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What is it?

Cimex lectularius is a nocturnal bug that although an infrequent problem in the United States, still can be found infesting homes where living conditions are unsanitary and may also be transported to well-maintained homes on clothing or furniture.

What does it look like?

The bugs may be seen at night, although they are only about 1/4 inch long. They are oval shaped, brown and reddish and can be seen crawling on skin or bedding. You will notice dark brown to black spotted stains appearing on sheets, pillows and other bedding. You may develop painful swellings on the body where they have bitten.

How does it manifest?

Bedbugs crawl onto sleeping people from their hiding places behind baseboards, in floor cracks and crevices and in mattresses and upholstered furniture. They pierce the skin and suck blood for several minutes and may crawl from room to room each night. The main evidence of their passing will be excrement stains on bedding and bedclothes and painful swellings on individuals who have been the subject of their feeding.

What can you do about it?

Contact your local public health department for recommendations of insecticides in your area. Then spray baseboards, floor cracks and baseboards heavily. Keep the house clean, and make sure you regularly launder all bedding thoroughly.