Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed solely upon the blood of warm-blooded animals. Bed bugs seek out people and animals, generally at night while these hosts are asleep, and painlessly sip a few drops of blood. While feeding, they inject a tiny amount of their saliva into the skin–some people develop a sensitivity to the saliva and additional bites may then result in mild to intense allergic responses. Bed bugs are not known to transmit any diseases to humans.


When controlling for a pest, it is important to ensure that you have the correct species in order to make informed decisions based on the biology of the species. Bedbugs are characterized by their flat oval body shape, rust coloration, and lack of wings. Immature bed bugs are about the size of a poppy seed, while adults are larger and typically the size of an apple seed. These insects are only active at night, often hiding during the day in bedframes, carpets, and bedding. 

bedbug adults and nymphs on box spring
Adults, nymphs and blood spots on a box spring. Bed bugs are generally active only in the dark, so look for them, and their eggs, in cracks and crevices.

adult bedbug
Adult feeding. Adults are flat until engorged with blood, and about ¼ inch long.

bed bug bites on arm
Inflammation develops approximately two days after feeding.

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More Information

A Warning from the Federal Trade Commission regarding bed bug products

Fact Sheets

Other Publications



Landlords and Tenants

In Maine, there are laws that protect tenants from bed bugs. The laws require that both tenants and landlords follow standards to remedy and prevent infestations from occuring. These standards are outlined in statute Title 14 §6021-A. Treatment of bedbug infestation. Landlord and tenant duties with respect to bed bug infestations.


Links to More Information

[Photos, left to right: Gary Alpert, Harvard University,; Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,; none]