Tips for Dealing with Bed Bugs

bed bugs

  • Bedbugs are small, nocturnal, wingless insects that belong to the family of Cimicidae. They feed on human blood and other warm-blooded hosts. They are oval in shape and grow up to 4-5mm long when fully grown. Their skin color is rust brown to a deeper red brown.
  • Live bedbugs leave clusters of dark brown or black spots of dried excrement on infested surfaces. Bedbugs also exude a subtle, sweet, musty odor.
  • There is no evidence of  disease transmission (i.e. HIV, hepatitis) following the bite of a bed bug.
  • Bed bugs can lie dormant for up to 18 months waiting to feed.
  • Bed bugs will travel up to 150 feet to find a human blood meal
  • Bed bugs are easily confused  with other small household insects, including fleas, carpet beetles, spider beetles, and newly hatched cockroaches (nymphs). If you find an      insect that might be a bed bug, contact the University of Missouri Extension Service insect identification program.
  • Traditional approaches to bed bug control that rely on pesticides are no longer effective. Pesticides are only one tool in a large toolbox of other control measures.  Refer to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency because all three promote evidence-based recommendations for dealing with bed bugs.
  • Overexposure to  do-it-yourself pesticides or other remedies used to control bed bugs is  possibly the most serious health risk related to bed bugs, and the reason they have become so resistant to pesticides. The EPA has a bed bug product  search tool you can use to identify pesticides registered for use against bed bugs in various locations.
  • It is recommended that theowners hire a pest control professional licensed by the MO Department of Agriculture (MDA) to evaluate what type of pest is present, and to exterminate them. The Missouri Department of Agriculture maintains an on-line list of Missouri licensed pesticide applicators.
  • If you want to know more about the health effects your pesticide applicator is using, you can call DHSS-Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology at 573-751-6102