Environmental Management Branch
275 East Main Street, HS1C-D
Frankfort, Ky. 40621
Phone: (502) 564-4856
Return to Public Health Protection and Safety
In recent years bed bugs have made a resurgence throughout the U.S. In response, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) provides guidelines to help individuals and businesses with prevention, surveillance and control of bed bug infestations.
Based on reports from local health departments and pest control operators, bed bug infestations have been found in hotels, nursing homes, public housing, apartment complexes, moving vans, jails, furniture rental stores, dormitories and other multi-unit dwellings as well as in single-family homes.
What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are about a quarter-inch long with reddish brown, oval, flattened bodies. They easily may be mistaken for ticks or cockroaches. Bed bugs feed mainly at night on the blood of people and animals. They have been found in homes, apartments, hotels, motels, dormitory rooms and many modes of transportation such as buses and moving vans.
Adult bed bug feeding on a person
Image used with permission
Where are bed bugs found?
They can be found almost anywhere in your house or other buildings. They tend to like fabric and wood as opposed to metal and plastic. Places to look include:
- In mattresses and box springs (especially in the seams, tufts, and crevices)
- In bed frames and headboards
- Along and under the edge of wall-to-wall carpeting (especially behind beds and furniture)
- In hardwood floors (especially in any cracks or crevices)
- In moldings and baseboards cracks
- Behind picture frames and wall hangings
- In switch plates and outlets
- Under loose wallpaper and paneling
- In clothing stored in closets and drawers
- Inside clocks, phones, televisions and smoke detectors
- In upholstered chairs and sofas (especially in the seams, tufts, skirts, and crevices beneath cushions)
Dos and Don’ts
Do not pick up any used furniture or mattresses/box springs from the roadside or your garbage containers.
Furniture from a rental service should always be checked at the seams and creases for bed bugs.
When traveling, check rooms thoroughly before setting your luggage on the floor or bed.
Bed bugs prefer to hide close to where they feed. However, if necessary, they will crawl several feet to obtain a blood meal. Initial infestations tend to be around beds, but the bugs eventually may become scattered throughout a room, occupying any crevice or protected location. They also can spread to adjacent rooms or apartments.
How do you get rid of bed bugs?
Consult a certified pest control operator
If you live in an apartment building and think there are bed bugs, you need to call your landlord about the problem. Call the local health department for more information. All apartments in a building with bed bugs need to be checked and treated. You or your landlord needs to call a licensed pest control company to schedule an appointment for an inspection and treatment.
Pick up everything in the infested room, and put anything that you need to keep in a zippered plastic bag. Put it in a hot, sunny place (at least 120 degrees F.) or colder than freezing (colder than 32 degrees F.) for a couple weeks.
Bedding and clothing will need to be bagged and washed in hot water (at least 120 degrees .F) or thrown away.
When trying to clean bed bugs from carpets, vacuuming is not enough. You must steam clean this area at a temperature of at least 120 degrees F. The carpet may need to be replaced.
If mattresses and box springs are badly infested, spray paint a warning sign on them or cut them beyond repair or use and seal with plastic. Contact your county solid waste agency for special pick-up for these items.
For less severe cases, zippered covers (available at bedding and allergy supply stores) may be used to keep bed bugs off the mattress and box springs.