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Why should I worry about bed bugs?

red spots on a woman's leg
Bed bugs feed on you as you sleep. Bites can look like a rash or welts—or you may have no reaction at all. Photo: NYSIPM

Although bed bugs do not transmit pathogens to people, they feed on our blood and cause itchy welts that can become infected from scratching. Bed bugs reproduce quickly and can overwhelm a home with just one resident (host) in a matter of months. A single mated female bed bug can start an infestation on her own.

Identification of a bed bug problem as early as possible is the best way to avoid the trauma and cost of a full-blown infestation. Treatment by a licensed professional pest manager is always recommended. However, the cost of effective treatment can be very high and many people cannot afford to hire a professional. Attempts to eradicate a bed bug infestation on your own can be successful, but incorrect methods can also be more dangerous than the bugs, themselves.