What are bedbugs? What do bedbugs look like?
- Bedbugs are small, oval insects that feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. Bedbugs do not fly.
- Bedbugs can live anywhere in the home. They can live in cracks in furniture or in any type of textile, including upholstered furniture. They are most common in beds, including the mattress, box springs, and bed frames.
- Bedbugs are most active at night. They may bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. Common locations for bedbug bites are the face, neck, hands, and arms.
- A bedbug bite is painless and is generally not noticed. The bites may be mistaken for a rash of another cause. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and itching.
- Typically, no treatment is required for bedbug bites. If itching is severe, steroid creams or oral antihistamines may be used for symptom relief.
- Fecal stains, egg cases, and shed skins of bedbugs in crevices and cracks on or near beds are suggestive that bedbugs may be present, but only observing the bugs themselves can confirm an active infestation. A professional pest-control company may be required to help identify and remove bedbugs from the home.
Bed bugs are occasionally introduced into an apartment via luggage that has become infested from a hotel or hostel. In apartment complexes, it is probably more common for bed bugs to enter a home from a nearby infested apartment, during moving, or through picking up used or recycled furniture or mattresses. Once introduced into an apartment building, bed bugs can readily spread from one infested unit to another.
What should I do if I suspect bed bugs?
If you think you see a bed bug, capture it if possible. Place in a leak-proof container, preferably with a little rubbing alcohol, and show it to your apartment manager to confirm its identity. Even if you cannot capture one of the insects, you should inform your building manager if you suspect you have a bed bug problem.
If I have bed bugs should my neighbors be treated too?
When beg bugs are found in one apartment unit, it is considered standard practice in the pest control industry to inspect all apartments surrounding the infested apartment. If no bed bugs are found, surrounding apartments do not necessarily need to be treated. But if an adjacent apartment is found infested, it should be treated and all adjacent apartments should also be inspected.
How do you get rid of bed bugs?
If you live in an apartment or condominium, it’s best to alert the property manager right away. In multi-family housing a manager-coordinated bed bug control effort using a pest control company is generally needed. Bed bugs readily move from apartment to apartment, with many people unaware that they have a problem, so chances are that you will not eliminate a bed bug problem by yourself. If one apartment is infested, adjoining units should be assumed to be infested unless shown otherwise through inspection or monitoring. Simply asking tenants whether they have bed bugs is not enough. In one study only half of residents in a large apartment with bed bugs knew they had a bed bug problem.
Bed bug treatment consists of a thorough inspection followed by vacuuming and treatment of all detected bug hiding spots. Treatment is labor intensive and may take several hours per apartment. It will also probably require several visits and treatments to permanently get rid of a bed bug problem.
Multifamily housing, hotels, or any business providing lodging must be treated for pests by a licensed pesticide applicator.