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Bed Bugs

Everything You Were Itching to Know About Bed Bugs


Bed bugs, Cimex lectularius, have re-emerged recently to become a major nuisance pest in Alameda County. They are small (1/16"-1/4"), flattened, oval, wingless, reddish-brown colored insects. Bed bugs are usually active at night and hide during the day in bedding and in cracks of bedside furniture. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. They attach in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, clothing, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. People do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.

Bed bugs feed on the blood of birds and mammals. In humans their bites result in what appears to be severe mosquito-like bites. Unlike mosquitoes, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease pathogens through their bites, but can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that may increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.

Bed bugs cast skin eggs and fecal stains

Management of a bed bug infestation is difficult and challenging. Presently, there are no 100% effective methods for controlling bed bugs. Awareness, cooperation, communication and prevention are the keys to avoiding bed bug problems. People need to know what bed bugs look like and where to look for signs of bed bug infestations. Once a bed bug infestation has been detected, tenants and property managers need to take immediately action to work cooperatively rather than blaming each other for the infestation. Tenants should not attempt to control the bed bug problem by themselves; denial of infestations or delaying treatment by the property owner can increase the cost and make the infestations worse.

The Alameda County Vector Control Services District provides inspection, consultation, education, and training to County residents, tenants, property managers, landlords, and hotel management.

  • Inspection. Our Vector Control Officers will conduct an on-site inspection of the property to confirm whether bed bugs are present.
  • Consultation. If a bed bug infestation is confirmed, the Vector Control Officer will discuss with the resident, tenant, or property manager about monitoring methods for determining the extent of the infestation; non-chemical and chemical control options and CA Department of Public Health Guidelines for the Control and Prevention of Bed Bugs in California, that contains advice for hiring a professional pest control operator.
  • Education. We have developed bed bug fact sheets, lists of frequently asked questions, information on control strategies, and a PowerPoint presentation for public distribution and online download.
  • Training. Training will be available to public agencies, management groups and tenants to cover bed bug biology, inspection and monitoring, and chemical and non-chemical control methods.


Bedbugs life stages

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