Prevent Bedbugs

Know the basics about bed bugs! 

  • Adult bed bugs are about the size and color of an apple seed. 
  • Baby bed bugs are hard to see because they can be as small as a poppy seed and white or clear. 
  • Bed bug eggs are tiny, white, sticky and hard to see. They can stick to most things and are hard to remove. 
  • Bed bugs can’t fly or hop. They travel by hitchhiking on bedding, furniture, clothing, bags or luggage. They can crawl between apartments and hotel rooms. 
  • Bed bugs like to hide and can fit into any space that you can slide a credit card into. 
  • Bed bugs are not only found in beds and bedding, but also on plush furniture, nightstands, behind pictures and headboards, in dressers, telephones, clocks, cracks in walls, under carpeting, in clothing and other items made of cloth. 
  • Bed bugs tend to hide during the day and bite at night. 
  • Bed bugs can live many months without feeding. 

Bed Bug Videos

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Do bed bugs cause health problems?

Zoomed in photo of a bedbug
  • Bed bugs do not seem to spread disease. 
  • Bed bug bites can cause itchy welts. If you scratch the bites, they can become infected. Some people have allergic reactions to the bites. About half of all people who are bitten, have no skin reaction at all. 
  • Bed bugs and pesticide sprays may trigger asthma in some people. 
  • Beg bugs can make people nervous, anxious and unable to sleep well. 

How can I tell if I have bed bugs in my home?

Mattress covered in bedbugs
Photos courtesy of M. Potter, University of Kentucky
  • Learn to tell the difference between bed bugs and other pests
  • You may see raised, red, itchy bites on one or more family members. People’s skin reacts differently to bed bug bites. Even when people share the same bed, some may not seem to have bites or the bites may look different on each person. 
  • You may see black, brown or red markings on the sheets or mattress. 
  • You may be able to see the bugs or their shed skin in mattress seams or cracks with a bright flashlight. 
  • There may be a sweet, strange or musty smell. 
  • Simply moving to another home or throwing out your furniture will not get rid of your bed bug problem. You will take the bed bugs with you to your new home and the problem will continue.

How do I get rid of bed bugs?

  • Contact a good exterminator who has treated bed bugs before. 
  • Do not spray or treat for bed bugs yourself. You cannot get rid of bed bugs by spraying of pesticides or setting off "bug bombs" or "foggers". Using these "bug bombs" is likely to spread bed bugs to other rooms. Not using pesticides the right way or using too many pesticides (Pesticide Dangers) can cause health problems (pesticide poisoning). Using bug bombs or foggers can be dangerous if you do not read and follow the label instructions exactly
  • Pesticides alone will not get rid of your bed bug problem. You will need to work with your Pest Control Professional (exterminator) to make sure you clean and prepare your home before they come to your home. This will reduce the cost and number of times the Pest Control Professional will need to come to your home.      
  • If you are renting your home, contact your landlord right away to let them know that there are bed bugs. If you live in an apartment or other attached housing, like a condo, talk to your neighbors to find out if they are also having bed bug problems. Ask them to speak to the landlord about the problem as well. 
  • While you are living with bedbugs and trying to deal with the problem, you will want to take extra care so that you will not spread them to others. You will need to try to keep things you have inside your home, separate from things you take outside your home. 

How to get rid of bed bugs (English and Spanish)

Living with bed bugs


File a complaint or get more information

  • If you live in a home in Wake County, North Carolina that you think might have bed bugs and need more information, call 919-250-4462. 
  • To make a complaint about a hotel/motel in Wake County with bed bugs, please call 919-856-7400. 
  • To make a complaint about an bed bug-infested workplace, please call OSHA at 919-779-8560 or fill out a complaint form with the NC Department of Labor 


Prevent bed bugs

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