General Information on Bed Bugs
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, flat, wingless insects. They feed on blood.
What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are the size, shape, and color of an apple seed. They are 1/4 of an inch long and look reddish-brown. The eggs are tiny and white. Bed bugs are big enough to see.
Where do bed bugs live?
Bed bugs live where people sleep, sit, or lay down. They can be found on mattresses and bed frames. They can also be found in chairs, couches, and tight spaces.
How can bed bugs get into an apartment?
Bed bugs get into an apartment by clothing, bags, furniture, and mattresses. They can get in through small cracks in walls, ceilings, and under doors. Bed bugs cannot fly.
What can I do to prevent bed bugs?
Bed bugs can be found anywhere. Always check furniture and bedding bought used. Never bring items found in the trash into your apartment. After vacation, check your luggage for bed bugs before going in your apartment. Clean your bed sheets often and buy mattress covers.
Do bed bugs transmit disease?
What health issues do bed bugs cause?
Bed bug bites may cause swelling, redness, and itching.
How do I know if I have bed bugs?
Look for live or dead bed bugs on furniture and mattresses. Also look for tiny dark spots or red stains. Bed bug bites are a sign, but not everyone will notice the bites.
What do I do if I think I have bed bugs in my apartment?
Local ordinances have different requirements, but you should call your landlord immediately and notify him in writing for your own records. You should consult these ordinances as quickly as possible as early notification and treatment will help to prevent the bed bugs from spreading.
However, you should not try to get rid of the bedbugs by using chemicals, "bug bombs," or pesticides. These items do not work and could make you sick.
Should I throw away sheets, clothing, or other items that may have bed bugs?
This is not necessary unless the pest control expert says so. If you have to throw away items, seal them in a plastic bag first. This will stop the bed bugs from spreading. You may not recycle items that have bed bugs. All infested items must be sealed in a plastic bag before throwing them away. This bag must be labeled that it is infested with bedbugs.
What should I do with infested sheets and clothes?
- Wash all sheets and clothes that are infested with hot water. After drying the clothes, dry for an added 20 minutes on the highest setting;
- Put un-washable or "dry clean only" items in the dryer on the highest setting for 20 minutes;
- If you have to use a laundromat or a common area to do laundry, make sure all items are sealed in a bag before leaving your apartment; and
- Once all items are dried, seal them in clean bags, so bed bugs don't re-infest them.
The laws on bed bugs may differ based on where you live. You should check your local ordinances to see if there are any specific rules for bed bugs. If you have questions, you can contact your local government.
No matter where you live in Illinois, landlords are required to provide tenants with a habitable apartment. This includes providing an apartment free of bed bug infestation. Unless a tenant brought bed bugs into the property, the landlord must pay for services to remove the bed bugs. If a landlord can prove that a tenant brought the bed bugs into the property, they may be able to charge the tenant for the removal services. In most cases, it is difficult to prove the source of the bed bugs.
If you are a tenant, and your landlord is not responding to you or refuses to pay for bed bug removal, contact your local housing officials. You can also get legal help to learn more about your legal options.
Finally, businesses that rent furniture or electronic equipment are required to inspect for bedbugs or other pests before renting to a customer. If they find bed bugs, they must treat the equipment or furniture first. If an infestation arises from rented furniture or electronic equipment, the customer can sue the business.
Updated: June 2018