Reports of bedbugs can be found in the popular press and on hotel and travel review sites, and they appear to be making a comeback. The good news is that they typically do not pose serious health risks, even though their bites may be uncomfortable. These slides show you how to recognize bedbugs, know where they're hiding, and learn what to do to prevent getting bitten.


 Adult bed bugs are about 3/16” long and reddish-brown, with oval-shaped, flattened bodies. They are sometimes mistaken for ticks, cockroaches, carpet beetles or other household insects. The immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs do not fly, and they don’t jump like fleas do ― but they can crawl rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Adult females lay their eggs in secluded places, depositing 1, 2 or more eggs per day, potentially hundreds during their lifetime. The eggs are tiny (about the size of a dust spec), whitish and hard to see without magnification, especially on light-colored surfaces. When first laid, the eggs are sticky, causing them to adhere to surfaces. At room temperatures, bed bug eggs hatch in about a week. Newly emerged nymphs are straw-colored and no bigger than a pinhead.

The decline of bed bug populations in the 20th century is often credited to potent pesticides that had not previously been widely available.[44] Other contributing factors that are less frequently mentioned in news reports are increased public awareness and slum clearance programs that combined pesticide use with steam disinfection, relocation of slum dwellers to new housing, and in some cases also follow-up inspections for several months after relocated tenants moved into their new housing.[66]
The biggest problem with these bites is that, depending on the persons skin and their tolerance to bacteria, their appearance is different on different types of people. I have noticed in the past that if I get bitten by a mosquito, I get a rather large red mark (even without scratching), whereas my husbands skin hardly shows any signs of the bite.

You should look for traces of the insects in the folds of your mattresses, box springs and other places where they are likely to hide. You might be able to find their papery skins, which get cast off after molting and look like popcorn kernels but are smaller and thinner, Harlan said. They also leave small, dark-colored spots from the blood-filled droppings they deposit on mattresses and furniture. If you can touch the spot with a water-soaked towel and it runs a rusty, reddish color, you're probably looking at a fresh drop of bedbug feces, Harlan said.
The bites of bedbugs can be difficult to identify, and not all red bites are due to bedbugs. Mosquitos, fleas, biting gnats, and mites can all bite humans. Collecting and identifying the bugs can help establish the diagnosis. They can often be found beneath or on the seams of mattresses. Their bloodstains may be visible even in the absence of bedbugs. You should also look into nooks and crannies of furniture, walls, and floors if you're suspicious that bedbugs may be present.

We've partnered with The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE), a nonprofit organization that empowers youth living in underserved communities through transformative travel experiences. FLYTE teaches that we are more alike than we realize. By bridging the gap between fear and understanding, FLYTE empowers future generations by connecting them to the world.

Bed bugs tend to congregate, but it’s also common to find a single bug or some eggs here and there. A thorough inspection and treatment may take up to several hours. Some companies use specially trained dogs to assist in finding small dispersed infestations, especially in such places as hotels, schools, libraries and office buildings. When properly trained, bed bug detection dogs can be quite effective. Relatively few companies are routinely using them, however, due to the expense of training and maintaining such animals. Reliability of some of the dogs is also being questioned as more enter the market.    


Bring in only what is needed, and avoid sitting or placing coats and other items on beds, floors and sofas where the bugs commonly reside. Essential items can be placed on a tabletop or other hard surface, preferably away from bedrooms and sleeping areas. Better to sit on a hard (non-upholstered) chair than on sofas and recliners. Also try to avoid leaning or brushing against beds and upholstered furniture. If such items are carried out of infested dwellings (e.g., by sanitation workers or firefighters), it’s best to wrap them in plastic or at least not hold them against your body during transport. Emergency Medical (EMS) personnel may need to take additional precautions, such as removing a patient’s bed bug-infested shoes or clothing, or installing plastic sheeting before transporting them in the emergency vehicle.    
All of the stages of bed bugs are visible, at least if you don't need reading glasses and you have a sufficient amount of light. So if you're looking closely enough, you can even see bugs in the nymphal first instar stage. A fecal spot, for its part, can be as large as a bed bug itself in terms of the area it covers. The spots are basically digested blood, so most are dark in color. On a white mattress, they stand out pretty well.

We’ve randomly gotten bites here and there but it’s summer so we were unsure. We had a cleaning lady come in recently and use her vaccuum so we suspect that could’ve brought in bed bugs! Last night was worst ever but I was outside yesterday but didn’t notice these bites til I just woke up. No signs of spots left behind on mattress, maybe one dot on bedding but could be anything. What do you think?? I have about 6-8 on my middle back and they are about an inch or so apart in one line across bra line area
Dusts have been used to ward off insects from grain storage for centuries, including plant ash, lime, dolomite, certain types of soil, and diatomaceous earth or Kieselguhr.[60] Of these, diatomaceous earth in particular has seen a revival as a nontoxic (when in amorphous form) residual pesticide for bed bug abatement. While diatomaceous earth performed poorly, silica gel may be effective.[61][62]

Hey Ruth! If there are absolutely no signs of bed bugs (upon close inspection), its unlikely that they are the cause for the bite marks. I recommend taking another look for dark brown marks (dried blood) and other signs of their presence. Regardless, if you want to kill any bug on that mattress, just get a handheld steamer and blast it. The heat will kill everything and its completely natural. Hope that helps!

Bedbugs are small wingless insects with a flat body. Like all insects, they have six legs. Their color can range from whitish to brown, but after feeding (on blood from animals or people), they appear rusty red. Bedbugs grow to about 0.5 cm in length and can be seen by the naked eye. Their name comes from the fact that they often hide in bedding or mattresses.


Medical treatment is usually not needed for bedbug bites. If required, medical treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms (like itching) caused by bedbug bites. In the rare cases of a systemic allergic reaction or a secondary skin infection, evaluation by a health care professional may be necessary. Individuals may also want to seek medical care if they are unsure of what is causing their skin lesions.
I can’t wear any of my rings because my fingers have gotten swollen and they hurt. My wrists have become somewhat painful as well. I get blood blisters that hurt like anything. Those are the worst. I’m living on benadryl and calamine lotion. The calamine seems to be helping to dry them out at least. My right hand is a disaster. Especially on the skin between thumb and forefinger. I look like I’m a leper or something.

Bed bugs are challenging to eradicate. Since they can hide in so many places, inspections must be thorough and elimination is not always a certainty. Whenever resources allow, it’s prudent to enlist the services of a professional. Experienced pest controllers know where to look for bed bugs, and have an assortment of tools at their disposal. Nonetheless, owners and occupants can assist the professional in several important ways. Affording access to all living areas is crucial, and excess clutter will need to be removed. Belongings strewn about rooms offer many places for the bugs to hide, and impede inspection and treatment. Since bed bugs can disperse throughout a building, it often will be necessary to inspect adjoining rooms and apartments as well. 
To avoid light, bedbugs hide in the seams of mattresses and crevices of bed frames, walls, and furniture during the day.5,7 They are attracted to human hosts by warmth and carbon dioxide; these hosts generally sleep within 3 to 7 feet (1 to 2 meters) of the bedbugs’ hiding places.8,9 Feeding usually takes place just before dawn.10 Bedbug saliva contains several anesthetic, vasodilatory, anticoagulant, and proteolytic compounds that allow the insects to feed undetected for five to 10 minutes. Three of these compounds have been identified as instigators of the subsequent hypersensitivity reactions that may be noticed when the host awakens.11–14

To avoid getting bed bugs while traveling, make sure to inspect the mattress and sheets on the hotel beds, especially near the seams, mattress tags, and box spring. If you see any rusty stains, dark spots, or pale yellow patches, this could be a sign of bed bugs. Also, never put your suitcase on the bed itself or you could bring them home after your vacation. Most hotels provide a luggage rack, which is much wiser to use.


Bedbugs are highly resistant to many sprays. There are, however, certain sprays that may be able to kill bedbugs. Check with a professional exterminator about advice using sprays to try and remove the bedbugs yourself. Dead bedbugs usually won't move, may be arched back, or red in color. Ultimately, you may be better off replacing your mattress and bedding and fumigating your home to kill the bedbugs.
Since DDT was banned there has been an escaltion of bugs. Malaria is killing millions and now bed bugs are taking over. I am waiting for a exterminaor right now. Something is biting me and I cannot find out what it is. I know Benadryl itch stopping cream has been my salvation. I have order a few things from an online shopping network and wonder if we are getting these bugs from other countrys. I am stopping all shopping online. The only way I feel like something is on me is to take a shower. Where is the CDC on this problem.
Just recently had my first experience w/ bedbug bites in Nicaragua. Hundred plus bites in one night and over a period of three days they became so inflamed, there were tiny blisters on each bite. These suckers snacked on me like I was an all you can eat buffet. I itched 4 days straight and finally went to a pharmacy there, which prescribed me acne creme. Worked, I guess, at least psychologically. But the bites kept festering more and more.
These blood suckers lock on to the carbon dioxide (CO2) release when sleeping. Once they have you, they head toward a warm part of your body and begin to bite. Two tubes are inserted into your body; one is used to inject a mixture of anticoagulant and anesthetic while the other is used to suck up your blood. You never notice the bites until you wake up and realize you were the main course!
you probably ALREADY HAVE THEM..you cant let people that you know have an infestation of blood sucking parasites in your HOUSE..im sure you already have them but a hot dryer does kill them yes but thats not going to protect you these are very easily spread they fall off their bodies or hair right into your house & if you have children with bedbugs in your home you most likely already have them..sometimes people have no idea they even have them the bites dont affect some people..other people after about 3 week get an allergy & thats why the bites swell like hives..they became allergic & that can be a dangerous allergic reaction

We vacuum the carpets and bed almost everyday, wash everything every week and even sprayed every with bed bug spray. It seems to be working a bit cause they have lessened but I’m still getting bitten quite a bit. Of course they itch and I scratch a lot. I’ve been using the baking soda and water remedy (it works pretty well for me) but before I used to scratch until they bled and now I’m having trouble healing old bites.

Many chemical pesticides are available, with more than 300 registered by the EPA. Pesticides should be applied to walls, floors, cracks in furniture, and seams and buttons of mattresses.21 The EPA’s Bed Bug Products search tool (Web site: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/bedbug/) allows users to search by product name, company, EPA registration number, location of intended use, and pesticide type. The National Pesticide Information Center (Web site: http://npic.orst.edu/; telephone: 800-858-7378) is another useful resource. Silica gel dusts are a safer alternative to traditional pesticides, because they are less concentrated and less toxic.21 Plastic mattress and pillow encasements can help trap bedbugs and restrict spread.42 Regardless of the integrated pest management strategy used, a follow-up inspection 10 to 21 days after extermination is advised to detect and manage a persistent infestation.42
Doctors often misdiagnose those afflicted because it is nearly impossible to tell, if you are experiencing an allergic reaction, what bit you. Often healthcare providers and individuals that have been bitten by a member of the Hemiptera order mistake bites for those of a mosquito. The only way to discern, with complete surety, what your bites are from, is to get a sample of what has bitten you.
NEVER PUT ALCOHOL ON BEE STINGS OR WASP STINGS OR ANYTHING WITH A STINGER..it will force the venom into your blood stream and increase the danger, always use like Meat Tenderizer salt, toothpaste, and anything that draws out the venom from the skin. Use lemon juice, Aloe Plant, NEVER EXPERIMENT WITH TREATMENTS OF ANY KIND. i hope this helped. CHECK OUT YOUR LOCAL WHOLE FOODS STORES AND HERBAL STORES FOR HELP. BUY A BOOK ON HOME REMEDIES FOR INSECTS, GO TO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY AND CHECK OUT BOOKS FOR HOME REMEDIES THAT ARE SAFE.
Doctors often misdiagnose those afflicted because it is nearly impossible to tell, if you are experiencing an allergic reaction, what bit you. Often healthcare providers and individuals that have been bitten by a member of the Hemiptera order mistake bites for those of a mosquito. The only way to discern, with complete surety, what your bites are from, is to get a sample of what has bitten you.
I found something that works. Diatomaceous earth or perma guard. Buy a big bag. About a good 5 pounds and put it around the whole house yard in your bed in every crack the carpet. I mean all over and give it a couple days. They will be gone. I live in an apt I ha e a cat n dog. It isn’t harmful to pets or humans its 100% safe to use around kids and best of all no bed bugs no ants no roaches. I paid about $10 on ebay. Good luck and I’m telling u this worked for me.
Hello! I am not sure if we have bed bugs or not. It seems like I am the only one getting bit. We co-sleep with our children and neither of them have signs of any kind of bites. I wake up with bite marks underneath my breasts and sometimes behind my knees. The bites itch for only a few minutes and disappear a few minutes after. We have looked through our mattress and have found no signs of anything. No blood smears nor any fecal matter. Could my bites be caused by something else.

Hi all Im sitting here at 3 in the morning itching away got first bite 3 days ago I know the apt upstairs was heat treated 10 days ago I guess they traveled down here. glad I found this site yesterday I went all around with a hand held heat gun all over base boards and any cracks I can find also vacum three times I will do it all again tomorrow stay tuned Jack
While encountering bed bugs in hotels is possible, typically only a small number of rooms have problems. If bed bugs are discovered, guests can request another room, preferably in another area of the building, since problems often extend to nearby units. Should you experience itchy welts suggestive of bed bug bites during your stay, it would be prudent upon returning home to place all clothing directly into the washer and/or dryer. Inspecting or vacuuming luggage upon arrival home is less useful since it’s hard to spot bed bugs inside a suitcase. The suitcase itself can either be treated or discarded. 
Call your city or town health inpespector. In most major cities it is the landlords obligation to hire a an exterminator. In the case of bed bugs I believe there is more of an urgency and most city inspectors will come out within days, now that bb’s have reached epidemic levels not only in the U.S., but in many countries around the world. In some U.S.cities there are “lanlord/tenant agreements”, which are locally legal and binding contracts that state what the obligation of a landlord and tenant is, and most contain a clause which says that repairs, maintenance, etc.,which are landlords obligations, and what recourse a tenant has when the landlord refuses to repair or maintain his rental properties. In some cases, the tenant may pay for the repairs and deduct from the rent after following various steps first, such as, notifying the landlord via certified letter, prior to the tenant paying for said repairs. Please READ your lease and call your city or town’s health department or building inspectors first,as these ordinances may vary. You can always file a case in local claims court without an attorney,after paying for the repairs,if all else fails, and moving is not an option. I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. I hope this helps. Bed bugs are a public health hazard. And not taken lightly by many local elected, or appointed officials. I hope this helps.
If, after everything is thoroughly taken apart and cleaned, you still have an infestation, other measures may need to be taken. If you have an infestation of bats, you may also have a serious infestation of “bat bugs” which are very similar to the common variety. Often, the infestation is not as strong as those caused by their cousins as they are more apt to wander and relocate.
A bedbug is a small, blood-sucking parasite that feeds on mammals and birds. Bedbugs belong to the insect family Cimicidae. Although there are several different species, the most common species associated with human bedbug infestations are Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus. Bedbugs are considered a public health pest. There has been a recent resurgence in bedbug infestations worldwide, particularly in developed countries, including the United States.
I know when you get infested with these, the bedding and mattresses all have to go. We are just barely scraping by as it is, and we have a bed for each kid no matter how often they come to see us – including ours, that’s SEVEN mattresses and bedding sets. Our landlord is not returning our calls, and although I know that he is responsible for not treating the problem which (per neighbor reports) the previous tenants had, too. But the lawyer wants $500 to even send a LETTER, let alone go to court. And I keep thinking that even if we go to court and win, the courts will make him treat the apartment…not replace the furniture that’s effected because of it. So…we sleep on floors, with newspapers?
Hi, I am 20 and am recently in remission from cancer, so my immune system SUCKS. I have been getting bitten by what my family and I have thought were FLEAS for the past months. Well, come to find out, it was bed bugs. Now, I have horrible scars on my legs and all up and down my arms :( I don’t know how to get rid of them. They are UGLY dark brown spots all over. Any advice??
Bed bugs are a growing problem in schools and daycares. Typically they are introduced by students or staff living with an infestation at home. Pinpointing where the bugs exist can be challenging in such environments since there are no beds or sleeping areas for the insects to congregate. (Similar challenges occur when bed bugs are found in offices, libraries and retail stores.) Usually only small numbers of bed bugs are spotted, often on a student’s clothing, backpack, chair or desk. While this does not necessarily confirm that the child’s residence also has bed bugs, the parents should be notified that the home should be inspected, preferably by a professional. Teachers, nurses, and staff should be educated about the bugs and what they look like. Bed bugs should also be considered if a student frequently has reddened itchy welts --but keep in mind such reactions can be for reasons other than bed bugs. 

We use cookies and similar technologies to improve your browsing experience, personalize content and offers, show targeted ads, analyze traffic, and better understand you. We may share your information with third-party partners for marketing purposes. To learn more and make choices about data use, visit our Advertising Policy and Privacy Policy. By clicking “Accept and Continue” below, (1) you consent to these activities unless and until you withdraw your consent using our rights request form, and (2) you consent to allow your data to be transferred, processed, and stored in the United States.
×