Bed bugs

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small, flat, parasitic bugs about 1-7mm long that feed solely on the blood of humans and animals. They are reddish-brown, wingless insects that can live several months without eating. During the day, they hide in crevices or seams of the mattress, box springs, bed frames, walls, dressers, night stands, etc. usually within about 8 feet of where people sleep. Their presence has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the room and can be found in the best hotels, cruise ships, apartments, dorms, buses and trains. They travel by hiding in luggage when people travel from place to place.  The bed bugs are not known to spread disease but their bites can cause extensive itching that could lead to a secondary infection from scratching the bites.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Bite marks may or may not be visible
  • Bite marks that are visible may be linear or random on the body
  • Itching
  • No symptoms


  • Oral antihistamines or anti-itch creams/ lotions are available over the counter
  • Kill infestations of bed bugs with insecticides or a pest control company can be contacted to help remove
  • Routinely inspect bedding for these signs of bed bug infestation:
    • exoskeletons left around seams of mattresses, box springs or bed frames
    • reddish brown fecal matter left behind from bugs
    • live bugs in seams of mattress or bedding

Bed bugs rarely cause the need for a visit to see a medical provider unless you are having a severe or allergic reaction or if scratching has led to infection of the bites. If you feel you need to be seen by a provider, please schedule an appointment with the Medical Clinic online or by calling Student Health Services.