What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small wingless insects, approximately one-fourth of an inch long that feed on blood, normally during the night. Bed bugs, a problem worldwide, are resurging, causing property loss, expense, and inconvenience. The good news is that bed bugs do not transmit disease. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for signs of an infestation.
Where are bed bugs 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.
What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?
One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:
- The bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
- Bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
- Rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture.
- A sweet musty odor.
For more information on bed bugs and how to prevent or treat an infestation, visit the Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html
To speak with a local environmental health specialist, please call Public Health Solutions at 402-826-3800.