This website is an outreach effort that seeks to increase public awareness of bed bugs and effective strategies for managing them. Funding for the website was provided by a grant from The Ohio State University Extension Integrated Pest Management Program.
Humans continue to be significantly impacted by bed bugs, which began to re-emerge in the late 1990s as important household pests in developed countries around the world. Bed bugs are small, blood-sucking insects that negatively impact public health and the well-being of all socioeconomic classes. Bed bugs are easily transported, and they have become a major problem over a relatively short period of time in diverse residential and commercial settings. If left untreated or improperly treated, bed bug populations rapidly increase and infestations can quickly spread to impact others.
Compared to other insects, bed bugs are more difficult and expensive to control. Bed bugs necessitate multiple integrated pest management (IPM) strategies that often require professional pest management services. However, in part due to the high cost of professional bed bug control, the public has increasingly turned to over-the-counter (OTC) chemical products as a low cost alternative for bed bugs. Public expectations of these products can range from total eradication to simple decontamination, yet the vast majority of OTC chemical products are contact toxicants that have negligible impacts on bed bug infestations.
In this section, you will find answers to commonly asked questions about bed bugs. Even if you don’t have a specific question, it is hoped that the detailed answers will offer practical advice for those dealing with bed bugs.
This section lists various journal articles that have been published about bed bugs. The articles are separated into main topics, which include bed bug biology, control, health considerations, etc. A brief summary of each article is provided along with the complete journal citation with the author(s) and publication year, article title, journal name, volume, and page numbers.
More information about bed bugs can be found outside of the current website. This set of links has been assembled to guide you to some of the more reliable, factual resources from various universities and state/federal agencies. This information includes multiple languages, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and downloadable fact sheets.
Images and media are shown here that can help you to identify the presence of bed bugs in the environment. Images include various stages of the bed bugs themselves, fecal spotting, and bites on human skin.
One may not necessarily see live bed bugs, particularly in a small infestation, since these bugs typically hide during the day in dark, protected sites; they are active at night. They often hide near places where their human hosts sleep or rest. A bed bug infestation can be recognized by dark (sometimes rusty) spots of excrement (feces) on sheets and mattresses/box springs, bed clothes, baseboards, and other places where bed bugs hide. Eggshells and shed skins also may be found near their hiding places. A musty odor similar to the scent of stink bugs sometimes can be detected, particularly when bed bug infestations are severe.