Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program
Bed bugs are small insects that feed on human blood. They are usually active at night when people are sleeping. Adult bed bugs have flat, rusty-red-colored oval bodies. About the size of an apple seed, they are big enough to be easily seen, but often hide in cracks in furniture, floors, or walls. When bed bugs feed, their bodies swell and become brighter red. They can live for several months without food or water.
Bed bugs do not transmit disease, but they are a nuisance. Infestations are very difficult and expensive to control. It is important to combine insecticide treatments with environmental measures such as laundering bed linens, vacuuming rooms, and cleaning mattresses. Insecticides, if used, should be applied by a professional exterminator.
Bed bug bites usually cause small, itchy red bumps on the surface of the skin. Bites should be kept clean to prevent infection.
Unlike head lice, bed bugs do not live on a person. However, they can hitchhike from one place to another in backpacks, clothing, luggage, books and other items.
- Bed Bugs fact sheet (Word* | also in pdf*)
- Rental Property – Treatment of bed bug infestation (14 MRSA §6021-A)
Information for Schools
- Maine CDC and Department of Education School Guide (pdf*)
- Sample Parent Notification Letter (Word*)
- Sample Bed Bug Inspection Form (Word*)
- Bed Bugs – What Schools Need to Know (Maine Department of Agriculture School IPM Program)
- Maine Board of Pesticides Control
- Got Pests? (Maine Integrated Pest Management Council)
- Integrated Pest Management for Homeowners (University of Maine Cooperative Extension)
- How to Look for and Avoid Bed Bugs in Hotel or Motel Rooms (University of Maine Cooperative Extension)
- Pest Management Companies (xls*)
- Joint Statement on Bed Bug Control from US CDC and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- US CDC information on bed bugs
- Search the EPA bed bug pesticides database
- Tips on preventing bed bug infestations from US EPA
- Bed Bug Resources - Emerging Disease Issues, State of Michigan
- Bed Bugs - University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
- New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
- National Pest Management Association