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What to Do About Bed Bugs

What to Do About Bed Bugs

Find out how to protect your home and prevent infestation.

Bed bugs—persistent, nighttime marauders—can cause rashes, irritated bumps that look like mosquito bites, or even hives, although not everyone reacts to the bites, according to the EPA. Fortunately, they’re not known to spread any diseases.

Over the past 20 years, the tiny bloodsuckers have become increasingly prevalent in densely populated urban areas. (It’s estimated that in some NYC neighborhoods, 12 percent of apartments and businesses are infested.) And it takes a lot of work to eradicate them since one generation may be KO’d but their eggs then hatch and a second wave can take their place, even after treatment with heat, cold or approved pesticides.

Individuals who are afflicted (and it’s not because of poor hygiene or sloppy housekeeping) need to make sure they don’t spread the infestation. And states need to make reporting of bed bugs a law. A recent study found in the long run it saves landlords and tenants money as it reduces infestations.

It takes a war plan to get them out of your house. The good news—most stuff can be de-bugged and you don’t have to throw it out. So, for a detailed strategy to combat an invasion, check out EPA’s recommendations for preventing bed bugs.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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