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Bed bugs are insects that feed on the blood of people and animals. They are small, flat, brown, and oval. They do not have wings.
Bed bugs are becoming an increasing problem in many cities and towns. This may be because more people are traveling out of the country to places where bed bugs are a problem. It may also be because certain pesticides for bed bug infestations have been banned.
Bed bugs usually get into your home through luggage, clothing, or other personal items during travel. Sometimes hotels have bed bugs. Bed bugs can crawl into your luggage and get carried back to your home. It only takes one bed bug to get an infestation started in your home.
Bed bugs may also get into your house by crawling onto your clothes, but this is not likely. A more common way to bring bed bugs into your home is if you buy and wear used clothes or used furniture that have bed bugs in them.
Yes, you should look closely at used furniture before you bring it home.
Check apartments and dorm rooms. Living in close quarters can make it easier to get bed bugs. They often live in the spaces between walls. If an apartment next to yours has bed bugs, you might also have them. It is hard to fix bed bug problems until all apartments within the building have taken steps to get rid of them.
Check vacant apartments for bed bugs before moving in. Bed bugs can survive for months without feeding.
Signs of bed bug infestation may be:
Bed bugs are not known to transmit any infectious diseases. Their bite looks like the bite of most blood-sucking insects and may cause some skin irritation. Some bites might not be noticed, while others turn into larger sores.
Wash the area of the bite with an antiseptic soap
to reduce infection, and resist the urge to scratch. Contact your health provider if the bite becomes infected.
If you see the signs of bed bug infestation, you should look closely in all areas of your home to find out if you have bed bugs.
In most cases, a landlord or property manager is required by law to “maintain the dwelling they own without insect infestation” (MA: 105 CMR 410.550). It is the landlord’s responsibility to respond to any complaints of bed bugs.
If someone is renting a single-family home, the owner is not responsible for extermination as long as they maintain upkeep of home. In these cases the occupant is required to pay.
If you are a tenant, contact your landlord so that they can hire a licensed exterminator to identify the insect and develop an extermination plan or IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Plan to eliminate them.
Encourage tenants to report bed bugs. Respond quickly to complaints with inspection and intervention.