Bed Bugs

  1. What are bed bugs?
    Bed bugs are flat, oval, 6-legged insects that are 1/16th inch long at nymph stage up to 1/4 inch long at adult stage (about the size of an apple seed).  These insects go through 5 molts from nymph to adult, and to molt they must have a blood meal.  (Molting means that they shed their outer skin- or exoskeleton.)
  2. Do bed bugs transmit diseases?
    Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease to humans.
  3. What do bed bugs eat?
    Bed bugs survive only on blood.  They can live over a year (and possibly up to 18 months) between feedings. Each bug only eats once every 7-10 days, depending on humidity and temperature.
  4. Will bed bugs bite my pets?
    Bed bugs have been seen on pets, though it is unknown if they prefer to bite pets.  They do not stay on the pet like fleas, however, but drop off to hide until the next time they need a meal.
  5. What do bed bug bites look like?
    They can look different on different people.  Some people get small itchy bumps, singly or in rows or clumps.  Others get a large welt, and about 25% of people do not react at all. They can look like flea bites or mosquito bites.
  6. When and how often do bed bugs feed?
    Bed bugs typically feed while people are sleeping, but will feed if you are sitting very still in a chair or elsewhere.  Bed bugs typically feed every seven to ten days, gaining only a drop or two of blood before returning to their hiding places.
  7. Why are there bed bugs in my house?  I clean all the time!
    Bed bugs are hitchhikers. They do not need a dirty home to thrive, though it does make it easier for them to hide if there is a lot of clutter. These pests can come into the home on luggage, furniture, your pets, or your guests.
  8. Where do bed bugs hide?
    Bed bugs like tight, dark areas to hide in during the day.  They have been found in all manner of places, including mattress seams, headboards and footboards, nearby furniture, in the joints of furniture, behind baseboards, and behind wall switch plates or electrical outlet covers. They tend to stay in rooms where people sleep or rest for extended periods of time.  They do not build nests, however, but tend to congregate, though there will be a few solitary bed bugs.
  9. How do I know if the bug I found is a bed bug?
    You will have to have the bed bug identified. The Health Department does not identify insects, as we are not trained in entomology. You may contact the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, and for a fee they can determine what type of insect you have found. You may also contact the Purdue Extension Office in the Morgan County Administration Building to see if anyone is available to help you identify the insect.

The most comprehensive information, complete with DIY tips, tricks and videos: University of Minnesota: “Let’s Beat the Bed Bug!”

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