Bed Bug Information

General information about bed bug identification, behavior and biology, the importance of cooperation for prevention and treatment, and the importance of and for prompt written reporting of suspected infestations to the landlord.




Information about Bed Bugs

Bed bug Appearance:
Bed bugs have six legs. Adult bed bugs have flat bodies about 1/4 of an inch in length. Their color can vary from red and brown to copper colored. Young bed bugs are very small. Their bodies are about 1/16 of an inch in length. They have almost no color. When a bed bug feeds, its body swells, may lengthen, and becomes bright red, sometimes making it appear to be a different insect. Bed bugs do not fly. They can either crawl or be carried from place to place on objects, people, or animals. Bed bugs can be hard to find and identify because they are tiny and try to stay hidden.
Life Cycle and Reproduction:
An average bed bug lives for about 10 months. Female bed bugs lay one to five eggs per day. Bed bugs grow to full adulthood in about 21 days.
Bed bugs can survive for months without feeding.
Bed bug Bites: Because bed bugs usually feed at night, most people are bitten in their sleep and do not realize they were bitten. A person’s reaction to insect bites is an immune response and so varies from person to person. Sometimes the red welts caused by the bites will not be noticed until many days after a person was bitten, if at all.
Common signs and symptoms of a possible bed bug infestation:
• Small red to reddish brown fecal spots on mattresses, box springs, bed frames, mattresses, linens, upholstery, or walls.
• Molted bed bug skins, white, sticky eggs, or empty eggshells.
• Very heavily infested areas may have a characteristically sweet odor.
• Red, itchy bite marks, especially on the legs, arms, and other body parts exposed while sleeping. However, some people do not show bed bug lesions on their bodies even though bed bugs may have fed on them.
For more information, see the Internet Web sites of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the National Pest Management Association.

Bed bugs have recently become an issue for cities nationwide. Please see the important facts about bed bug infestations and tips for prevention and management below:

Division of Communicable Disease Control

What You Need to Know about Bed Bugs

Link to original document:

What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. Adult
bed bugs have flat bodies about one-quarter of an inch in length; they are copper colored
and wingless. Young bed bugs are nearly colorless and very small (1/16 inch). Bed bugs do
not fly; they either crawl or are carried from place to place. When a bed bug feeds, its body
swells and becomes bright red, making it appear to be a different insect. In homes, hotels,
or other dwellings, bed bugs feed primarily on human blood, usually at night when people
are sleeping.

Are bed bugs dangerous?
Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease. However, bed bug bites can cause large, itchy
welts on the skin. A person’s reaction to insect bites is an immune response and therefore
varies from person to person. Bed bug bites are usually painless and rarely awaken a
sleeping person. If people are sleeping side by side, one person may have a severe
reaction while the other shows no evidence of being bitten. Sometimes the red welts caused
by the bites will not be apparent until many days after a person was bitten.

How do I know if my home is infested with bed bugs?
If there are bed bugs in your house, you may notice itchy welts on your or your family’s skin.
You may also see the bed bugs or evidence of their presence, such as small bloodstains
from crushed bed bugs or dark spots from bed bug droppings. Bed bugs are found most
often around areas where a person sleeps or rests. These areas include: on or near beds
and bedroom furniture; in the tufts, seams, and folds of mattresses and daybed covers; and
in clutter around sleeping areas. In more severe infestations, bed bugs may spread to
cracks and crevices in bed frames and box springs and be found behind headboards, inside
nightstands, and behind baseboards, pictures, and moldings. It is important to inspect
furniture adjacent to sleeping areas for the presence of bed bugs, as well as behind
loosened wallpaper. Bed bugs may also hide in piles of books, papers, boxes, and around
pet sleeping areas.

How long do bed bugs live?
The typical life span of a bed bug is about ten months. They can survive for weeks to
months without feeding.

Will bed bugs feed on my pets?
Bed bugs will feed on pets, but prefer to feed on humans. Pet sleeping areas should be
inspected and treated by a licensed pest control company.

How can you get rid of bed bugs?
The California Department of Public Health, Vector-Borne Disease Section, recommends
that property owners hire a pest control professional licensed by the California Department
of Consumer Affairs (DCA), Structural Pest Control Board to evaluate what type of pest is
present and to exterminate them if necessary.

Time and money can be wasted attempting to eliminate an infestation if an insect is not
identified properly. Controlling and removing bed bugs involves different procedures than
the removal of other pests and will require multiple visits. A pest control professional should perform a thorough inspection, and when bed bug hiding places are found, provide
chemical or non-chemical means of control to the infested rooms. A professional may use
pesticides and specialized equipment, such as steam cleaners, to kill the bed bugs. After
two or three weeks, ensure that the pest control professional returns for follow-up treatment. Usually, at least two treatments are necessary to eliminate bed bugs.

It is important to cooperate fully with all of the pest control company’s recommendations.
These recommendations may include washing clothing and linens and reducing clutter in
infested rooms. All materials removed from a bed bug infested room should be placed in
tightly sealed plastic garbage bags before being thrown away or taken to a laundry facility.
This will prevent bed bugs from being moved to other areas of the structure. Licensed
applicators should provide proof of their licensure and their company’s licensure upon
request. Visit or call DCA, Structural Pest Control Board at (916) 561-8704 to confirm that the company is certified.

How does a property become infested with bed bugs?
In most cases, bed bugs are moved from infested areas to non-infested areas on clothing,
luggage, furniture, or bedding that is brought into homes.

How can I prevent bed bugs from entering my home?
Some infestations can be prevented by washing clothing and bedding immediately after
returning from a trip. Inspect all used beds, box springs, sofas, upholstered chairs, and
bedding for signs of bed bugs before bringing them into your home.

Should I report a bed bug infestation to local authorities?
Yes. Bed bugs are considered a public health nuisance and when found in hotels, prisons,
nursing homes, hospitals and public transportations should be reported to the local county
health or environmental health department.

Where can I get more information?
• Vector-Borne Disease Section at the California Department of Public Health:
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: