Bed bugs are an incredible nuisance and difficult to get rid of. No home is immune to a bed bug infestation. In the last decade, bed bugs have begun making a comeback across the United States.
Bed bugs are imperceptible, vampire-like insects that feed on human blood. They do not, however, have a history of being disease carriers. Bed bugs bite exposed areas of skin, causing itchy welts, and may aggravate certain allergies. Bed bugs travel easily through small holes and crevices, clothes and other fabric. Therefore, infestations spread rapidly and immediate action is essential in counteracting the bug invasion.
This pamphlet is intended to serve as a resource to help residents understand what bed bugs are and how to keep infestations from spreading. If you have any questions or comments about this or any other subject, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 718-246-4889.
Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman
Member of Assembly
341 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and have flat, rusty-red-colored oval bodies. When bed bugs feed, their bodies swell and become brighter red. They often hide in cracks in furniture, floors and walls and are usually active at night when people are sleeping. Bed bugs can live for several months without food or water.
The approximate size of an adult bed bug is about 1/4” in length.
(shown here actual size)
What does a bed bug bite feel and look like?
Most bed bug bites are initially painless, but later turn into large, itchy skin welts.
Although bed bugs are a nuisance, they are not known to spread disease.
In most cases, people carry bed bugs into their homes unknowingly. Bed bugs can travel in luggage, furniture, bedding and clothing, and also through small cracks and crevices in walls and floors.
Itchy welts will appear on your skin. You may also see the bed bugs themselves, small bloodstains from when they get crushed, or dark spots from their droppings.
Pest control professionals licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation can get rid of bed bugs by using pesticides. Talk with a professional about safe use of pesticides and make sure he/she:
Uses the latest toxic pesticide
Follows instructions and warnings on product labels
Advises you about staying out of treated rooms and when it’s safe to reenter
Treats mattresses and sofas by applying small amounts of pesticides on seams only. Pesticides should never be sprayed on top of mattresses or sofas
What else can I do?
The key to getting rid of bed bugs is to clean, disinfect and eliminate their hiding places. Suggestions include:
Reducing clutter to limit hiding places for bed bugs
Scrubbing infested surfaces with a stiff brush to dislodge eggs
Using a powerful vacuum to remove bed bugs from cracks and crevices, paying particular attention to seams, tufts and edges of mattresses and box springs, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpets. Afterward, dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed trash bag
Encasing infested mattresses and box springs in special mattress bags. Any bugs trapped in the sealed bags will eventually die
Exposing the bed bugs to freezing temperatures below 32° F. The chilling period must last for a minimum of two weeks
Washing clothes and bedding that have been exposed to bed bugs and running them through a hot dryer cycle — 120oF minimum. Bed bugs die when exposed to heat