Illustration from above of a common begbug

Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color. Although they are a nuisance, they do not transmit diseases.

Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs my lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust.

Bedbugs my enter your home undetected. Their flatted bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, abut the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom and also other rooms.

Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.

If you wake up with itchy areas you didn't have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs. Other signs that you may have bedbugs include:

  • Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
  • Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
  • Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in area where bedbugs hide
  • An offensive, musty odor from the bugs' scent glands