Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Font Size

Bedbugs Back in U.S. Beds

Pest Firms Report Uptick in Calls for Bedbug Busters

Is That a Bedbug? continued...

The earliest sign of bedbugs -- other than wheals on your body -- is tiny dots of blood on the sheets. That's because wounds from bedbug bites bleed a little. And bedbug poop is a liquid; it appears as darker dots on the sheets. If you've got lots of bedbugs -- and the little suckers are prolific breeders -- your bed will have the distinctive sickly-sweet, soda-pop-syrup smell that the bugs give off.

Speaking of breeding, a single female bedbug lays 10 to 50 eggs every three to 15 days. The sticky eggs are laid near the bugs' hiding places. If they feed regularly, bedbug nymphs become adults in two to six weeks.

Bedbugs and Disease

There's one good thing about bedbugs. No, really. It's this: They don't seem to transmit disease. Here's Ben Beard, PhD, chief of the bacterial zoonoses branch of the CDC's division vector borne diseases in Ft. Collins, Colo.

"There's no medical reason to worry about a bedbug bite, unless you are unusually allergic to them," Beard tells WebMD. "They have never been considered important in disease transmission -- or never incriminated. Some researchers have found that bedbugs can carry hepatitis B virus, but I'd say it isn't of any public health importance."

One of those researchers is Ann Silverman, MD, director of gastroenterology and hepatitis research at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., and assistant professor at Wayne State University.

Silverman somehow talked hepatitis B patients into allowing her to let bedbugs feed on their arms. The bugs became full of live hepatitis B virus. When bugs were liquefied and injected into woodchucks, the animals became infected.

"The question is, 'Can bedbugs transmit hepatitis B by feeding on one person infected with the virus and giving it to the next person?' At this point we just don't know," Silverman tells WebMD. "But people shouldn't get alarmed."

Even so, Silverman admits, while doing the research she had nightmares that her hepatitis-fed bedbugs got loose.

Similar tests showed that hepatitis C -- a totally different virus -- can't survive in bedbugs.

Today on WebMD

Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
itchy skin
shingles rash on skin
woman with skin tag
Woman washing face
woman washing her hair in sink
close up of womans bare neck
woman with face cream