Bed bugs are reddish brown, wingless insects, about the size of a poppy seed. When they bite, they inject their saliva under the skin. If you’re bitten by a bed bug you might start to itch and have red marks if you develop an allergy to the saliva. Bedbugs don’t spread disease, but they are a nuisance.
The human body attracts bedbugs because of its warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide. They feed on human blood or the blood of warm-blooded animals.
Bedbugs love to hide from the light, so they’re drawn to small crevices. They typically hide in headboards and footboards, box springs, electrical plates and pictures on walls, electrical appliances, seams and buttons on mattresses and the pleats of curtains. They thrive in beds people sleep in.
Many people think that dirty conditions attract bedbugs, but they don’t feed on waste. Dirty conditions may make it harder to control and get rid of them.
Even if you don’t see a bed bug, you will know they’re attracted to your surroundings if they leave behind evidence of their presence: dark fecal matter that looks like little black spots, small bloody spots, and shed skin.
You can’t avoid attracting bed bugs, but you can take measures to create a less friendly environment. Reduce clutter so they have fewer hiding place; keep the home clean; remove them and any of their eggs by vacuuming; discard a heavily infested mattress.