Bedbugs bite you and feed on your blood. You may have no reaction to the bites, or you may have small marks or itching. Severe allergic reactions are rare. Bedbugs don't transmit or spread diseases.
Adult bedbugs are brown, 1/4 to 3/8 inch long, and have a flat, oval-shaped body. Young bedbugs (called nymphs) are smaller and lighter in color. Bedbugs hide in a variety of places around the bed. They might also hide in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, and in the folds of curtains. They come out to feed about every five to ten days. But they can survive over a year without feeding.
To prevent bedbugs in your home:
- Check secondhand furniture for any signs of bedbugs before bringing it home.
- Use a protective cover that encases mattresses and box springs. Check it regularly for holes.
- Reduce clutter in your home so they have fewer places to hide.
- Unpack directly into your washing machine after a trip and check your luggage carefully. When staying in hotels, put your suitcases on luggage racks instead of the floor. Check the mattress and headboard for signs of bedbugs.
To get rid of bedbugs:
- Wash and dry bedding and clothing at high temperatures.
- Use mattress, box spring, and pillow encasements to trap bedbugs and help detect infestations.
- Use pesticides if needed.
Environmental Protection Agency
Prevention and Risk Factors
- EPA-Registered Bed Bug Products (Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs)
- Protecting Yourself from Bed Bugs in Public Places (Environmental Protection Agency)
- Bedbug Bite (Logical Images)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Bedbugs (National Institutes of Health)