling
- Don't bring your luggage directly into the house after travelling if you suspect there may have been bed bugs
- Wash and dry on high heat any clothing bought at a garage sale or second-hand store right away
The only way to remove bedbugs from your home is by using insecticides. Household surface sprays containing Malathion or Pyrethrum can be somewhat effective, but they are very unlikely to remove the full infestation.
It is recommended that you contact a licensed pest control company for the treatment of bedbugs.
Bites photo by Andy Brookes
Bedbug magnified photo by Hal Brown
Bedbug photo by Jiří Humpolíček