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Guidelines for the Control and Prevention of Bed Bug Infestations in California

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Abstract

In recent years there has been a resurgence of bed bug infestations throughout the United States. In response to this re-emerging public health issue, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is providing guidelines to assist affected entities in the prevention, surveillance, and control of bed bug infestations. Based on reports from local health departments and pest control operators (PCOs), 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. In addition, information is often sought by private homeowners experiencing a bed bug infestation. These guidelines 1 are intended to provide recommendations to California stakeholders on procedures to control active bed bug infestations, minimize the spread of infestations, and prevent future infestations. Bed bugs are small wingless insects, approximately one-fourth of an inch long that feed on blood, normally during the night. Most, but not all, of a bed bug population will congregate in cracks and crevices near where humans and pets sleep or rest. Bed bugs live in furniture such as couches, easy chairs, dressers, and night tables, as well as electronic devices such as alarm clocks and radios. Infestations of bed bugs are not limited to bedrooms and hotels; they can be found in public transportation, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Evidence of a bed bug infestation includes presence of the bed bugs or their cast exoskeletons, and blood spots/stains on bedding, walls, or upholstered furniture. Bed bugs can live many months without a blood meal while hiding in cracks and crevices. Bed bugs, while a significant social problem, do not transmit disease to humans. However, bed bug bites will cause red, raised, itchy reactions on the skin. Scratching bed bug bites can lead to secondary skin infections. Some individuals report significant psychological distress, disruption of sleep, nervousness, and agitation when dealing with a bed bug infestation. The essential components of bed bug control and prevention are:  identification of bed bug infestations;  utilization of best available bed bug treatment strategies and prevention measures; and  cooperation between all stakeholders affected by a bed bug infestation. A. Bed bug prevention and control recommendations for owners and operators of hotels and other multi-unit dwellings When confronted with a bed bug infestation, owners and operators of hotels and other multi-unit dwellings should not attempt to control the infestation prior to an assessment from a licensed PCO. Licensed pest control applicators and/or companies should

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