Bed Bugs | Baltimore City Health Department

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The Baltimore City Health Department does not have any bed bug mitigation programs; however, we are providing informational materials on bedbugs as a resource for the public.

What Are Bedbugs?

Bed bugs are small insects that feed on human blood. They can reach about 1/4 inch in length and have flat, oval-shaped, wingless bodies. They are reddish-brown in color and may be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches.

How Does a Home Become Infested with Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs hitchhike and people often unknowingly carry bed bugs into homes in infested luggage and bags, furniture, mattresses and boxsprings, bedding or clothing. They can also travel between houses and apartments through cracks and openings in or around doors, windows, walls, and floors.

How Do I Know if My Home is Infested with Bed Bugs?

Bites are often one of the first signs of a bed bug problem. Most bed bug bites are painless at first but later become large, itchy skin welts. These welts do not have a red spot in the center like fleabites. Although bed bugs are a nuisance, they are not known to spread disease.

The bites can be very similar to other insect bites, and bed bug infestations cannot be confirmed by bites alone. You may also see the bed bugs themselves, small bloodstains from crushed insects or dark spots from their droppings, especially on sheets or other bedding.

For residents who can afford to do so, the Baltimore City Health Department recommends hiring licensed pest management professionals for bed bug eradication. At a minimum, the pest control company should:

Be sure to hire and work with a licensed professional. Bed bug treatment will involve extensive preparation and follow-up on the part of residents that may require a working relationship with a professional. Ask to see a copy of the license or check directly with the Maryland Department of Agriculture by calling 410-841-5710 or visiting the MDA's Website.

Pest control professionals may use a pesticide. Talk with the professional about safe use of pesticides and make sure they:

In all cases, please note that many conventional, over-the-counter pest control products, such as foggers and bug bombs, are ineffective and could make a bed bug problem worse.

Additional Information:

How Can I Keep from Spreading an Infestation?

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Bed Bugs | Baltimore City Health Department

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