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Bed Bugs

Big Bed Bug

  1. Origination

  2. Detection

  3. Feeding

  4. Control

  5. Preparation for treatment

  6. Post Treatment

“Bed bugs usually bite people at night while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin with an elongated beak through which they withdraw blood. Engorgement takes about three to 10 minutes, yet the person seldom knows they are being bitten. Symptoms thereafter vary with the individual. Many people develop an itchy red welt or localized swelling, which sometimes appears a day or so after the bite. Others have little or no reaction. Unlike fleabites, which occur mainly around the ankles, bed bugs feed on any bare skin exposed while sleeping (face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, etc.). The welts and itching are often attributed to other causes such as mosquitoes. For these reasons, infestations may go a long time unnoticed, and can become quite large before being detected. The possibility of bed bugs increases if the affected individual has been traveling, or had acquired used beds or furnishings before symptoms started to appear. Bed bugs also are suspect if you wake up with itchy bites you did not have when you went to sleep. Conversely, it is important to recognize that not all bites or bite-like reactions are due to bed bugs. Confirmation requires finding and identifying the bugs themselves, which often requires the help of a professional.¹”

“A common concern with bed bugs is whether they transmit diseases. Although bed bugs can harbor pathogens in their bodies, transmission to humans is highly unlikely. For this reason, they are not considered a serious disease threat. Their medical significance is mainly limited to the itching and inflammation from their bites. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce allergic reactions, and antiseptic or antibiotic ointments to prevent infection. Infestations also may cause anxiety, embarrassment, and loss of sleep.¹”


It appears to us that bed bugs have been transferred all over the country. They are transferred by clothing, beds, furniture, and luggage. The most common way for a bed bug to be contracted it by traveling. Sleeping in beds that hundreds of other people have slept in is a very prone time to pick up bed bugs. The type of hotel/ motel does not matter. If the establishment has taken preventative measures then you have a considerable less chance of encountering bed bugs. If in fact you do contract bed bugs from a hotel/ motel, you most likely will infest your home bed, spreading throughout your house with bed bugs.


When a bed bugs invade your home they hid in tiny places, usually in cracks in furniture(headboards, bed frames), on mattresses (under sheets), and they can also be found on items placed under beds.

(Blood stains on a mattress, with a bed bug infestation)

Bed Bug Mattress Damage

Bedbugs are active at night and extremely passive. Observing, “blood stain smears” on bedding, walls, curtains and other light colored surfaces can indicate their presence. Cast skins and dried excrement can be observed nearby. Early stages of infestation are likely to be found in the bedding, usually around the tufts, seams or folds.

Immature bed bugs are light brown or yellow in color unless they have recently fed on blood and then they are darker in the middle. Adults are reddish brown and they also turn darker after a blood meal. Even though bed bugs are small, about 1/5th of an inch, they can be readily seen with the naked eye. They are wingless, oval and flattened in appearance and crawl at a steady rate.²


Bed Bug Feeding Cycle

Bed Bug before and after feeding


  • Search for signs of bed bugs. Carefully inspect the bed frame, mattress, headboard and other furniture for signs of bed bugs and their eggs. Search for live (crawling) bugs and ensure they are bed bugs before considering treating.²
  • Thoroughly clean the infested rooms in the residence. Scrub infested surfaces with a stiff brush to dislodge eggs, and use a strong vacuum to remove bed bugs from cracks and crevices. Dismantling bed frames and headboards will expose additional bug hiding sites. Remove drawers from desks and dressers and turn furniture over to inspect and clean all hiding spots.²
  • Mattresses and box springs can be permanently encased within sealed mattress bags. Once they are installed, inspect the bags to ensure they are undamaged; if any holes or tears are found, seal these completely with permanent tape. Any bugs trapped within these sealed bags will eventually die over a period of a year.²

Preparation for treatment

  • Cover all fish tanks, animal cages, bedding and remove birds along with their cages from targeted treatment areas,
  • Remove all bedding including blankets, sheets, pillow cases, mattress covers, furniture dressings and curtains. Place them in large plastic bags and seal. Perform this activity in the infested room to prevent transporting Bed Bugs into any other rooms. Wash in hot water (over 120 degrees), dry on the highest cycle and seal in plastic bags.
  • Disassemble all targeted bed frames for treatment and examination. Remove the cloth covering the underside of the box spring. Remove head board from the wall if necessary. Do not remove these items from the room.
  • If existing bed (frame, box spring, mattress) is to be replaced, do not introduce a new bed into an infested room until treatment is complete and the mattresses hand box spring have been encased.
  • Clear all targeted closets, besides and bureau drawers fro pending examination and treatment. Do not remove anything from the room.
  • Insure the perimeter of all targeted rooms are accessible.
  • Remove pictures, clocks, posters, light fixtures and telephone, light/electrical switch plates for examination and treatment.
  • Clear the floor of all items where Bed Bugs are present or suspected. Do not take anything out of the room.
  • Insure all normally locked rooms and closets are accessible for examination and treatment.
  • Open any sofa beds for examination and treatment.
  • Detach wall to wall carpeting from the tacking strip along baseboards.
  • Present proposed product labels to your physician for approval if any health related conditions exist building occupants.

Post Treatment

  • Avoid entering treated areas for at least 3-4 hours.
  • Discard any items deemed untreatable trained experts.
  • Refrain from introducing any potentially infested furniture or luggage items.
  • Be diligent in examining luggage when returning from trips. Vacuuming the luggage and discarding the vacuum bag is a great practice.

Sources Used for this page ¹ University of Kentucky Entomology Department. ² Harvard University, Gary D. Alpert, Ph.D.

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