Bed bugs usually bite people at night while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin with an elongated beak, through which they withdraw blood. It usually takes about three to ten minutes for a bed bug to complete a blood meal, yet the person seldom knows s/he is being bitten.
The bugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually transported in luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, and other items. This is a particular problem for hotels, motels and apartments, where turnover of occupants is constant. Bed bugs are small, cryptic and agile, escaping detection after crawling into belongings.
Bed bugs can live in almost any crevice or protected location. The most common place to find them is, of course, the bed. Bed bugs often hide within seams, tufts and crevices of the mattress, box spring, bed frame and headboard. Other common places to find bed bugs include: along and under the edge of wall-to-wall carpeting (especially behind beds and furniture); cracks in wood molding; ceiling-wall junctures; behind wall-mounted picture frames, mirrors, switch plates and outlets; under loose wallpaper; amongst clothing and clutter stored in closets; and inside clocks, phones, televisions and smoke detectors.
Because bed bugs readily hide in small crevices, they may accompany luggage, furniture, clothing, pillows, boxes, and other such objects when they are moved between apartments, homes and hotels. Used furniture, particularly bed frames and mattresses, are at the greatest risk of harboring bed bugs and their eggs. So, you should scrutinize and consider the history of any used furniture, particularly “street items’ that are so plentiful at the beginning and end of each academic year. Because they readily survive for many months without feeding, bed bugs may already be present in vacant and apparently clean apartments. Bed bugs can wander between adjoining apartments through voids in walls and holes though which wires and pipes pass.