Bed bugs are reddish-brown, wingless insects that are the size of an apple seed. Bed bugs can be seen by the human eye.
Bed bugs make small, red, itchy bites, often in a straight line. Bites usually occur on areas of the body exposed during sleeping such as the neck, arms, and legs. Bed bug bites look different from flea bites. Flea bites are usually randomly placed and often have a dark red spot in the center of the welt.
Who can get bed bugs?
Anyone who visits an area infected with bed bugs can get bitten or spread bed bugs.
Where do bed bugs live?
Bed bugs live in mattresses, box springs, cracks of furniture, floors, walls, window sills, and even picture frames located close to beds.
What do bed bugs eat?
Bed bugs feed on the blood of people or animals while they sleep.
How long do bed bugs live?
Bed bugs will live about one year at room temperature if they have access to blood meals. Bed bugs at room temperature without access to blood meals will die within 70 days.
Are bed bugs dangerous to my health?
Bed bugs are not known to spread disease and are not considered to be dangerous. However, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.
How can I keep bed bugs out of my home?
Bed bug infestations occur most commonly from bringing used furniture into your home.
- Do not pick up used furniture or mattress/box springs from the roadside or by garbage containers.
- Use caution when purchasing used furniture from websites, secondhand stores, or when renting furniture. Always check the seams and any creased areas for bed bugs.
Review Bed Bug Prevention Methods for more information.
How can I prevent bed bugs while traveling?
One of the most common ways of coming across bed bugs is during travel.
- When checking into your hotel/motel room, place your suitcase on the bathroom floor until you have checked the luggage stand. (The tile floor makes it harder for the bed bugs to hide.) Keep the luggage stand away from the wall.
- Do a quick inspection of the mattress and box spring.
- Pull back the bedding at the head of the bed near the head board to look for bed bugs, their droppings (usually several black spots in a group), or blood stains on the mattress.
- Check the seams of the mattress and the box spring.
- If you find evidence of bed bugs, report it to hotel management and ask for another room.
- Upon returning home, unpack your luggage immediately in some location other than the bedroom; wash all clothing and inspect luggage.
How do I know if I have a bed bug problem?
You may notice bites on your skin. Or, you may see the small blood stains from crushed insects or dark spots from their droppings on your mattress. Look carefully in and around the mattress seams.
For more information review How to Identify a Bed Bug Infestation.
How can I get rid of bed bugs?
Do you think you have bed bugs? Check out these resources for more information:
Who can help?
If you do not feel comfortable with do-it-yourself methods, you may decide to hire a pest control company. Here are some tips for hiring a pest control company.
The Environmental Health Program may become involved in situations where bed bugs are reported at a public facility, long-term care residence, or child care facility. Call 703-228-7400, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (resources also available in Spanish)