Learn All About The Cimex Lectularius

What are Bedbugs?

They are small insects that feed on both animal blood and human blood. These insects have been around for centuries, and they are so well-adapted to feeding on human that most people may not be aware when they are being bitten. They generally feed when people are sitting calmly or sleeping, and they particularly enjoy feeding at night. Adults can survive for more than a year without feeding, which is one adaptation that has ensured survival.

During the middle of the 20th century, they were in decline in America. Perhaps this was because people were knowledgeable about their existence and frequently used pest control methods to control them. However, in the past few decades, people’s worries diminished because their rare presence in homes. In the past few years, the United States has seen a dramatic increase in the number of reports.

Today, many people are still ignorant about them. Some people believe they are immune to the problem as long as they keep a clean house. That is not true. People also generally believe they are a problem only for the lower-class. That is not true either. Any home or dwelling can become infested, regardless of how clean or tidy it is, and so that is why people should educate themselves.

What do they look like?

They are small, only about 1/4 of an inch in length. Their color is usually reddish-brown, though they are sometimes a much lighter straw color. They are sometimes referred to as Mahogany Flats, probably because they are flat and oval-shaped. They are similar in size to an apple seed or a lady bug. Baby bugs are significantly smaller than adults, and they measure smaller than 6 mm. They are six-legged creatures, and the upper part of their bodies contains gold-colored hair. They have visible antennae and cone-like eyes.

what do they look like

The males have a sharp flap on the back of their bodies, while the female of the species has a body that ends in a rounded or curved segment. The upper body of both the males and females is often described as being wrinkly like crinkled paper. They emit a musty, sweet odor from glands located on their thorax.

The term given to an immature bedbug is “nymph.” Nymphs are small, and they shed their skins regularly before they reach adulthood. These immature bugs must eat a meal before they shed, and they shed about five times before they become mature insects.

They are not flying insects, though they are somewhat mobile. They tend to be found around places where people recline or sleep, and they generally don’t venture too far away from such areas.

What should I know about their habitat and feeding habits?

They generally live in small groups as opposed to nests or hives. The bugs lay eggs, and the eggs hatch into incredibly small nymphs, only about 1/16th of an inch long. The nymphs go through molten stages and grow into adult size in about 5 weeks.

They reproduce quickly. The females of the species lay between 1 to 12 eggs daily, and throughout their short lifetime, they can produce up to 500 eggs. Generally, the bugs lay eggs and grow the fastest in temperatures around 80°F.

The bugs mostly feed on the blood of humans, but they have been known to drink the blood of other animals, such as bats, guinea pigs, chicken, cats, dogs, certain birds and rodents. They can survive as much as a year without food, though spending such a long time without feeding is not typical. However, they are generally able to easily wait up to seven months without food. They can also survive for as long as a year and a half with no oxygen. Once fed, they turn dark red in color, and the bug will also appear bloated in the same way that fattened ticks become round after a feeding.

Life Cycle

What should I know about their life cycle?

Throughout her lifetime, the female of the species will lay hundreds of eggs. The eggs are small, only about a mm in length, which means they are extremely difficult to detect with the naked eye. The eggs are sticky and white, and the female deposits the eggs into hidden locations, such as crevices and dark places. The eggs are laid in grouped clusters of anywhere from 1- to 50 in each group. They generally take between 6 and 17 days to hatch. Once hatched, a young bug, also called a nymph, is generally ready to feed immediately.

After shedding its skin about 5 times, the nymph is full-grown. Their lifespan is about 10 months, though many of them live longer than 1 year.

nymph skin

How They Affect People

How do people come in contact with them?

They crawl out to feed on human blood at night. They insert their long beaks into human skin and suck out the blood. A feeding may take a couple of minutes or as many as ten minutes. The bugs typically feed on ankles, face, hands, arms, neck, the lower half of the body, or place on the body where flesh is exposed. When the bug bites, it injects an anesthetic through its saliva. This anesthetic numbs the pain. Therefore, most often people do not know when they are being bitten. Once fed, the bug crawls back to its hiding place.

Days after being bitten, many people develop a welt or itchy bump on the skin later. Some people do not realize that this physical mark is from a bite. Instead, people commonly assume they have been bitten by a mosquito or a flea.

There are a few warning signs that a certain bite may be caused by them. Take note of any of the following:

  • bloody stains on bedding
  • dark-colored stains on sheets (insect excrement)
  • a sweet or musty smell in a room (emitted by the insects’ scent glands)
  • shed skins or fecal matter stains

bite marks

Recent Resurgence

How problematic is the issue?

In recent years, the United States has seen an increase. These bugs are a pest and they may cause itchy spots and discomfort. However, they are not believed to transmit infections or diseases.

What is responsible for the recent resurgence?

Some experts believe the higher incidence is caused by three important factors. One is that there has been an increase in travel, both foreign and domestic. Increased travel has allowed bugs to spread because the insects are often transported via luggage and clothing.

A lack of public awareness may have also contributed to the problem. Most people are ignorant about the ways they can be transported. Travelers do not know to check hotel rooms and luggage. People do not know how to check their homes for the existence of these critters either.

Up until the 1940s, they were fairly common in the United States. People were more conscience of their existence, and so, gradually, the presence began to decline due to pesticides used during the ‘40s and ‘50s. However, pesticides have recently been restricted in the past few decades due to concerns about threats to human health. This restriction in pesticide use has probably led to more cases.

A third reason for the rise in cases is due to evolution. These insects are now resistant to many pesticides. This resistance makes them more difficult to control.

Common Locations

Some people believe that they are only found in developing nations, but that is not true. They are found all around the world, in Africa, Europe, Asia, North America and South America. Another common misconception is that they are only found in cluttered and/or filthy houses and motels. That is not true either. They have been found at exclusive resorts and well-respected hotels. In fact, common places where they’re found are as follows:

  • single-family homes
  • multi-family homes
  • apartment buildings and complexes
  • schools
  • hotels, motels
  • hospitals
  • dorm rooms

They are most commonly found in and around beds and other areas people sleep. As mentioned above, they may infest dorm rooms, apartment complexes, shelters, motels, and even public transportation systems such as buses and trains. Some people believe that the bugs are limited to beds, but that is not true. They can also live in couches, behind picture frames, in chair cushions, behind electric sockets and in baseboard crevices, basically anywhere around a home or dwelling.

The bugs generally hide during daylight hours and then come out at night to feed. However, they have been known to surface at any time of the day, especially if they are hungry. After feeding, they usually hide in places such as headboards, bed frames, mattresses and bed springs, underneath wallpaper and inside dressers.


They do not generally travel far from people’s sleeping and lounging areas, but they have been known to move more than 100 feet at night when venturing out to feed. They are also notorious for burrowing and squeezing themselves into the smallest spaces.

Though the bugs can survive in clean environments, spaces that are cluttered or messy generally create a habitat in which they can easily find shelter. In terms of temperature, the bugs and their eggs can live in extremely hot and cold temperatures if they have time to adjust to such conditions. However, they do prefer to live in moderate temperatures of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the primary stages of infestation, they are generally found around a mattress because they come out at night and feed on human blood. However, as the infestation progresses, the bugs spread out and move into and under other surfaces. When searching, it is important to look inside and underneath every surface and crevice. They like dark, secluded places. When looking for the bugs, it is important to know that the bugs typically hide in the following locations:

  • inside drawers
  • in and under upholstered furniture, such as sofas, chairs and beds
  • under baseboards,
  • on pajamas or other sleeping clothes
  • underneath wallpaper
  • under loose carpet and under rugs
  • along and inside all parts of a mattress
  • inside box springs
  • between curtain folds
  • inside phones, clocks and stereos
  • inside cracked plaster
  • around the casings of doors and windows
  • behind all wall decorations, including posters and paintings

Which cities and states in the United States are most heavily affected?

Infestations have been on the rise in the past several years. In fact, the United States has seen a 500% increase in the number of infestations in recent years. According to pest control companies, the problem is occurring across the nation. People are reporting issues on both coasts and in all of the states in between. The problem is not limited to a certain geographical area or region. However, New York City has seen a particularly large number of cases, perhaps due to the city’s large population.

How do I know if my home is at risk for infestation?

The bugs are being found in all types of housing and dwellings. They are found in multi-family structures, single-family homes and apartments. Some hotels, motels and hospitals have also reported a problem. Anyone who spots what they think could be a bedbug should contact a pest control company for consultation.

How to Handle Bites

What does a bite look like?

The bites don’t look any particular way. Some people may not have any visible bite marks. On the other end of that spectrum, other people may have large welts. Some people describe the bites as feeling and looking like a flea or mosquito bite.

What should I do if I’m bitten?

Most people are oblivious to being bitten, and this makes it difficult to detect their presence at all. Regardless of whether a person detects a bite, the bugs can drink as much as 6 times its weight. After a feeding, the bug will look visibly larger and swollen.

After a bite, people’s bodies respond to bug bites in different ways. Some may not have a reaction to the bite at all, whereas, others may exhibit a tiny bite mark on the skin. Still others will have large, itchy welts as a result of a bite. However, bite marks and welts often take a few days to show up on the skin. Many people mistake these bites for flea, tick or mosquito bites.

In rare cases, some people have experienced an allergic reaction to bites. Anyone who has an allergic reaction to them should certainly seek immediate medical help. If bitten, the bite should be washed carefully with soap and water. People who suffer from itching and irritation from bites should not scratch. Instead, they should use over-the-counter creams and antihistamines. These products can help minimize itching and irritation. Warm compresses held against the skin can also help ease irritation. If the wound shows any signs of infection, seek emergent healthcare treatment. Signs of infection may include tenderness or pain around the wound and discharge, especially if it is yellow, white or green in color.

Common Worries

If anything, one of the most common fears people have is whether or not their friends and neighbors will find out that they have a problem. Admitting that one’s home is infested with any type of bug is embarrassing, but admitting that the bug is a blood-sucking night-crawler is perhaps most embarrassing. Many people are ashamed to admit they have bugs because they are worried about being stigmatized as dirty or low-class.

Bugs may also cause people to have psychological worries. Some people feel itchy or ill at ease just from knowing that they have been spotted in a particular location. Pest control experts can help exterminate the physical problem, but people’s negative reactions may be more self-damaging than the actual bug. A person who has found bugs in their mattress may feel jittery, even after they’ve bought a new mattress and gone through extensive extermination procedures. Paranoia is also common among people who have had a problem. Even those who have never had bugs in their home are paranoid just from hearing horror stories.

Am I at risk of contracting an illness?

Though it is believed that they don’t transmit illnesses or diseases, people should not scratch bites because it can lead to a secondary infection or illness. Young children and those who have health issues are most at-risk for secondary infection because of their weakened immune system and their inability to stop scratching the bug bites.

illness transition

Though most experts agree that they don’t transmit diseases, the bugs are known to carry and harbor about 30 different pathogens. Recently, some researchers in Vancouver, Canada, claimed that MRSA, also known as staphylococcus aureus, was found inside crushed bedbugs. Furthermore, the virus for Hepatitis B has also been found in bugs after they have feed on a host that carried the virus. It is believed that they virus can exist in the bugs for as long as 60 days after consuming the blood. However, further research must be conducted to determine if humans are at risk of contracting staph aureus and Hepatitis B from bug bites.

Though they are not considered a health hazard, they are a nuisance. They can cause people to lose sleep due to itching and discomfort. Also, the knowledge that they do or have inhabited a certain area can make a person uncomfortable. The person may fear the bugs, and this may cause them to behave in a paranoid way. The mere thought or mention can repulse people.

Pest Control Treatment

What makes them so difficult to exterminate?

One reason they’re hard to control is that they are so elusive. These small creatures can even fit into crevices and spaces as small as the edge of a credit card. They spread quickly throughout a living space. They may move rapidly from one hotel room to another. They may also spread throughout the rooms of a home or an apartment dwelling. In addition to spreading within rooms, they can also spread from one person to another via clothing, bags or luggage.

Another reason that they’re hard to exterminate is that they can survive for over a year without eating; this means that homeowners and even exterminators may sometimes think they have eliminated the problem, when in actuality the bugs have simply hidden themselves away.

A third reason that they’re so resilient is that they can survive extreme temperatures, anywhere from near freezing to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

One obvious reason they’re are so resilient is that they reproduce in a simple, quick way. The male of the species simply stabs the female in the side to impregnate her. The female will often go off alone to avoid being stabbed to death. Once she has separated herself from the other bugs, she generally lays her eggs elsewhere, which hatch away from the previous location, thus allowing the bugs to spread out. However, the bugs generally do not spread too far from their host because they are unable to detect their food source if they are more than five feet away.

What can people do to control the problem?

Some people believe that sleeping with the lights on or spraying their body with insecticide can deter these critters; however, this is not true. Sleeping with lights on will not prevent them from coming out to feed. In fact, the bugs may even come out during daylight hours if they are hungry. Spraying the bed or your body with insecticides does not typically work because these sprays do not repel them.

There are several things people can do to help control the problem. For starters, everyone who purchases second-hand furniture should be sure to check for infestation, particularly in beds and sofas or other furniture items on which a person may sleep, recline or lounge. They may hide in upholstered furniture, between the cracks in wicker furniture, and in the cracks and crevices of just about any type of furniture.

When staying in a hotel, check in and around the bed for signs of them, like their skins and their eggs. Look in the mattress seams, around and behind the headboard, along the box spring and in all other dark places and crevices. Be sure to check behind any cracks in wallpaper as well. Do not unpack travel bags until you have completed a thorough inspection. Do not put suitcases or bags on the floor in your hotel room. Once you have returned home from your trip, be sure to check your bags thoroughly for any signs that you have transported bugs in your luggage. You should also wash and clean your belongings carefully and immediately.

It is also important to observe good housekeeping habits at home. Eliminating clutter can reduce the number of places to hide. Vacuuming floors and cleaning furniture can also be helpful. However, the public should also be aware that keeping a clean household does not guarantee that they won’t become an issue. These pests can live in the very cleanest and tidiest of houses and hotels. Bugs need only two things—a warm temperature in which to hide, and human or animal blood to feed on.

Other key things that may help eliminate problems are:

  • Place glue boards under the bed’s legs. As an alternative these legs could also be placed in soapy water or talc-dusted metal caps.

  • Dust the bed’s legs with talcum powder or oil them with petroleum jelly, or use double-side tape designed for carpeting
  • Extermination from mattresses by exposing the mattress to extreme temperatures. In order to do this, use a vacuum, hair dryer or heat gun.
  • Use caulk to seal any cracks or crevices around the house.
  • Observe good housekeeping practices that will lower the risk of attracting birds and rodents to the house. Having bats or mice in a home may encourage infestation because the bugs also feed on the blood of such small animals.
  • Homeowners should also seal any cracks located in their home. When returning from vacations and trips, it is also imperative to check all luggage and bags.

When a home is infested, it is important to treat the issue carefully and properly. Many pesticide treatments can be purchased over-the-counter, but some experts believe they’re resistant to all over-the-counter treatments. If one decides to purchase over-the-counter pesticides, it is important to always follow instructions on product labels. Pesticides designed for outside use should never be used inside a home or dwelling.

There are several key things a person should do once they suspect a problem:

  • Strip bedding and pillows from beds and look for bugs, skins and/or excrement

  • remove the cover of the box spring and search the wood frame and seams
  • check for signs underneath the fabric of the bed’s wood frame

If any signs are found during the thorough inspection described above, then be sure to do the following:

  • Clean curtains, clothing, pillows, drapes and all bed linens in hot water

  • Dry the above items on the hottest dryer setting possible
  • For items that cannot be washed, such as shoes, put them in the dryer and set it to the hottest setting possible
  • Scrub the mattress with a stiff-bristled brush
  • Vacuum the bedroom and mattress. Remember to remove the vacuum bag immediately after use, place it into a plastic bag, dispose of the plastic bag outside in a covered garbage bin.
  • Because they can live as long as a year without feeding, be sure to wrap both your box spring and mattress in a tight, zipper covering. This covering will keep bugs from escaping and feeding, which will eventually kill them.
  • Minimize household clutter
  • Glue wallpaper so that it is flat against the wall; this eliminates a common hiding place for bugs.
  • Close any crevices around the home and fix any cracks in plaster to eliminate additional hiding places.
  • Dispose of any infected mattresses and/or box springs. Be sure to rid the home of pests so that the new mattress and bedding will not be infested.

Some experts also believe that Neem oil can act as a repellent. Neem is a natural oil, and it can be purchased over-the-counter. The aforementioned measures should be taken whenever a person has a bedbug problem. However, taking these measures may not be enough to completely eliminate the problem. It is always best to seek professional help. Consult a pest control center. A professional will be able to assess the dwelling and determine if there is a problem. If there is a problem, the pest control professional can suggest the best method of extermination.

Most extermination methods will include some type of chemical treatment. Pesticide treatment—particularly if done inside a home—can pose a health hazard to humans. So it is important to follow product labels. Do not use chemicals or other products on mattresses, clothing or bed linens unless the product advises that it is safe to do so. Many insecticides can be effective, but they must be placed directly onto the body of the bugs. Because working with chemicals can be dangerous, it is always best to have these treatments handled by a professional with the proper training and certification.

In fact, recent health reports have illustrated the danger of bug control chemicals to human health. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which tracks injuries in eight different U.S. states, revealed that more than 400 people were injured and/or became ill after using bug bombs in their homes in 2008. These “bombs” are foggers set off inside a home to exterminate bugs. While most of these injuries were of low severity, a few were serious in severity. These cases illustrate the fact that pest control, especially with the use of chemicals, can be harmful. All product labels should be followed carefully. If you are uncertain about how to use a particular product or you have any questions, you should contact the National Pesticide Info Center at 1(800) 858-7378. You may speak to someone at this number between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. seven days per week.

As indicated above, before beginning an over-the-counter treatment or any treatment plan, it is best to consult with a professional pest control center. A professional can verify if they are causing the problem at hand, they can also determine the best elimination strategy. This strategy could be simple and short or it could be lengthier and more extensive depending on the severity of the problem. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can provide additional information concerning treatment.

Government Help

What is the U.S. government doing to alleviate the problem?

Recently, newspapers and other media have reported problems in many American cities. New York City is probably the city with the most-televised reports; however, they are a problem nationwide, and any household can be infested.

Due to their resurgence, the U.S. government has taken several measures to help alleviate the problem. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the government agency that is perhaps most involved with educating people about the bugs and helping to control them. According to a 2010 Newsweek article, the EPA hosted a conference in 2009 for the specific purpose of discussing possible solutions to the issue. During the conference, which was aptly called the “Bed Bug Summit,” EPA officials addressed the following issues:

  • research plans and methods

  • the role of government in addressing the problem
  • consumer education
  • responsibilities of property managers in pest control treatment
  • proper training for pest control professionals

Attendees of the conference included public health officers, expert pest control specialists and U.S. government agents. These experts and agents set several goals and agendas during the meeting. Since 2009, many of the recommendations made at the conference have been put into effect. According to the EPA, extensive research is being conducted by the Department of Ag. The government has even created something called the Bed Bug Interagency Task Force, which consists of several government agencies working together to understand and alleviate the problem. Representative from several government agencies belong to the task force, including:

  • USDA
  • CDC
  • Dept. of Health and Human Services
  • EPA
  • Dept. of Housing and Urban Development

The EPA has also made information from the bedbug summit available to the general public. To read more about topics and solutions discussed at the summit, visit the EPA website at www.epa.gov.

In addition to creating a task force, the government has also allocated additional resources, funding and manpower to help solve the problem. The EPA is working with both local and state agencies to understand the problem and talk about potential solutions.

Myths and Additional Questions

I can’t see them without a microscope, can I?

Some people think they are too tiny to spot with their naked eyes. This is not true. Though the eggs and nymphs are tiny and hard to spot, adults are more than big enough to see with the naked eye.

They are harmless. I should not worry about them, should I?

Most experts agree that they do not spread illnesses, but they can cause mental and emotional trouble. It may be hard to sleep knowing that little critters may crawl out to feed on your blood. It would also be embarrassing to have company staying at your house if you have an infestation. You do not want to be bitten, and you certainly do not want houseguests to complain of them or have any type of allergic reaction to the bugs.

I don’t sleep in a wooden bed. My bed is metal, so I don’t have to worry about them, do I?

Experts agree that wooden beds are more comfortable for bugs than metal ones. However, the bugs are capable of climbing up metal railings and headboards. They can also climb over glass as well. Even worse, having a metal bed may make it more difficult to notice an infestation because metal beds give the bugs less places around the bed to hide. Therefore, the bugs burrow into hiding spaces that are less obvious.

I do not have to call pest control to eliminate bugs. I can do it myself, right?

There are many things you can do to eliminate the bugs, such as all of the aforementioned tips. However, pest control companies can give expert advice based on personal experience. Also, some severe infestations may require chemical treatments. While some homeowners try to alleviate their problem with kerosene, alcohol and other fluids and chemicals, they should realize that these substances are fire hazards and can be extremely dangerous, especially when used inside a home. It is important to only use chemicals you are knowledgeable about, and be sure to ventilate the home.

I threw my bed and mattress away. I’m rid of those bugs now, right?

Wrong. As mentioned above, they most commonly live in beds and mattresses, but you should check all around your bedroom. They sometimes live several feet away from their host, so check bedside tables, all furniture, rugs, carpet and everything else in the bedroom as well. When and if you do dispose of a mattress, bed or other furniture, be sure to wrap it in plastic to prevent bugs from escaping and infesting other areas. You do not want to spread the bugs to other rooms. You do not want to spread them to your neighbors either. Another good idea is to destroy discarded items so that people will not mistake them as re-usable.

I do not travel much, so I don’t have to worry. Am I right?

Traveling and transporting the bugs home with you is definitely one of the most common ways to infest your home. However, it is important to realize that they can also be transmitted in various other ways. Guests in your home may bring the bugs in via their clothes or tote bags. You can also pick them up when riding public transportation, such as buses or trains. Actually, you can pick them up just about anywhere. Recently in New York City, a Nike store had to shut down one of its locations due to an infestation.

Sometimes the insects travel without a human carrier. If you live in an apartment, the bugs may crawl into your living space through walls that you share with neighbors. The insects can also move through vents and other small spaces. If there are reports of bugs in a multi-family housing space or apartment complex, it is important to let management and neighbors know about the problem. Everyone should get together, discuss where the bugs were last seen, talk about ways to prevent them from spreading, and inform everyone of what to do to look for signs of the bugs. Keeping quiet about the issue is one of the worst things you can do. Silence may make the problem worse.

It is too cold/hot where I live to worry about bugs. I can live worry-free, can’t I?

No, they have adapted to both hot and cold temperatures. In fact, they have been known to infest places as cold as Canada and Russia. They have also been a problem in extremely warm places, such as Mexico and the Southern United States. People living in such climates should be just as careful about prevention as everyone else.

My partner has itchy bite marks, but I don’t. This means his bites are caused by mosquitoes or some other critter. It can’t be bedbugs, right?

It is important to remember that two people may react to bites in different ways. The person you sleep with may show signs of being bitten, while you may never show any symptoms at all, or vice versa.

Additional Questions

If I need more information, who should I contact?

Per the EPA website, the government has set up 10 regional offices as points of contact. The regions are divided as follows depending on the state in which you live:

For Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, the contact person is Robert Koethe. He can be reached at (617) 918-1535 or koethe.robert@epa.gov. Mailed correspondence can be sent to 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA 02109.

Those living in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands should contact Marcia Anderson in Region 2. Her contact phone number is (732) 906-6842, and her email address is anderson.marcia@epa.gov. The mailing address is 2890 Woodbridge Avenue, Edison, NJ 08837.

The U.S. states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia are classified under Region 3. The point-of-contact is John Butler, and the phone number to call is (215) 814-2127. Mr. Butler can be reached via email at butler.john@epa.gov. The mailing address is 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Region 4 consists of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi. The person to contact is Phillip Beard at beard.phillip@epa.gov or (404) 562-9012. Mailed correspondence should be sent to Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center 61 Forsyth Street, SW Atlanta, GA 30303.

Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio all belong to Region 5. You may call Donald Baumgartner at (312) 886-7835 or via email at baumgartner.donald@epa.gov. The mailing address is 77 West Jackson Blvd, LC-8J Chicago, IL 60604.

Region 6 consists of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. Greg Weiler is the contact person, and he can be reached via email at weiler. gregory@epa.gov or by phone at (214) 665-7564. The office mailing address is 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200 6PD, Dallas, Texas 75202.

Inquiries coming from the states of Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas should be directed to Mark Lesher in Region 7. The phone number to call is (913) 551-7054, and the email address is lesher.mark@epa.gov. Mailed inquiries should be sent to 901 North Fifth Street, Kansas City, KS 66101.

Region 8 encompasses the states of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. Margaret Collins can be reached at (303) 312-6023 or collins.margaret@epa.gov. Written correspondence should be mailed to 1595 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO 80202.

Residents of Arizona, Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, Nevada, and California belong to Region 9. The contact person is Norman Calero. The contact phone number is (415) 972-3793, and the email address is calero.norman@epa.gov. You may mail questions and other correspondence to 75 Hawthorne Street in San Francisco, CA 94105.

Region 10 consists of Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Washington. Juliann Barta is the EPA representative. Ms. Barta can be reached at (206) 553-1495 or barta. juliann@epa.gov. The office mailing address is 1200 6th Avenue (OCE-084), Seattle, WA 98101.

For further information, visit the EPA website at www.epa.gov/bedbugs.

39 Responses to Learn All About The Cimex Lectularius

  1. maria buethe says:

    I am concerned about having bedbugs after having someone ride in my car that discovered he had them in his house. Additionally, I have hugged this person and his family and I am very concerned that my husband and I may have transported them into our house. We have steamed the car and washed all our clothes , dried them twice and it looks like there is nothing more that we can do. Is there anymore precautions we an take. I am affraid to hug my friends in church or other places because of the bedbug problem being so expensive to stop.

  2. Eyevette Newbill says:

    Hi I just move to Oklahoma Tulsa someone gave me a bed it had bed bugs in it we all have bits on us what can I do I dont have alot of money to fix this problem

  3. Stephen Olsson says:

    I think you should create a Facebook page where people can add replies. Especially hints and tricks on how to fight the bedbug problem. I work at a rehab Where extermination chemicals is a no-go so I’ve come up with some ideas on how to slow them down.

    We’ve even tried the $8,000 heat treatment, but they came back. Now I read about this Neem oil your site mentions. Where can I get that?

    Maybe with a Facebook page we All can come up with the ultimate revelation on how to stop these Critters.

    Bounce drier sheets seem to deter them too…

    • Abby says:

      Another thing that deters bedbugs is Lavender. My friend was infested and he wa\shed all of his daughter’s clothes and bathed her in lavender soaps and her bites did not get worse. He even started using it himself. He said he smelled like a woman, but at least he could sleep at night. This might be a helpful hint to deter these buggers until you can an exterminator. His neighbor also found out thatb he had them and sprayed the apartment hallway and door frame with them and they did noot travel to his apartment.

    • Dustys mama says:

      I am sleeping on my new couch right now. Can I put the dryer sheets under the cushions ?

    • Lisa Chitwood says:

      Yes i agree with the facebook page. Good idea. that way we could get on and check it regularly and would have a placee to ask questions and post pics.

  4. Anita Clark says:

    Very indepth information about bed bugs. Honestly, I did not know that much about them but feel educated after reading/watching this blog. Very nice.

  5. Very helpful and compelling information. Thank you for posting it. I hope you will add information about how Bed Bug K9 Scent teams, like Carolina Bed Bug Dog, have become an important tool in tracking the location of the bugs in their hiding places. Many times the bugs are hiding in places that we simply cannot see them. Bed bug dogs, like Abby at Carolina Bed Bug Dog, can smell them under carpet, in crevices, in furniture, behind picture frames, and more. carolinabedbugdog.com would welcome your questions.

  6. Bonnie says:

    How can i make sure my cat does not carry them to my new house

  7. Donewithbb says:

    I recommend Diatomaceous Earth and getting a hypoallergenic bed cover. I put the powder in the seams of my bed and around the perimeter of my room and closet. Check your bed every night for any residue from the bugs. They should die within a week or two as they will eventually encounter the powder.

    It gets better. Just hang in there.

  8. Linda O'Brien says:

    This is a really good website, very informative. I have been providing pest control services for 17 years, including bed bug services for about 10 years in Massachusetts. There is a new product called The Bed Bug Gutter which is a perimeter pitfall trap (it’s a channel that you put around the bedrooms against the baseboards), and it stops the bed bugs from travelling from room to room and apartment to apartment. It also catches and kills the bed bugs. It is eco friendly and I use it in tough bed bug jobs and in offices and other places that you can’t use chemicals. It’s a monitor and a trap. I’m not using it as a preventive device. It might be able to be used that way…I just haven’t used it for that. And, it’s no silver bullet. It’s just another tool to catch and kill bedbugs. But, it has been very helpful in highly infested cases. I also use the Bed Bug Doughnuts for the bed legs of the bed. I use them as monitoring tools and traps. Just thought I’d throw my two cents in.

  9. Matt says:

    I recently sent one of my workers home, after he showed me his bedbug bites, and instructed him not to return to work without a doctor’s note. I’m now paranoid that his cubicle may be invested. What can I do to ensure that neither me or anyone else in the office become affected? I’m scared to even clean his desk because I don’t want to take the bugs home with me!

  10. porcha mcglocton says:

    omg bed bugs are just nasty but u cant do nothing when u have them

  11. nockole barns says:

    Look dont treat with heat if u do you problem will come back.Use a none toxek spray of tocsonamy disen fectin and thin dry your shets but not top blanket do bottem first and thin top thee more you wash them together to more they spreed so bottem thin top and thin u should see a change in things…Do you have kids that are waken up with bites if so u may wanna get docters to give them special meds that are good for them.

    Do all people get bed bugs more thin 1 time or 2 because my frind keeps getn them over and over she trys everything helpppp us plz,,,…?????

  12. Linda says:

    i had a lazy boy chair that i use to sit in alot and slept in it. I found i full of bed bugs .. i had a couple of break out bits thinking it was hives..but it was not..i did realize i had bed bugs until i moved into a new apartment..i found the chair and threw it away immediately when i seen these bugs.. i have vaccumed and i have not seen another bug.. but where i was bit before .. when i get nervous those few areas itch? doe that mean i am getting bite again or can these same area of the original bite was itch again.. without them being “NEW” bites? Could have the bugs just been located in my chair and no where else in the house.. I didnt sleep in my bed so there was no indication of bugs at all … only in that chair… could these be the truth .. bugs where just in that chair only? and no where else?

  13. Jessica C says:

    i have like the redness and the itchiness and i can’t get rid off it and it looks horrible
    would somebody help me and im close to go in school and people are gonna look at me they will not like me aymore how do i take it out…. >_<

    • Lisa Chitwood says:

      I was wondering if they scare? my bites have gotten so bad before that ive had to go to dr. and get antibiotics and 50 dollar cream. went away and got better for a few months. But i have some serious dark colored spots or scars on me. its embarrasing!!!

  14. Louis says:

    If you spray your bed and frame heavily, then put double sided carpet tape around the bed legs, will this prevent bedbugs from crawling up onto the bed? What about putting 2″ wide packing tape around the bed legs; will the slick surface prevent them from crawling up to the bed?

  15. Dustys mama says:

    I am going threw right now. It has gotten that I am ashamed and can’t go to church afraid someone will see my bites. Thank GOD its getting cooler, I am getting some long white sleeved shirts to wear. I have been sleeping on my new couch that I bought last November (2011) and got infested when I moved into my new apartment. I talked to the manger and she said there was no bugs in this apartment. What can I do ? I didn’t bring nothing into this new place they had to been here.

  16. venkat says:


    Any idea how to recover from bed bugs after pest control. What vegetables/fruits are required from recovering bites.


  17. bobby perez says:

    Please consult a pest control company about extermination and control.
    I am a pest management professional that deals with this issue with all my regular customers.
    Most people do not inquire because they want to stay quite about it or they believe it is to expensive for a professional to counsel and or treat.
    I will say that most companies will inspect at no cost and give several options cost wise.
    I do.

  18. jeffery boards says:

    Please let me know if there are any natural cures for this problem. Usually there are old folks home remidies for just about everything. Thank you.

  19. freaked out mom says:

    I found bb in my couch. Got rid of couches sprayed harris bed bug killer in sll cracks snd crevices washed and dried all clothes and put de everywhere. That was 5 days ago. Today i found a baby in a trap. Any suggestions. I am a single mom and i cant afford a exteriminator. I havent found anything in my bed but after cleaning the drawers in my dresser snd my sons we found babies. This was before i applied the diametacious earth.

  20. Karin says:

    My Father and I get bitten a lot but my Mother does not. Is it possible to eat something, like Garlic to keep them from biting someone and maybe leaving for someplace else? We spray lavender on the beds and in the rooms. I spray lavender perfume on myself and use lavender body creams. I do Bikram Yoga which gets rid of the itching and reduces the size of the welts. My father and I do look for them constantly and try to catch them. I wouldn’t do anything extreme like throw out everything. It doesn’t mean that they will disappear.

  21. jerdevi says:

    Please get back with me i have been bitten in a home health house by bed bugs and need further info about what to do.

  22. curtis says:

    we have just took out are mattress and bought an air mattress will that help ,can they climb it or live on it.

  23. Emma C says:

    I didn’t know what was going on when my son began sleeping badly and waking in the morning with fresh itchy bites on his body, arms and legs. They reminded me of painful mosquito bites. After some research I concluded the problem must be bed bugs (I assumed we had picked these up on our luggage while travelling). We sprinkled non-toxic DE dust all over the carpets and got bug proof covers for the bed and pillows…. I read about how quickly an infestation can spread and was getting worried since we could feel little creatures crawling through our clothes and over our skin even during the day. The whole experience was extremely irritating and tiring. I felt our apartment was no longer our home. We were leaving for Europe that week and the last thing I wanted to do was carry the infestation with us into the houses of friends and family overseas.

    We washed and tumble-dried all our clothes and threw out all excess pillows and cushions. Not knowing who the invader was for sure was incredibly frustrating. When my husband suggested the bites were from dust mites, rather than bed bugs, I brushed this off as preposterous… after all how could minute dust mites produce such big bites? But after conceding that I had never actually seen a bed bug anywhere… I did some research and discovered that dust mites can produce an allergic skin reaction (caused by their feces) that looks a lot like ‘bites’. Eureka! We went out a bought the top vacuum cleaner and I was shocked when I hovered up about 2 bucket loads of dust from the carpets and under the bed, which our previous vacuum cleaner had been unable to suck up. SIMPLE ANSWER TO PROBLEM: Using a powerful vacuum cleaner and getting rid of the old crap one! Also eliminating sources of dust (like old cushions) from the home. I hope this post helps anyone who is struggling with little invaders… you have all my sympathy… I know how terrible and tiring the experience can be… I hope this helps!

  24. Marilyn says:

    I have recently just learned, that we had bed bugs. I am inclined to hire Orkin Pest Control to rid them, however, the cost is high. I had to throw away my brand new $1,500.00 couch and love-seat. I have become a mental case from this and make inspections daily. I am racking my head, trying to figure out where and whom brought this into the home. In addition, just because you hire an exterminator and pay, does not mean you will not get them again, especially, if you do not know what the source was to begin with it and it could be my neighbors. If I exterminate and they don’t, we will get them again. I am inclined to ask, but know they would not be honest and this could lead to a very nasty dispute…..not sure what to do, we may just throw everything out and move!!!

  25. Ms. Browning says:

    I recently stayed at the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas, TX and during my first night’s stay, I found a bed bug in my bed where I had been sleeping. I contacted the front desk, and they moved me to a new room. They assured me that an exterminator from Orkin came out and inspected both the old room as well as the new room they put me in, and that no other bugs or signs of an infestation was found in either room. I went on about my stay, but am worried that I still may have carried home a possible infestation. Upon arriving home I washed every article of clothing I had taken with me and I bagged all of my luggage in plastic bags and put them outside in the heat. My clothes could not be washed in hot water, and many of them could not be dried in the dryer, due to the fabric they are made of. I am worried that because of the fact that I could not use high temperature water or heat, that I may still be at risk of having an infestation. If you could please offer any advice, it would be greatly appreciated.

  26. mandy says:

    Ok, so im super freaked out right now, I’m liVing in the not so great apartment. I went to give my neighbor a hug and saw a bug that looks like a Bed bug. We have had relations and I’m super scared cause it was at my place. I don’t care if its toxic please help him so i don’t get this. (literally i left his place put everything i was wearing in a bag and put it in my freezer them hopped in the shower) i checked all over for bugs. Please if they are here and babies or something any help to not let them attact?

  27. Jessi owens says:

    I have a really really bad infestation. I have tried the diametacious earth and the spray, washed and dried all clothes and bedding. But I still wake up about an hour after going to bed I wake up with at least 10 on me biting! I stay up all night killing steady stream of hundred at least! They are in my walls! Seriously thinking of burning my house!. I would move but I’m afraid they’ll just follow me. Somebody please help! I feel like I’m trapped in some kind of sci-fi movie. I don’t have any money, I’m a college student.

    • tw says:

      I won the battle (I think)..

      I caught them very early on (I think)..

      Went to sleep one night, woke up itching my shoulder like it was on fire. Thought I was having a reaction to a titanium bar that just replaced my collar bone. Went back to sleep after a while. Next night, same thing only down my arm, on fire itching..

      So when I woke up on the second day I started to search my couch (recently separated from my girlfriend). I found a dead bed bug in a crevice under a cushion and instantly became paranoid. Tore my whole couch apart, got out the flashlight and started searching, and in horror I found them, about 10 of them in a crevice. So I started killing them, one by one until I couldn’t find anymore.

      Third night, woke up again, lower back itching. Next morning went to walmart and bought bed bug spray. Picked an area of my living room (hardwood floors) and soaked the floor, baseboards, everything. Creating a safe zone that I new was free of bugs. Took each individual cushion that was too big for the dryer, and sprayed each seam and edge with the spray, and stacked them in the safe zone. Placed each cushion that would fit in the dryer for 60 minutes on high and then stacked them in a safe zone. Took the couch, stood it on end, and sprayed every crack, crevice, and dent I could find on the entire couch.

      Waited a day for it to air out and then put it all back, went to sleep, no bites.

      Next day, went to sleep woke up with more bites than the first two nights. It’s now turning into a war, and I am obsessed with killing them.

      Tired of searching for sprays and stuff that works, I caught a bed bug and performed tests on it to kill it, to my surprise, it survived even direct contact with the spray I was using. I knew alcohol (rubbing) would kill them, but I didn’t want to soak my house with that. So I tried boiling water into a spray bottle (note: this is dangerous and make sure you wear gloves that are waterproof) and sprayed the bug, instantly dead.

      So I began boiling two big pots of water, filled my spray bottle, and began spraying super heated water into every crack and crevice in my house, moving furniture, heater vents, everything, I even sprayed each individual crack in my hardwood floors.

      Five days now, no bites.

  28. jc says:

    What actions should I take after checking into a hotel room and waking up the next morning covered it bites. The hotel brought in cadaver dogs to confirm presents of the he bed bugs, and their “experts” confirm that was the source of the bites. The hotel office has not even apologized, and only moved me to another room.


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