Learn the basics about bed bugs.

  • Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown bugs that can grow up to the size of an apple seed.
  • They are attracted to people and animals, not dirt and grime. They bite people and animals to eat blood.
  • Bed bugs move from place to place in luggage, clothes, boxes, and used furniture – or through small cracks between apartments.
  • They only come out at night – but leaving a light on won’t stop them from biting.
  • Bites from bed bugs cause large, itchy bumps on some people. Other people don’t have any reaction to the bites.

Use a flashlight to check for bed bugs.

  • Look for bed bugs hiding in the mattress, box spring, and bed frame.
  • Check under the mattress and in the seams, folds, or edges of the mattress.
  • Search other furniture near the bed, like night stands.

Look for signs of bed bugs.

Signs of bed bugs include:

  • Small, reddish spots on the sheets or mattress.
  • Round, dark spots that look like ink.
  • Tiny eggs, eggshells, and pale yellow skins.

Check for bed bugs when you travel.

  • Put your luggage on a luggage rack (away from the wall) or in a dry bathtub. Don’t put it on the bed.
  • Follow the steps above to check for bed bugs.
  • If you see signs of bed bugs, call the hotel desk or tell your host right away.

Take extra care with your luggage when you get home from a trip.

  • Keep your travel clothes separate from other laundry. Wash them in hot water right away.
  • Vacuum your luggage to get rid of any bed bugs that may have hitched a ride. Take the vacuum outside and empty the contents into a plastic bag that you can seal tightly. Throw this bag away in an outside garbage bin.

Act right away if you see a bed bug in your home.

  • Tell your landlord or call a pest control company as soon as you find bed bugs in your home.
  • Use clear tape to attach the bug to a white piece of paper. Show it to a pest control expert to make sure it’s a bed bug.
  • Don’t try to get rid of bed bugs yourself. You could make the problem worse by spreading them to other rooms in your home.