You are here: Home > Consumer Protection > Saving At Home > What to do about bed bugs
What to do about bed bugs
Bed Bug Facts:
- Bed bugs look small and flat. They are an oval shape with reddish-brown coloring. Adults are about 1/4 of an inch long. They feed on the blood of humans and other mammals.
- Bed bugs do not have wings and they do not jump. However, they crawl very fast.
- A common misconception is that they are associated with uncleanliness and unsanitary conditions. This is not true. In fact, world-class hotels have reported bed bug problems.
- Although they are called “bed bugs,” they can be found throughout your home or office. They can be transported in luggage, boxes, clothing or furniture.
- Bed bugs are not directly associated with disease transmission. They can however, cause physical and mental stress to those living with an infestation.
Some Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation:
- Red, itchy welts on skin that is exposed while sleeping is usually the first sign. Check with a medical provider with questions about unexplained welts or bites.
- Small, black or rusty colored spots on bed linens, pillow or mattress can be blood spots caused from the pests or bed bug droppings.
- If you’re searching for bugs, remember they prefer fabric, wood and paper surfaces as opposed to metal or plastic. Search for live bugs, eggs, old skins, blood or fecal spots. A few places to check:
Mattresses, box springs, bed frames, furniture, stacks of paper, books, school bags, luggage, futons, gym bags, diaper bags, stuffed animals and carpets.
The Do’s & Don’ts of Bed Bugs
- Make sure it’s a bed bug. Check the fact sheet at www.cuyahogabedbugs.org.
- Contact a pest management professional or the health department for advice.
- Closely follow directions for any pesticides or chemicals being used.
- Clothes and fabric items that may be infested can be put in a HOT dryer for at least 30 minutes.
- If disposing of infested furniture, wrap in plastic before moving and do your best to discourage others from picking it up. Mark on it with spray paint or dismantle the item to make it unusable.
- Limit visitors to the infested home.
- Use bed bug-proof encasements on your mattresses. These should be used for at least one year after the infestation.
- Don’t panic or ignore the problem.
- Don’t use rubbing alcohol , kerosene, gas or other chemicals that can cause a fire or be hazardous.
- Don’t try to kill bed bugs by using garden pesticides. This can make you or your family members sick.
- Don’t try to kill bed bugs with room foggers or “bug bombs.” This is not effective in reaching where bed bugs hide.
- Don’t sleep on another bed or the couch. This can allow the bed bugs to infest new areas of your home. Interceptors can be placed under the legs of furniture to catch bed bugs and prevent them from climbing up into the bed.
Something still “bugging“ you? Still have questions? Get more information here:
The Department of Consumer Affairs’ mission is to make sure people who live or shop in Cuyahoga County get what they pay for.