Bedbugs are tiny bugs that live in and around beds. They stay hidden during the day, and they come out at night and bite. Bedbugs need blood to live and grow.
Where are bedbugs found?
Bedbugs can be found anywhere, whether a place is clean or dirty. They are found in places where many people come and go, such as hotels, shelters, dorms, and health care settings. It is also common for them to be found in homes where there are many birds or bats nearby.
What are bedbug bites like?
A bedbug bite leaves a small red bump with a darker red dot in the middle. The bump may appear soon after a person is bitten or one or more days later. Bedbug bites usually do not hurt, but they may itch.
Most people do not need treatment for bedbug bites. The bumps usually go away on their own in a few days.
If you have a lot of bedbug bites and they feel very itchy:
- Do not scratch the bite areas.
- You may apply any of these to the bite area as told by your health care provider:
- A baking soda paste. Make this by adding water to baking soda.
- Cortisone cream.
- Calamine lotion.
How do I check for bedbugs?
Adult bedbugs are reddish-brown, oval, and flat. They are about as long as a grain of rice (¼ inch or 5–7 mm), and they cannot fly. Young bedbugs (nymphs) are smaller, and they are whitish-yellow or clear (translucent).
Using a flashlight, look for bedbugs in these places:
- On mattresses, bed frames, headboards, and box springs.
- On drapes and curtains in bedrooms.
- Under carpeting in bedrooms.
- Behind electrical outlets.
- Behind any wallpaper that is peeling.
- Inside luggage.
Also look for black or red spots or stains on or near the bed. Stains can come from bedbugs that have been crushed or from bedbug waste.
What should I do if I find bedbugs?
If you find bedbugs while travelling, check all of your possessions carefully before you bring them into your home. Consider throwing away anything that has bedbugs on it.
If you find bedbugs at home, your bedroom may need to be treated by a pest control expert. You may also need to throw away mattresses or luggage. To help prevent bedbugs from coming back, consider taking these actions:
- Wash your clothes and bedding in water that is hotter than 48.9°C and dry them on a hot setting. Bedbugs are killed by high temperatures.
- Put a plastic cover over your mattress.
- When sleeping, wear pyjamas that have long sleeves and pant legs. Bedbugs usually bite areas of the skin that are not covered.
- Vacuum often around the bed and in all of the cracks and crevices where the bugs might hide.
- Carefully check all used furniture, bedding, or clothes that you bring into your home.
- Eliminate bird nests and bat roosts that are near your home.
- Bedbugs are tiny bugs that live in and around beds.
- Bedbugs are most often found in places where many people come and go, such as hotels, shelters, dorms, and health care settings.
- A bedbug bite leaves a small red bump with a darker red dot in the middle.
- Bedbug bites usually do not hurt, but they may itch.
- If you find bedbugs at home, your bedroom may need to be treated by a pest control expert.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your healthcare provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your healthcare provider.
Doggett SL: Bed bugs: clinical relevance and control options. Clin Microbiol Rev 2012; 25: pp. 164-192.
Goddard J, Baker GT, Ferrari FG, Ferrari C: . Outlooks Pest Manag 2012; 23: pp. 125-127.
Mathison BA, Pritt BS: Laboratory identification of arthropod ectoparasites. Clin Microbiol Rev 2014; 27: pp. 48-67.
Potter MF: The History of bed bug management - with lessons from the past. Am Entomol 2011; 57: pp. 14-25.
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