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Health Services

Bedbugs

EphNotes

Natural History

Bedbugs are wingless insects with flattened oval shaped bodies that are segmented. Each bug has six stout legs that enable them to move rapidly when disturbed. They are pale brown in color, which changes to a red brown with a blood meal. Their head is short and broad and equipped with a pair of prominent antennae and two dark compound eyes. The sucking mouthparts are held beneath the head and thorax when not in use, and swung down into position before feeding. Most blood feeding occurs at night, and particularly in the hours before dawn. At daylight the bedbugs seek shelter and become inactive while they digest their blood meal.

Bedbugs depend on blood for their complete nutrition and bloodfeed frequently where possible. They respond to the warmth and carbon dioxide of a host and quickly locate a suitable feeding site. Adult bugs can live for 6-12 months, and each female after mating will lay 2-3 eggs a day throughout her life.

Clinical Presentation

Bedbugs are not natural vectors of any human diseases but can cause a great deal of discomfort and distress to those who come in close contact with them. Common areas of the body that are affected involve the arms and shoulders with most bites resulting in a generated allergic response, accompanied by itching and inflammation. You may also see blood spots on linens and black debris spots where they nest.

Treatment and Control

Bedbugs have limited powers of dispersal beyond adjoining rooms, and their movement is dictated by the relocation of infected furniture and possessions to a new environment.

Taking Care of Bedbug Bites

  • Keep the area clean
  • Watch for infection
  • Use topical caladryl or benadryl for itch

Notify Buildings & Grounds if you think there are bed bugs in your room.

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