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Bed Bugs  

Comprehensive Bed Bug control information


History And Life Cycle

The bed bug is an old pest that was common in homes prior to World War II. For the last 50 years, bed bugs have rarely been seen outside of cramped living quarters and less than sanitary conditions in jails and homeless shelters. Not anymore. In the last five years there has been a resurgence. Bed bugs have become a particular problem in hotels, motels, and hostels where there is a high rate of occupant turnover. Even five star hotels are having problems with bed bugs.

Bed bugs are blood-feeding insects. They are a light tan color, but turn dark-reddish brown once they have fed on blood. Before feeding, the adult bed bug is about ¼ inch long and flattened. Once engorged with blood, it swells in size. Bed bugs can be easily seen with the naked eye, but it’s not easy to find bed bugs in a room.  The bed bug is an old pest that was common in homes prior to World War II. For the last 40 years, bed bugs have rarely been seen outside of cramped living quarters and less than sanitary conditions in jails and homeless shelters. Not anymore.

In the last five years there has been a resurgence. Bed bugs have become a particular problem in hotels, motels, and hostels where there is a high rate of occupant turnover. Even five star hotels are having problems with bed bugs.

Bed bugs can’t fly, so they either crawl or are carried from place to place. Bed bugs or their eggs can hitchhike in a traveler’s suitcase or clothing. Business people now routinely travel to and from countries where bed bugs are common, even in good hotels. The offspring of one pregnant female bed bug that crawls out of a suitcase can infest a room, and eventually other rooms nearby. Bed bugs usually feed at night and spend the day hidden. Their flattened shape lets them squeeze into narrow places in bed  frames, headboards, in bedside furniture, behind pictures and switch plates, behind baseboards, under buttons on mattresses, in boxsprings, and in other cracks and crevices. Speckles of dried blood excrement can be found on bedding or places where bed bugs hide.

A bed bug feeds about once a week, usually for several minutes. It most often feeds on a sleeper’s exposed skin. The bite is nearly painless and is not felt by most people. Some people have no reaction afterwards, but most people develop a hard bump with a whitish center which can itch for days. Although bed bugs suck blood like other human parasites, there has been no evidence that they spread diseases. Bed bugs can survive for several months between blood meals if there is no person or animal for them to feed on.

Bedbugs are 5-7 mm in length with reduced wings. The mouthparts are modified for piercing and sucking. They live between wooden floorboards or in furniture, bed frames, mattresses, or behind peeling paint. The bedbug sneaks out to grasp human skin with its forelegs, pierces the skin, and injects anticoagulant- and anesthetic-containing saliva. Bedbugs normally feed at night, usually about an hour before dawn, but if the conditions are favorable, they also feed during the day. Feeding time takes from 3-12 minutes. Adult bedbugs can survive starvation in proper conditions for a year or more. Each female lays about 300 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs hatch in 10 days. The nymph stage lasts 6 weeks, undergoing 5 molts.


Bedbug History

Bedbugs are on the long list of animals that have evolved strategies to live in the shadows of human civilization — an inventory that includes everything from the Norway rat to head lice.
They've been with us — as far as anyone can tell — since Australopithecus took their first tottering steps on two legs more than four million years ago. And, as with most modern insects, bedbugs likely appeared in more or less their present form about 60 to 50 million years before that.

They lack wings and they're often confused with ticks because of their rounded, flat appearance. However, ticks have eight legs and are arachnids — close relatives of the spider. Bedbugs have six legs and they're insects.

Bedbug remains were found among Egyptian artifacts dating back more than 3,500 years. The ancient Greeks and Romans complained of them, and Pliny the Elder included them in his 77 AD book on natural history. The ancient Chinese recorded their presence, too.

Bed Bug Video Disturbs Many

Close up scenes of Bed Bugs feeding on human blood are not for the squeamish. See eggs and newly hatched nymphs seeking food.   Watch the video. 

 British Scientist Demonstrates Bed Bug Bite

Dr. James Logan (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) volunteers to let a bed bug
feast on his blood and talk about the results..  Watch the video 


How to Move and Leave Bed Bugs Behind

If you think that moving will automatically eliminate your bed bug problem, think again!

    Unless you take the right precautions, your bed bugs are likely to move with you,

    causing more trouble in your new living space. However, if you must move to a new home before your bed bug infestation has been eliminated, you can take these measures to avoid bringing bed bugs with you:


  1. Place all belongings in clear plastic bags and seal tightly.

    Sort items by type (clothes, towels, sheets and blankets) and keep things that are known to be infested away from clean items.

  1. Wash and dry all fabric items on the hottest recommended setting and then seal them in clear plastic bags labeled "Clean".
  2. Put items that cannot be sanitized inside sealed clear plastic bags (electronics, appliances, books, etc.) and ask a professional pest manager how these items should be treated.
  3. Purchase bed bug proof mattress covers for the beds of each member of the household. Also cover box springs.
  4. If you decide to throw away infested furniture or mattresses, wrap them in plastic and clearly paint or write "Bed Bugs" on them, so neighbors won’t bring the items into their homes. You may want to go even further and physically slash or destroy the items as well.

      Moving Day:

1.  Have each person shower and change into clean clothing and shoes and bag up the current (possibly infested) clothes for laundering.

2. Give pets a bath to ensure that they are bed bug free before taking them to your new home.

3. All furniture should be sanitized. Furniture such as night stands and bookshelves can be most effectively sanitized and treated when they are empty. If you are moving furniture items that may be infested, you should first remove and pack the contents of the furniture. The empty furniture should then be treated by a licensed pest management professional before moving into your new residence.


1.  Before personal belongings can be accessed in the new home, they MUST be bed bug free, or the new home will likely become infested as well.

2.  Launder any items not labeled "Clean" before using.

3.  If you acquire any new or used furniture, inspect it carefully before bringing it into your home to make sure it is bug free.

4.  Educate yourself about bed bugs and what to look for using facts on this web page.

5.  Contact your building manager immediately if you notice any signs of bed bugs in your new home. The earlier an infestation is detected, the easier it will be to treat.

Bed Bug

Find out
what to use and
how to use it.

 Bed Bugs Application Tips








  Bed Bug Free Travel Tips published an article on tips for traveling to prevent bed bugs.  With summer approaching, the prime traveling season, the number of bed bug cases are on the rise.  Here are some tips that will help you stay bed bug free when traveling:

  • Before you leave your house, encase your mattress with a protective cover.  This will ensure that while you are away, bed bugs will not make their way into your mattress.
  • When you arrive, do a brief inspection of the room.  Carefully look all around the mattress, bed frame, windows, and drawers.   If you even are a little suspicious of some activity, contact a manger immediately.  You’d rather be safe than sorry.
  • Keep your clothes in your suitcase and keep it closed as often as you can.
  • Upon arrival back at your home, make sure you watch your laundry immediately in hot water.  Heat will kill the bed bugs in any stage and it will prevent them from getting out of your suitcase (if by chance you picked up one or two).
  • If you do have a bed bug case, call a professional.  When people try and do it themselves they usually end up spending much more than they have to, and the bed bugs will likely come back.


There's a bed bug epidemic of sorts in big cities across Canada. Records and statistics are not kept but exterminators and public health offices say in the last seven years, they've seen a surge in complaints about bed bugs. Read the rest of this CTV story.

Woman sues hotel for $20M after bed bug attack
A Chicago woman is suing a New York hotel for $20 million US after she says she suffered more than 500 bed bug bites.  "I was horrified to see all of those bites," Leslie Fox told the Associated Press Wednesday. "My skin felt as if it was on fire and I wanted to tear it off." Read the rest of this CTV News Story

Travel tips for students from ""
How to avoid bedbug problems:

Dog Sniffs Out Bed Bugs in Prominent Ontario Resort

TORONTO - Vaughan based Purity Pest Control Limited was asked to bring in “Inspector Kody”,
one of only 3 or 4 dogs in the world specially trained to “sniff out” bed bugs, to help with an on going bed bug
problem at a well known central Ontario resort. “The pest control company who has the contract for the resort
was having a real problem locating the source of the infestation and it was spreading to more rooms.” says
Michael Goldman, owner of Purity Pest Control Limited. “Bed bugs are very difficult not only to find but to
control and sometimes we as PMPs need specialized equipment. Our equipment happens to walk on all
    The treatment being performed by the pest control company was thorough. Dusting behind wall plates, wall voids, treating behind baseboards, pictures, crack & crevice spraying with a residual insecticide where ever possible. Even going so far as to dust behind smoke detectors on the ceiling. Mattresses and drapes were wrapped and removed. The rooms were stripped down to empty furniture and bed frames but the problem persisted. The owner of the P.C. company finally convinced the resort management to bring in a consultant who uses his nose to detect the bed bugs.
    A progressive and proactive move on the parts of both the P.C. company and the resort, Inspector Kody went through 100 rooms and found bed bug activity in 12 of them. Most were in the main cluster of problem rooms but he detected some in rooms unknown to management at that time. By identifying the rooms with activity, the hotel averted potential embarrassment and legal action.
    So other than Kody finding the “hot spots”, how did Kody help solve the problem?

In a number of rooms that Kody alerted to, his alerts were both in the bathroom and along the adjoining wall
between the bathroom and the bed room. Because of Kody’s incredible sense of smell, it was determined that
the bed bugs were using the pipe chases and plumbing conduits to move from room to room. Once this piece
of the puzzle was determined, treatment in the bathroom wall voids was carried out and the problem controlled.
    “Our inspection service isn’t for every situation. Pest management professionals can control many bed bug situations with their own training and skills but for those cases where the PMP can’t solve the problem and the client is ready to hire another company, Inspector Kody can be of help.
Visit the Inspector Kody Web Site 

Canadian FlagPest Management Regulatory AgencyHealth CanadaGovernment of Canada

Responsible Pesticide Use

Effective Control of Bed Bugs


Long considered eradicated in most metropolitan areas, bed bugs are making a comeback. They are being found in cities across the country, everywhere from homeless shelters to five-star hotels. Contrary to popular belief, the presence of bed bugs does not indicate a lack of cleanliness.

Why Have Bed Bugs Returned?

In the past, insecticides such as DDT helped to keep the bed bug population at bay with residues that continued working after the product was sprayed. Now, with the increase in use of bait traps instead of broad spectrum sprays, specific pests such as ants and cockroaches are being targeted, and bed bugs are no longer being eliminated.

In addition, people now travel more than ever before. Places that see a great deal of turnover such as hotels give bed bugs the opportunity to travel to new locations on luggage or clothing.

Why Are Bed Bugs a Problem?

Bed bugs are nuisances and are generally off-putting to people, but they do not pose any major health risks. As with mosquitoes, people can be allergic to their bites, which can cause swelling, itchy welts and in some cases infections. However, they are not known to carry any blood-borne diseases. Bed bugs are mainly active at night. As they typically feed when people are sound asleep, their bites may not be detected immediately. One species of bed bug feeds primarily on humans, but there are other species that feed on other mammals and on birds. Bed bugs are moved into and around a dwelling through infested furniture and bedding. They can also enter a home or hotel by being carried in on clothing or luggage.

Identifying Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have an oval body and a short, broad head. The body as a whole is broad and flat. Unfed adults are around 6 to 10 mm long, brown and wingless. After feeding, they swell slightly in size and darken to a blood-red colour. The nymphs are shaped like the adults, but are yellow-white in colour.

Itchy welts on skin, blood spots on sheets and/or black or brown spots on mattresses, bed frames or walls often indicate that there is a bed bug infestation.

Bed bugs are also known by several names: wall louse, house bug, mahogany flat, red coat, crimson ramblers as well as others.


The bed bug eggs are white and about 1 mm long, and almost impossible to see on most surfaces. The female bed bug lays about 200 eggs in her lifetime, at a rate of about 3 or 4 per day. The eggs have a sticky coating and are deposited in cracks and crevices, behind woodwork and similar hidden locations. They hatch in 6 to 17 days.

Newly hatched nymphs feed as soon as food is available. A bed bug goes through five moults before it reaches full maturity.

Adults usually live for around 10 months, but can live for a year or more. In a home, where the environment is conducive to their reproduction (their ideal breeding temperature is between 21° to 28°C), bed bugs can breed year round. Bed bugs are wingless and cannot fly or jump, but are able to enter into extremely small locations in the home because of their flattened bodies. Bed bugs can live for several weeks to several months without feeding, depending on the temperature. They can go without feeding for 80 to 140 days;
older bed bugs can go without feeding longer than younger ones. Adults have been known to survive for as long as 550 days (over a year and a half!) without feeding.

What You Can Do Around Your Home

Bed bugs are small and can hide in a myriad of places—under wallpaper, behind picture frames, in electrical outlets, inside box springs, in mattress pads, in night tables… You must be very thorough in order to properly address bed bug infestations. As bed bugs can travel up to 30 m and can be transported in clothing, luggage or other household items, you may have to treat nearby rooms to prevent the infestation from continuing.

If you suspect that you have a bed bug infestation, you can either choose to treat them yourself or you can call in a professional Pest Control Operator. Most of the time, bed bug infestations will require more than one treatment  as well as physical means of control.

Infested areas should be vacuumed carefully with a brush attachment, and the bag should be disposed of immediately afterwards. When inspecting your bed, examine the seams, tufts and crevices of the mattress, box spring, bed frame and headboard carefully. Bed bugs prefer wood and fabric to metal or plastic. Mattresses and box springs should be steam-cleaned. Mattresses can be wrapped in zippered bed encasements, available from allergy supply companies, or wrapped and sealed in plastic film. Mattress pads and sheets should be washed in hot water and dried on the high setting. You may have to remove the cloth underside of the box spring to determine if there are bed bugs inside.

Bed bugs cannot easily climb metal or polished surfaces, and they cannot fly or jump, so treating the legs of beds will help keep them away. Coat the legs with double-sided carpet tape or petroleum jelly. You can also place the legs of the bed inside glass jars or metal cans.

Treating a bed effectively can be quite challenging. Holes or worn spots in the fabric may allow bed bugs to lay eggs in areas not easily reached, and there are restrictions on how insecticides can be used on beds. Carefully examine all night tables, baseboards, dressers, headboards (especially padded ones), electrical outlets, any items stored near or under the bed, any nearby carpeting or rugs, picture frames, switch plates, inside clocks, phones, televisions and smoke detectors—in short, anything and everything that is in the room where the infestation has been noted. Upholstered chairs and sofas can also harbour bed bugs and should be treated with careful vacuuming and laundering of all possible parts (cushions, slipcovers, skirts, etc.).

Controlling Breeding Sites

Any clutter must be reduced or removed entirely. Bed bugs hide in miniscule areas, and any belongings left lying around provide a perfect opportunity for them to hide and continue to breed. Affected bedding and clothing should be bagged and laundered on the high setting, or discarded, as these products cannot be treated by the application of insecticides.

Smaller items that cannot be laundered can sometimes be treated through heating (temperatures greater than 50°C) or freezing. Some items can be wrapped in plastic wrap and placed outdoors on a hot, sunny day, or in sub-zero temperatures in the winter. However, the freezing temperatures must be maintained for a prolonged period of time (e.g., 2 days of cold exposure at 0°C) to ensure that the bed bugs are killed.Trying to raise or lower the temperature in your entire house or apartment will not work to kill the bed bugs.

Vacuuming can be helpful in removing bugs and eggs from carpet, mattresses, walls and other surfaces. It is very important to pay close attention to seams, tufts and edges of mattresses and box springs, and the outer edge of wall-to-wall carpeting. Steam cleaning carpeting can also be effective in killing bugs and eggs not picked up by regular vacuuming.

While bed bugs prefer to feed on humans, they can and will feed on other mammals and birds. Some bed bug species are parasites of bats or birds and may bite people if the wild hosts are not available. If bat bugs or bird bugs are involved, roosting and nesting sites should also be treated, and the animals excluded from the building.

In addition, be cautious about taking in second-hand furniture, bedding, mattresses or beds. At the very minimum, these items should be carefully inspected before being brought into the home in order to protect you and your family.

Chemical Control Methods

Domestic class products available to homeowners will generally contain the active ingredient pyrethrin or diatomaceous earth. Always read the label carefully and be certain that the product purchased is registered for use against your particular pest problem. Care should be used when using pesticides, as many may not be suitable for fabrics, wallpaper, woods or other surfaces due to staining or potential contamination.

Also, several commercial class products are available to professional Pest Control Operators. These may include low-odour sprays, dusts or aerosols; your Pest Control Operator will select the best product for your particular situation.

Note that bed bug infestations can be challenging to treat, and repeat applications may be required. Always follow the label directions on the pesticide to minimize exposure and maximize efficacy of the product. Between applications of pesticide products, use integrated pest management techniques to physically control ongoing or future infestations. These techniques can be found in the Controlling Breeding Sites section of this Pest Note.


    Before Purchasing a Pesticide Product
  • Identify the pest correctly.
  • Use physical control methods and alternatives to pesticides.
  • Read the label directions and safety precautions before buying the product. The label must include the name of the pest to be controlled and the treatment location (e.g., indoor, outdoor, garden uses, pet treatment).
  • Purchase only the quantity of product needed for the treatment.
  • Alternatively, you may choose to hire a licensed pest control operator.

    When Using a Pesticide
  • Carefully read all label instructions and precautions before using pesticides.
  • Do not drink, eat or smoke while applying pesticides.
  • Persons and pets should vacate the area during treatment. Cover or remove aquaria.
  • If kitchen area is to be treated, cover or remove food, dishes and utensils.

    After Handling a Pesticide
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling any pesticide product.
  • Do not permit persons or pets to contact treated surfaces until residue has dried completely.
  • Provide adequate ventilation of treated areas after use.
  • Wipe clean all surfaces that come in direct contact with food, such as counters, tables and stovetops, including indoor and outdoor surfaces.
  • Always store pesticides out of reach of children and pets and away
    from food and beverages.

    In Case of Accidental Poisoning
  • Call a poison control centre immediately and seek medical attention.
  • Take the pesticide container or label with you to the emergency facility or physician.
  • Follow the first aid statements on the label.
  • In case of accidental poisoning of pets, seek veterinary attention immediately.

    When Disposing of Pesticides
  • Do not reuse empty pesticide containers. Wrap and dispose of in household garbage.
  • Unused or partially used pesticide products should be disposed of at provincially or municipally designated household hazardous waste disposal sites.

    Use Common Sense
  • These are general recommendations.
  • Consult the label for specific instructions.
  • When in doubt, contact a professional.


 How To  Get Rid Of Bed Bugs logo

National Geographic News: Reporting Your World Daily

Video: Bedbug Infestations Plaguing Hotels, Houses

October 19, 2006—Just try to sleep tight: Bedbugs are real, and they're not going away anytime soon.

The bloodsucking creatures have been pestering humans since ancient times, and infestations today plague homes, city apartments—even five-star hotels. It can be almost impossible to get rid of the insects, which can hide in tiny nooks and go without food for up to a year.

Join a San Francisco public health official in his war against the bugs, and watch one frustrated city dweller fail—and fail again—to exorcise his dwelling of the creepy crawlers.

National Geographic Digital Media


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