|What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are insects. Cimex lectularius is the species
commonly found in homes. Adult bed bugs have oval-shaped bodies with
no wings. Prior to feeding, they are about 6 mm (¼”) long and flat
as paper. They turn dark red and become bloated after feeding. Eggs
are whitish, pear-shaped and the size of a pinhead. Clusters of
10-50 eggs can be found in cracks and crevices. Bed bugs have a
one-year life span during which a female can lay 200-400 eggs
depending on food supply and temperature. Eggs hatch in about 10
There are currently no known cases of disease associated with bed
bug bites. Most people are not
aware that they have been bitten. Bed bugs inject a fluid into their
host to get their blood meal. This fluid makes some people sensitive
to bites, causing irritation, itching and inflammation. Scratching
the bitten areas may lead to infection.
Department of Entomology,
What do bed bugs feed on?
Bed bugs prefer to feed on human blood, but will also bite pets, birds and
rats. Bed bugs bite at night and will bite all over a human body, especially
around the face, neck, upper torso, arms, and hands. Bed bugs can survive up
to one year without feeding. Both male and female bed bugs bite. Faecal
spots are often found where they rest. Cast skins will also be found
especially where infestations are heavy.
How do bed bugs get into my home?
Bed bugs are often carried into a home on objects, such as furniture and
clothing. Bed bugs can be found in the following areas:
Seams, creases, tufts, and folds of mattresses and box springs
Cracks in the bed frame and head board
Under chairs, couches, beds, and dust covers
Between cushions of couches and chairs and between curtain folds
Under area rugs and the edges of carpets
In drawers, telephones, radios, and clocks
Behind baseboards and around window and door casings
Behind electrical plates and under loose wallpaper, paintings and posters
In cracks of plaster
What can I do if I have bed bugs in my home?
Bed bugs can travel from apartment to apartment along pipes,
electrical wiring and other openings.
Consult with local Public Health or a professional pest control
operator to confirm that you have bed bugs.
Inspect your mattress and bed frame, particularly the folds, crevices
and underside, and other locations where bed bugs like to hide.
Use a nozzle attachment on the vacuum to capture the bed bugs and
their eggs. Vacuum all crevices on your mattress, bed frame, baseboards and
any objects close to the bed. It is essential to vacuum daily and empty the
vacuum immediately. Discard the vacuum cleaner bag in a sealed plastic bag
and dispose in the garbage.
Wash all your linens and place them in a hot dryer for 20 minutes.
Consider covering your pillows and mattress with a plastic cover.
Remove all unnecessary clutter.
Seal cracks and crevices between baseboards, on wood bed frames,
floors, and walls with caulking. Repair or remove peeling wallpaper, tighten
loose light switch covers and seal any openings where pipes, wires or other
utilities come into your home (pay special attention to walls that are
shared between apartments).
Monitor daily by setting out glue boards or sticky tape (carpet tape
works well) to catch the bed bugs. Closely examine any items that you are
bringing into your home. Second hand clothing and used furniture could be
infested with bed bugs. Use caution.
Consult a professional pest control operator to apply insecticide.
Toronto Public Health
University of Maine Cooperative Extension