Bedbugs do not carry diseases, according to WebMD. They are flat, brown insects that are the size of an apple seed and live on the blood of animals or humans. Bedbugs generally bite people while they are sleeping by piercing the skin and removing blood using their elongated beaks.
People experiencing a bedbug infestation usually notice red, itchy welts on areas of the skin that are exposed during sleep, states WebMD. They may also notice blood stains on sheets and pillowcases, a musty odor around the bed, or dark spots on sheets, mattresses and nearby walls. If bedbugs are suspected, it is best to remove all bedding and covers from the mattress and box springs and carefully inspect them. Items surrounding the bed, including telephones, books, radios and electrical outlets, should also be examined for evidence of bedbugs.
A good first step to eliminating bedbugs is washing bedding, linens, curtains and clothing in hot water and drying on the highest heat setting. Items that cannot be washed should be placed in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes, according to WebMD. Placing a zippered cover around the mattress and box springs is also helpful. Consulting a pest control professional is usually necessary for complete bedbug extermination.