Bed Bug Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a bed bug?

Bed bugs are flat, oval-shaped and wingless insects. They do not fly or jump, but crawl. Like mosquitoes, they bite humans to feed on blood, but unlike mosquitoes, they do not transmit diseases. The adults are about the size of a lentil (slightly larger than 1/8 of an inch).

Q. When are bed bugs active?

Bed bugs are nocturnal, they are primarily active at night, especially in the pre-dawn hours, which is most feeing occurs.

Q. Where do bed bugs live or hide?

Bed bugs live primarily on, and close to the area where a person sleeps. Although their name suggest beds, bed bugs can live in any small crack or crevice on or within baseboards, behind headboards, on bed frames in wall and ceiling cracks, in furniture and drawers, in curtains and drapes, on mattress seams, on pillows, on clothes piled on the floor, at the junction of carpet and adjoining wall, on boxes, luggage, or backpacks and even in electrical outlets, clock radios, fans, and other electronic/ computer equipment.

Q. Do bed bugs only live in dirty environments?

Bed bugs do not discriminate. They do not have a preference for unsanitary conditions, and in fact, some of the finest hotels and resorts in the world have bed bug problems. If you have a problem with bed bugs, however of your living space may require you to reduce clutter, particularly items on the floor, to facilitate the treatment process. The Pest Bureau® will provide you with a preparation sheet prior to the start of the bed bug treatment.

Q.  How are bed bugs transmitted?

Bed bugs are carried by people on their possessions as they move from place to place. Bed bugs are stowaway hitchhikers. They also travel within buildings through wall, floor, and ceiling openings, on pipes, and on cables. Bringing second-hand furniture into your residence can also be a method of transmission.

Q.  How do I know if I have bed bugs?

Usually, the first sign of bed bugs is when a person notices bites and/ or welts on their body. Often people experience an itch associated with the bite. Any number of arthropods (mosquitoes, fleas, lice, mites, spiders) can leave a bite mark. It is important to have medical professional asses the bite(s) and area of irritation and recommend any necessary treatment. However, a medical professional may not be able to differentiate between bites from various insects.

Q. Are Bed bugs a health issue?

Since bed bugs feed on blood, many people have a concern about the spread of disease. There is no evidence that they transmit disease to humans. The insect is a public health pest, but not a threat to public health.

One health related concern is that some people (not everyone) exhibit a skin irritation at the site of the bite, similar to a mosquito bite. Individuals vary in their reaction, from a small bump that is not very itchy, to a large welt or a blister. This allergic reaction results from the bed bug saliva that is an anti-coagulant so the insect can keep blood flowing as it feeds. The irritation may lead so people to scratch, which in turn cause a secondary infection if the skin is broken. Bites are treated with topical creams and ointments and generally do not require additional medical care.