Bed bugs are insects that feed on human blood. Bed bugs are 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch long and reddish-brown in color. They are primarily active at night and can be found in the cracks and folds of household furniture, clothing and walls. Under ideal conditions (70-90F) bed bugs can reach adulthood in a month or two. Bed bugs need to feed before developing to the next stage of life. Female bed bugs can lay up to 5 eggs per day or over 500 in their life time.
The diagram below shows bed bugs at each stage of life. The first and second instars are clear and very difficult to see if they have not recently fed.
Bed bugs are a growing concern in Clark County and around the world due to increasing international travel, resistance to commonly used pesticides, and tighter regulations on pesticides used in the home environment. While bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases to humans, they do feed on or “bite” humans, leaving little red bumps similar to mosquito bites.
Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and can enter your home on luggage, used furniture, book bags or people. Knowing what bed bugs look like, and knowing the signs of a bed bug infestation, is very important to prevent bed bug infestations.
To avoid bringing bed bugs into your home, or stopping an infestation if you do find a bed bug or signs of bed bugs, please note:
- Look in seams, creases, folds and cracks, of mattresses, box springs, frames and headboards of beds, couches and other furniture for live bed bugs, blood spots, fecal spots, and eggs.
- Before bringing any furniture (new or used) or clothing into your home, be sure to check for live bed bugs, blood spots, fecal spots, and eggs.
- Check yourself for bed bugs after visiting other homes or places where you suspect there are bed bugs.
- Reduce clutter inside your house. Clutter provides more places for bed bugs to hide and lay eggs.
- Vacuum regularly. Use a crevice tool attachment to vacuum along baseboards and under and behind furniture. Be sure to empty the vacuum immediately into a plastic bag that should be sealed immediately and placed in a garbage container outside your home.
- Wash clothing, sheets and blankets in hot water (greater than 120 degrees) and dry items in the dryer on high heat for at least 20 minutes.
- Seal and cover all cracks and openings in your house’s walls, baseboards, ceilings, etc.
- Seal your mattress, box spring and pillows with hypoallergenic covers, preventing bed bugs from getting in the mattress, box spring or pillow, or killing ones trapped within. Covers should encase the entire mattress, box spring and pillow. Covers should be left on for the life of the mattress, box spring and pillow. Be sure to purchase covers specifically labeled for use against bed bugs.
- Use the hose attachment of a vacuum to capture existing bed bugs and their eggs to prevent the spread of the pest. Empty the vacuum into a bag that should be sealed immediately and placed in a garbage container outside your home.
- Remove all unnecessary clutter. Place in bags, seal, and place directly into a garbage container outside your home.
- Seal and cover all cracks and openings in your house’s foundation, walls, ceilings, etc.
- If you determine that any furniture is to be thrown out, PLEASE make the furniture unusable to prevent the spread of bed bugs to your neighbors!
- Consult a Pest Control Operator to discuss other extermination options.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do Bed Bugs transmit disease? Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease like mosquitoes or ticks can. The primary health issues caused from bed bug bites are secondary infections from scratching the bite, anxiety and insomnia from living in infested homes.
How do I know if I have been bitten? The Clark County Combined Health District will not verify the presence of bed bugs based on the appearance of a bite. Many insect bites look very similar making it difficult to distinguish one bug bite from another. In addition, many people do not react to the bite of a bed bug. Having a bug from your home identified as a bed bug may indicate you have an infestation.
What will the Clark County Combined Health District do for me? The health district provides education, identification of pests and inspections. At this time the Clark County Combined Health District does not issue orders to control bed bugs.
A pest control company is too expensive. What can I do? There are consumer-grade products that are effective in reducing and eliminating bed bug infestations. Any product used in your home must be labeled for use against bed bugs and used according to the package directions. Misuse of pesticides or other products can result in health issues, property damage and loss of life.
Do Bed Bugs fly? No. Bed bugs cannot fly, or hop but they walk very quickly.