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Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases Program
Bed bugs are small, flat, oval, brown insects that feed on blood – usually at night. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but for some people they may cause itchy welts, sleeplessness, and anxiety. They hide during the day in cracks and crevices, such as along mattress seams, box springs, joints of bed frames, along edges of carpets, wall sockets, behind pictures and headboards, etc.
Bed bugs have probably infested human dwellings since the days of the cave men. As humans spread around the world, so did the bed bugs. Up until the 1900's, bed bug infestations were very common as control options were rather limited. Most people simply had to endure them as a "fact of life." By the mid-1900's, new and improved pesticides were readily available to homeowners, and bed bug numbers declined throughout the United States and other developing countries.
By the late 1900's, bed bugs had practically become a thing of the past in the United States. But now, they are making a comeback! Today, bed bug infestations are popping up in houses, apartment complexes, dormitories, nursing homes, hotels, stores, hospitals, etc. Several of the pesticides that were used in the past are no longer available, and some bed bug populations have developed some resistance to commonly used pesticides. Although the bed bug problems occurring in Arizona are not as bad as in some states and major cities in the east, they are on the rise.
Combating the spread of bed bugs in Arizona will require the diligence and cooperation of everyone, including the pest control industry, homeowners, landlords, hotel management, store management, public health partners and many others. On this page you can find some information about bed bugs to help you do your part to stop the spread of this re-emerging pest.