Bed bugs, Cimex lectularius, are reddish-brown, oval-shaped, flattened insects that are about 1/4 inch long. Nymphs (immature bed bugs) resemble the adult bugs but are often smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs usually feed on the blood of humans during the night-time hours and crawl away to hide in nearby cracks, crevices and recesses of furniture (especially mattresses) and walls of the home during the day. Most people experience itching, pain and/or swelling of the skin where a bed bug bite occurs (such as the arms, face or back) within 1 day of a bite. Although the bites can cause considerable discomfort and loss of sleep, bed bugs do not transmit disease after feeding on multiple hosts.
Page last updated: July 31, 2015
Page last reviewed: June 16, 2015