Prevent, Promote, and Protect your Health with the Lake County General Health District
(440) 350-2543
5966 Heisley Rd
Mentor, Ohio 44060

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs – CDC Health Advisory and misuse of pesticides

I think I have Bed Bugs

complete bedbug pict_thumb_thumb

What do I do now?

Introductory information about bedbugs

Although bedbugs feed on blood while humans are sleeping, they are not known to transmit disease.
Female bedbugs can lay up to 5 eggs a day, and 500 during a lifetime.
Bedbugs are usually spread by hitchhiking onto human possessions, such as furniture or clothing, as they are moved from one location to another.
Bedbug can also spread easily through adjoining units, like hotels, condos, and apartment buildings.

Step 1:  Decide if they are really bedbugs.

Bedbugs are small, flat, oval, reddish-brown, wingless and about ¼ inch long as adults.  Young bugs are often lighter, appearing almost clear.
Bedbugs do not fly or jump, but they can crawl quickly.
Some people react to bedbug bites, while others do not.  There are other insect bites that look very similar to bedbug bites.
The best way to be sure that you have bedbugs is to find evidence of the bugs themselves.
Bedbugs live near where people sleep.  They would rather live on fabric, wood or paper instead of metal or plastic.

How To Inspect For Bedbugs

Start in the areas where people sleep. Look for bugs, eggs and cast skins, especially in protected areas such as the seams or edges of mattresses and box springs. Also, keep an eye out for small black or rust-colored spots, which could be fecal matter or blood spots. Some other good places to look include around headboards, in recliners or other upholstered furniture, at the edge of the carpet, in gym bags and in nearby clothing, curtains, or stuffed animals. Sometimes, evidence of bugs can be found around electrical outlets and baseboards. 

Step 2:  If bedbugs are found, determine the best approach to treatment

First, if bedbugs are found, notify your landlord, condo neighbors, or condo association.  Adjoining units may need to be treated at the same time.  If the number of bedbugs is low, it may be appropriate to treat the area yourself.  However, bedbugs can be very difficult to get rid of.  Eliminate clutter in your home – do not store piles of clothes, paper, shoes or other soft items on the floor, under the bed, or in closets.  Heat over 120F will kill the bugs, such as on the “high heat” setting of clothes dryers.  The heat must be applied for 30 minutes or more.  Vacuum carefully and often.  When done, vacuum up ¼ to ½ cup of talcum powder to dry and kill any bugs in your vacuum cleaner.  Immediately discard any items containing bugs, such as vacuum cleaner bags, outside the home in a well-sealed plastic bag.  When using pesticides, make sure that the label states that it works for bedbugs.  Read the label first and follow the directions as they are written.  Do not use “bug bombs”.  These may kill bugs with direct contact, but any hidden bugs will scatter and are likely to make the infestation worse.  Mattresses and box springs can be encased in covers.  Look for covers that state they are bedbug-proof, and leave them on for at least a year.  Contacting a certified pest control operator will be necessary in some cases.

How To Prevent Future Infestations

Do not bring discarded upholstered furniture into your home. Carefully inspect any used or rented furniture before bringing it inside.
Place any newly purchased clothing directly into the dryer on the high heat setting for at least 30 minutes.
When traveling, inspect sleeping areas before staying. Do not place suitcases on the floor or bed.
Upon returning from a trip, wash clothing and dry with high heat as described above.
Seal and/or caulk any cracks or crevices in your home, especially in areas where people sleep.