Bed bugs only bite in the dark.
False. Although they tend to be more active at night, they can bite at any time.
Only dirty, cluttered homes get bed bugs.
False. Anyone can get them. Bed bugs have been found in the homes of the wealthy and poor. Unsanitary conditions will not cause them but getting rid of clutter will help to reduce the number of places they can live and hide.
Bed bugs cannot be seen with the naked eye.
False. They are small but can be seen with the naked eye. A magnifying glass will help. Young bed bugs are about the size of a poppy seed and mature ones are about the size of an apple seed.
If I see bite marks I have bed bugs.
False. Other insect bites may resemble them. Presence of live bed bugs or their eggs will confirm their infestation in an area.
If you have bed bugs you need to get rid of infested clothing and furniture.
False. Clothing can be laundered to get rid of them. In most cases furniture can be treated and should only be discarded if there are no acceptable treatments that can get rid of them.
Bed bugs are not known to cause or spread diseases.
True. They have not been shown to cause or spread diseases. Some people will react to bed bugs bites and excessive scratching can lead to secondary infections.
Bed bugs cannot fly and will not jump from the floor to the bed.
True. They have no wings and cannot fly, jump or hop.
Bed bugs are only found on the bed.
False. Although they are called bed bugs they are not only confined to the bed. Bed bugs are commonly found in beds, on sofas, in chairs and areas near where people sleep or lounge.
Some people are not affected by bed bugs.
True. Some people do not have a reaction to bed bug bites and may be unaware that bed bugs are in their home until they actually see them.
Bed bugs can live for many months without feeding.
True. They can live for many months without feeding.
A bed bug inspection needs scent detecting dogs to really tell where bed bugs are.
False. Bed bug scent dogs can be helpful, but are rarely necessary. Some bed bug scent dogs can signal the presence of them even when there is none, and may even miss some, with results varying according to the training the dog receives, the experience of the handler, and other factors.
Encasing a mattress and box spring will prevent future bed bug infestations in your home.
False. Encasements will help prevent a mattress or box spring from becoming infested or being a reservoir for bed bugs, but bed bugs can still find their way onto a bed to bite. And if they cannot live in a mattress or box springs, they will live somewhere else. Encasements are a good tool, but are not sufficient to prevent or treat an infestation.
Products can claim to be effective for bed bugs without proof.
True. Pesticides registered with the Environmental Protection Agency do have to have data to back their claims. But products without pesticides, or with pesticides that are exempt from registration requirements may make exaggerated claims without proof. Use common sense. If it sounds like a miracle product, it probably isn’t.
Insect foggers provide very little control of bed bugs and may even cause the bed bug population to disperse, making control more difficult.
True. Insect foggers do not effectively control bed bugs. Insect foggers are dangerous in that they can leave unwanted residue throughout the treated area. Most insect foggers contain a flammable propellant and some have been associated with a number of fires.
Source: NYC Department of Health & Hygiene
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. They are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.
Where are bed bugs found?
They are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although it has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. They have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are 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.
Do bed bugs spread disease?
They should not be considered as a medical or public health hazard. They are not known to spread disease. They can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.
What health risks do bed bugs pose?
A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.
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 they have infested an area. These signs include: the 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, and a sweet musty odor.
How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?
It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten unless you find the bodies or signs of infestation. When they bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites. Because the bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to them and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
How did I get bed bugs?
They are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. They travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-aways as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.
Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?
Everyone is at risk for getting them when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading an infestation.
How are bed bugs treated and prevented?
The bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.
Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
VIP Pest Control can treat bed bugs in your home.