We provide education and advice on controlling bed bugs and investigate reports of bed bug infestations in hotels/motels and apartment and rental units.
What are Bedbugs and Why are they a Problem?
- Bed bugs are small, flat insects that come out at night and feed on the blood of people and animals while they sleep.
- They are about the size of an apple seed, with rusty red colored bodies. They cannot fly or jump.
- Bed bugs are considered a public health nuisance; however, their bites are not known to transmit disease.
- Bites can become swollen and itchy and secondary infections can result, as well as anxiety and sleeplessness.
- When bed bugs are in a house or apartment, they often hide in bedding and mattresses, as well as in cracks and crevices in walls and furniture.
- Bed bugs are not a sign of poor hygiene or cleanliness.
How Do I Get Bedbugs?
Bedbug are usually transported from place to place on people's belongings and their body. Bedbugs can hide in the seams and folds of luggage, clothes, bedding and furniture. They can also be found on second-hand furniture and clothing.
What are the Signs of Bedbugs?
- Dark spotting of walls, mattresses and other places where they hide.
- Rust-colored blood spots due to the fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture.
- Seeing bed bugs exoskeletons after molting.
How Do You Get Rid of Bedbugs?
It is hard to get rid of bedbugs. If you think you have bed bugs:
- Look in the cracks and gaps in furniture, bedding, trim, window coverings, etc. with a flashlight.
- Clean and remove clutter in infested area(s) to reduce hiding places.
- Carefully clean infested area using brush and vacuum (empty vacuum immediately after use/get rid of vacuum bag by enclosing in plastic bag and putting in garbage).
- Seal mattress and box spring in bed bug proof plastic cases.
- Wash all bedding and linens in hot water and dry in hot dryer.
- Over the counter pesticides and aerosol foggers (bug bombs) do not work, and if not used correctly, can result in chemical poisoning.
- The best way to get rid of bed bugs is to have a professional pest control company familiar with treating bedbugs do it. Heat treatment combined with chemical use is the most effective way to control bed bugs.
How Do I Report a Bed Bug Problem?
Apartments & Rental Units
If problem is not addressed by your landlord, call your local building inspector. City of Madison Building Inspector: (608) 266-4551.
If there is no Building Inspector in your area, call Public Health Madison & Dane County: (608) 242-6515.
Hotels & Motels
Call Public Health Madison & Dane County: (608) 242-6515
Owner Occupied Home
Contact a Pest Control Company familiar with treating bedbugs.
- Bed Bug Fact Sheet
- Bed Bugs in Wisconsin Fact Sheet, UW-Extension
- Information on Bed Bugs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Manual for the Prevention and Control of Bed Bugs, State of Michigan
Information for Shelters
- Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Bed Bugs in Shelters and Group Living Facilities, Cornell University, New York State Integrated Pest Management Program