Bedbugs: A Growing Problem Everywhere

Bedbugs are on the rise in all 50 states and not just in unsanitary locations. They are also becoming resistant to current pesticides.

Bedbug facts

  • Wingless insects of the family Cimicidae.
  • Small, flat, oval, reddish-brown body. Adults are about the size of an apple seed.
  • Feed on human and animal blood.
  • Active at night and bite any areas of exposed skin, leaving blood spots on bed linens.
  • Can infest a home and hide in crevices or cracks around beds or furniture.
  • Are not believed to transmit diseases to humans.
  • Females lay from 200 to 500 eggs, which are covered with a glue and hatch in about 10 days. There are five progressively larger nymphal stages, each requiring a single blood meal before molting to the next stage.
  • It can suck up to six times its weight in blood, and feeding can take three to 10 minutes.
  • It can live without feeding up to one year.
  • There can be up to three to four generations of bedbugs per year.

Source: University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources and OSU PNW Insect handbook

Bedbug tips

Day to day

  • Inspect carefully before buying used furniture.
  • Use metal instead of wood bed frames.
  • Remove figurines, picture frames and clutter near your bed, which make a perfect playground for bedbugs.

Bedbugs in your house

  • Call a professional exterminator, who will need to make several visits over one to two months to kill all the adults and eggs.
  • Wrap your mattress and box spring with a plastic or allergen cover and place the bed legs in cups of water.
  • Fill wall cracks.
  • Wash infected clothing and sheets in hot water and dry on the hottest setting to kill the bugs.
  • Vacuum repeatedly, and immediately put the vacuum bag in double-plastic and discard.
  • Do not move your mattress, sleep in a different room or sleep at a friend's house—that will spread bedbugs to other locations.
  • Do not buy household insect sprays or bombs—bedbugs are resistant and will move to another room and infect more parts of your dwelling.

Sources: International Bed Bug Symposium, Washington, D.C., September 2006; Bedbugger.


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