Bed bugs are small insects that, like mosquitoes, feed on human blood.
 

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

bed bug picture

Bed bugs have a reddish-brown body.  Their body is flat, and it is shaped like an oval.  An average bed bug is around the same size as an apple seed.

 

 

Where Do Bed Bugs Live?

As their name implies, bed bugs are most commonly found around beds.  Because they are mostly active at night, during the day they will remain dormant in areas such as the headboard, bed frame or box springs.

In addition to beds, bed bugs may also be found under wallpaper that has come loose, paint that is peeling off of the wall, in the seams of furniture, or even under electrical outlets.
 

How Do Bed Bugs Spread?

In apartments and hotels, bed bugs are capable of crawling from one room to another.

Bed bugs are also commonly spread by being inadvertently transported from one location to another on clothing or luggage.

One common myth about bed bugs is that they are only found in unclean places.  However, bed bugs are in no way attracted to dirt.  In reality, research has shown that there is no link between cleanliness and bed bugs.  Instead, a bed bug problem is simply the result of the bed bugs being brought from another location, or the bed bugs themselves moving to a new location.
 

Do Bed Bugs Bite Pets?

While bed bugs prefer human blood, they can also bite dogs, cats and any other warm-blooded animal that may sleep with you in your bed.  And like your clothes can spread bed bugs from one location to another, a pet's fur can also spread bed bugs.
 

Symptoms of Bed Bugs

In some cases, there are no physical signs of bed bugs.  In others, bed bugs will cause small spots that look similar to mosquito bites.

In rare cases, an allergic reaction to bites from bed bugs can result in a more significant skin rash.

As with any medical condition, if you are concerned about bites from bed bugs, it's important to receive a professional evaluation from your doctor.  Read here on other signs you might have bed bugs.
 

Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?

While bed bugs are by no means pleasant, there is no scientific evidence that bed bugs are able to spread any type of disease as they feed on human blood.  However, it is not uncommon for people to develop a serious fear of bed bugs, which can lead to problems like insomnia.
 

Treatment for Bed Bugs

Although bed bugs do not pose a significant health risk, if you are suffering from itchy bed bug bites, you can help relieve your discomfort by applying a hydrocortisone skin cream.  Taking an oral antihistamine can also help your bug bites heal in a shorter amount of time.