Bed bugs are not a health hazard but they can create a lot of stress. Learn how you can protect yourself and help stop the spread of bed bugs.
Bed bugs are small, brown insects - about the size of an apple seed at adult stage - that feed on human blood. After a feeding, they swell in size and can become bright or dark red. They are wingless and cannot fly or jump. They hide during the day and come out at night in areas where people sleep.
There is no evidence bed bugs spread diseases to humans. Reactions to bites range from no reaction at all, to itchy red bumps. If a bed bug is disturbed during feeding, they may bite more than once in the same general area. The bites are painless but may become itchy after a day or two. Scratching at the bites may cause an infection. Many people get anxious and distressed when exposed to bed bugs.
There are three stages in the life of a bed bug: eggs, nymphs(or juveniles) and adults. The eggs have a coating that helps them stick to objects and they usually hatch in six to 17 days. Hatched nymphs start to feed right away. Adult bed bugs can live for more than 12 months, depending on the location or conditions and can become inactive when there is no host to feed on.
Having bed bugs does not mean your home isn't clean. They enter your home on items you carry in from outside. The most common items are mattresses, box springs, upholstered furniture, luggage, electronics, books, pictures and household goods. A sign you have bed bugs is finding (on your mattress, box spring, pillow, etc):
If there is a lot of bed bugs, a musty or sweet odour, like coriander, may be present.
The best way to deal with bed bugs is to avoid bringing them into your home.
When you return home: