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Identifying and Managing Bed Bugs with Least-toxic Methods

Controlling Bed Bugs


Identifying and Managing Bed Bugs with Least-toxic Methods

Exterminator checks a mattress for a bed bug infestation

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images News
Bed Bugs are oval, wingless and round-bodied, rusty-red insects about 1/5 inch long. They are the only blood-sucking insects with round bodies and wingless adults. In addition to humans, bed bugs also feast on the blood of bats, birds and rodents.


Bed Bugs are nocturnal, hiding in crevices of mattresses, upholstery, box springs and behind picture frames during the day. The uptown bugs live in and hitchhike from theatre, bus and train seats while their country and suburban cousins find homes in firewood.

Life Cycle

Batches of up to 50 eggs are laid on wood and paper, hatching in 10 days. When blood meals are available and air temperatures are 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, nymphs morph into adults in 5 weeks. Cooler temps slow the nymphs growth.


Simple fixes are reducing clutter by recycling or composting, reducing bed bug heaven by frequently vacuuming or by fortifying the castle by constructing a bed bug moat around the bed. See "Suggested Reading" for further info.
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