'Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite' is not just a funny thing your grandma used to say.
Bed bugs are real, and here's what you should know about them.
Unlike mosquitoes, bed bugs do not spread disease. But they are a nuisance, and bed bug infestation is on the rise, so it’s a good idea to regularly inspect your home for signs of bed bugs. It's important to learn how to tell if you have bed bugs and what to do if you do.
Bed bugs are small insects that feed on blood. They're called bed bugs because they live in mattresses, bed linens, and in bed headboards. They also live in walls, flooring, and other places near where people sleep.
Bed bugs usually bite at night when you’re sleeping, so most people don’t know that they have them until they’ve been bitten. The sign that you’ve been bitten is an itchy mark or swelling on your skin that appears a few days and sometimes, weeks later.
Unlike mosquitoes, bed bugs do not spread disease. But they are a nuisance, and bed bug infestation is on the rise, so it’s a good idea to regularly inspect your home for signs of bed bugs. If you do have bed bugs, you will need professional help to control them.
What do I do if I find bed bugs?
If you think you have a bed bug infestation in your home or on a private property location, you should contact a licensed professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs.
If you find bed bugs in a hotel or motel, apartment complex, homeless shelter, correctional facility, or other County facilities, please contact San Mateo County Health System at (650) 372-6200.
Here’s a flyer with helpful information on bed bugs: Dont Let the Bed Bugs Bite
How do I know if I have bed bugs?
The best way to know if you have bed bugs is to look for bites on your skin. Bed bug bites usually look like a raised red bump or flat welt (swelling). Their bites itch and they are often mistaken for mosquito or flea bites.
Bed bug bites may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it’s good to look for other signs to know if bed bugs have infested an area.
You can look for small dark spots on your linens or mattress. These spots are fecal matter (bed bug waste).
You can look for signs of bed bugs’ after molting (shedding their outer layer)
You can look for bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets
Sometimes you can smell a sweet musty odor
Where do bed bugs hide?
Bed bugs can be found anywhere, and are usually near the areas where people sleep, including in your home or apartment, hotels, cruise ships, dorm rooms, hospitals, nursing homes, shelters, and on public transportation. Cleanliness has nothing to do with the presence of bedbugs - you can have a perfectly clean, well maintained bedroom and still have bed bugs.
Bed bugs hide during the day and bite at night when people are sleeping. They hide in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards, amd in drapes, cracks in the wall, furniture, under rugs, under wallpaper and inside other cracks near a bed. They usually live within 8 to 10 feet from where people sleep and can travel over 100 feet in one night.
Are bed bugs a threat to my health?
Bed bugs are not known to spread disease but they can be annoying since their bites can cause itching or loss of sleep. A bed bug bite affects everyone differently. Some people will not have any sign that they’ve been bitten, others may get a small itchy bite mark, and some people can have a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered dangerous, but if you have an allergic reaction, you may need medical attention.
How do I avoid getting bed bugs?
Anyone can get beg bugs and everyone is at risk for getting them when you visit any area infected with them. People who travel have a higher risk of being bitten or of spreading bed bugs, since the bugs can hide and travel in suitcases.
Remember, if you think you have a bed bug infestation, you should contact your landlord or a professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. You can also call San Mateo County Health System at (650) 372-6200.