Are you sure that’s a bed bug?

Bed bugs are an increasingly common problem in the United States. There is so much fear and anxiety surrounding these creatures (mostly for good reason), that causes many people to misidentify their infestation as bed bugs. To be sure, read this article about the common culprits that may resemble bed bugs. If you still have questions, be sure to call Arizona Heat Pest for a free quote and inspection so that you will know for sure what you are dealing with.

Bed bug identification resources:

Note: flattened body, rusty brown coloured (less so in younger nymphs, which are more translucent). Thin 4 segmented antennae. 11 segmented abdomen. Short legs (6 of them) and reduced wings incapable of flight.

These are insects or other invertebrates commonly misidentified as bedbugs!

Not bed bugs.

  1. Carpet beetle larvae (Dermestidae) and adult – More Info
  2. Bat bug (Cimex adjunctus pictured) – More Info
  3. Cockroach nymphs – More Info
  4. Tick (nymphs) – More Info
  5. Woodlouse – More Info
  6. Kissing bugs – More Info
  7. Booklice/barklice – More Info
  8. Smooth spider beetle – More Info
  9. Drugstore beetle – More Info

Note: If it has wings or more than 6 legs, it is not a bed bug. Do not mistake antennae for legs, look at the illustrated guide to avoid confusion.

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Allergies, Infestation and More


Most people don’t realize that bed bugs are so completely harmful. Not only do they cause anxiety, often property damage, can damage reputations but there are people who are allergic to their bites. This can cause huge health problems for individuals that are allergic to bed bug bites. Read more below.

Want another reason to fear bed bugs? They can sometimes set off allergic reactions, asthma attacks and anaphylaxis according to allergists at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Phoenix, Nov 11-16.

Most individuals bitten by bed bugs get red bite marks that are mildly itchy. But those who are allergic can experience intense itching, swelling, redness, hives and blisters. The bugs can trigger asthma if a large group of them become airborne. And, although rare, those who are highly allergic to the bites may experience anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that can cause trouble breathing, hives or swelling or tightness of the throat

The source of the reaction often goes undetected because symptoms can be written off as flea or horse fly bites, said allergist Richard deShazo, MD, of the ACAAI Insect Hypersensitivity Committee. If you have allergies or asthma and you don t know the cause of your skin irritation, see your allergist. 

Those allergic to bed bug bites notice their bites become increasingly itchy. Scratching them can lead to infection. Allergists treat the bites with antihistamines and corticosteroid creams. Allergists are specially trained to treat asthma and can help patients who are having asthma flare ups due to bed bugs.

Allergists attending the ACAAI meeting will attend a workshop to better familiarize themselves with the growing epidemic of bed bugs, best diagnostic approaches, and approaches to insect extermination. Allergists receive training in reactions to insects, including wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, fire ants, stinging flies, bed bugs, and others as a part of their clinical training and are an excellent resource for patients who think they may have insect reactions.

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The Skinny on All Things Bed Bug

Bed bugs are curious creatures that can infest anyone. They are truly frightening and ignorance is one of the largest factors in the situation that these clever bugs take advantage of. Keep yourself informed to stay safe from these terrifying critters. Here’s the skinny on all things bed bug from Live Science.


Bedbugs lurk in cracks and crevices and they’ve been living on human blood for centuries. Though they aren’t known to transmit disease or pose any serious medical risk, the stubborn parasites can leave itchy and unsightly bites. However, bedbugs don’t always leave marks. The best way to tell if you have a bedbug infestation is to see the live, apple-seed-size critters for yourself. Unfortunately, once bedbugs take up residence in homes and businesses, they can be difficult to exterminate without professional help.

Appearance, lifestyle and habits

Bedbugs are flat, round and reddish brown, around a quarter-inch (7 millimeters) in length. The ones that typically plague humans are the common bedbug Cimex lectularius and the tropical bedbug Cimex hemipterus.

A few decades ago, bedbugs were somewhat of a novelty in developed countries. But since the early 2000s, infestations have become more common in places like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A 2013 study in the journal Nature Scientific Reports suggested that bedbugs have evolved ways to resist insecticides.

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Barrett Jackson Kicks Off in Scottsdale

Barrett Jackson is a classic car auction in which collectors, enthusiasts and buyers converge on the city of Scottsdale to make deals and let us all watch the action. There are some incredible vehicles there this year that show history, craftsmanship and excellence in a whole new way. Check out some of these 10 vehicles that AZ Central has compiled.


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Work in an Office? Read This!

Many people say that working in an office is one of the most safe things that a person can choose for a career but new research is suggesting that there are a lot of aspects about working in an office that can really hurt your health. One of them, is the likelihood of bed bugs being in your office. You may think it’s impossible but even the nicest buildings have been known to be infested from time to time.

Modern office workers have much bigger problems than a bad boss – or should we say smaller? From Google’s corporate offices to the bureaus of the Internal Revenue Service, even the most secure workplaces have fallen prey to increasingly brazen trespassers: bedbugs. A survey by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky found that 38% of extermination companies treated bedbugs in office buildings in 2011, compared with only 18% in 2010. The office environment is the ideal habitat for not only bedbugs but also roaches and other insects who thrive in the climate-controlled digs, feed on workers’ crumbs (or their flesh) and stretch their legs at night when all the humans go home (allowing them to survive longer undetected), says Orkin’s Baumann.

Even bedbugs, which need human blood to survive and normally come out at night while their targets are sleeping, will alter their habits in offices and bite people during the daytime. The office safari doesn’t end there: Occupational safety consultants like Towles have seen a range of wildlife invade the workplace, including birds, rodents, small snakes and even venomous brown recluse spiders, lurking in office drawers and file storage areas. “That’s called a bad day,” Baumann says.
And employees have more than bug bites and diseases spread by pests to worry about – experts report seeing workers shunned by their colleagues after an infestation is found in their desk.

Read more on how to prevent bed bugs at work here:

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Why Are Bed Bugs Back in Such a Big Way?

Although bed bugs have been around for quite some time, there is a huge resurgence of these pesky creatures and many are wondering why. The answer is very simple but there are a lot of factors that play into it. Since humans are traveling at much higher rates and are living closer together in metropolitan places, bed bugs are able to infest more places through luggage and human hosts and go from one shared living space to another with ease.

Brooke Borel was a young science reporter when her Brooklyn apartment became infested with bedbugs. Three times. The experience showed her how much bedbugs can turn people’s lives upside down, and how hard they are to get rid of.

For her new book, Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World, she set off on a journey of discovery to find out everything she could about this vicious little critter that has plagued humanity since before we even had beds.

Talking from her (de-infested) apartment in New York, she explains the origins of the bedbug in bat-infested caves and why they’re on the rise today, pulls the curtain back on bedbug sex, and offers practical advice for those unlucky enough to become infested.

Picture of the cover of Infested by Brooke Borel

Cimex lectulariusaka the bedbug, is one of the most repulsive critters on Earth. What attracted a nice girl like you to it?

Well, I had bedbugs in New York three times, starting in 2004. I’m a science reporter, and the second and third time, I became really interested in them and started writing short news articles about them. Reporting those, I realized there was an opportunity for a larger project because of the stories I was hearing from entomologists.

What attracts them to us?

They’re attracted to the CO2 in our breath and the heat of our bodies. Other blood feeders like the mosquito are attracted to some of the other hundreds of chemicals we emit, so it may be that they’re also detecting those. Bedbugs only eat blood, so they need us not to breed but to live.

These things are not just painful—they’re almost impossible to get rid of, aren’t they? Tell us about some of the extraordinary measures that people use.

If you’re following the instructions from a pest control operator, it still is a difficult process to go through. You have to take all of your laundry and bedding to the Laundromat and wash and dry it at high temperatures. You will also probably have to use insecticide sprays, although those are working less and less because the bedbugs have built resistance to many that we’re able to use in our bedrooms.

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Free Things To Do in Phoenix Now!

Who says that you have to shell out a lot of cash to have a great time by yourself or with the family this weekend? Arizona is a naturally beautiful state so there is always something to do outside but many people don’t realize how many free activities are offered in the metro Phoenix area in the vein of arts, music and entertainment. Here is a great list from the Phoenix New Times on thirty free things to do right now in Metro Phoenix.

Low on funds and high on FOMO? We can help with that. Phoenix is chock-full of free events worth freeing your schedule for, including movie screenings, open mics, and a good deal of art walks. Because saving money is always in season, here 30 free things you can do all year round.

Take in Some Free Art at the Museums

Free admission is standard at establishments like the Phoenix Airport Museum, ASU Art Museum, ASU Museum of Anthropology, Arizona Capitol Museum, and Shemer Art Center (though some accept and encourage donations). But visitors can also get complimentary access to Phoenix Art Museum from 3 to 9 p.m. every Wednesday and 6 to 10 p.m. on First Fridays; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art on Thursdays; and Phoenix Children’s Museum from 5 to 9 p.m. on First Fridays.

Kill It in Karaoke 

At 9 p.m. every Thursday and Saturday night (except the first Saturday of the month) Apollo’s Lounge brings out the karaoke so you can belt out the classics. The adults-only event is free to participate. For details, visit Apollo’s on Facebook or call 602-277-9373.

Let Your Pen Do the Talking 

On the second Tuesday of each month, Practical Art invites Valley wordsmiths to share their work with Uptown P.E.N., which stands for poetry event night. The evening runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and features a first-come, first-served open mic opportunities as well as established poets reading their own prose. For details, visit or call 602-264-1414.

Walk the Art Walk

Metro Phoenix offers many opportunities to take in the arts. The Downtown Phoenix Art Walk runs from 6 to 10 p.m. on the first Friday of the month. The Downtown Mesa Art Walk goes from 6 to 10 p.m. on the second Friday of the month. The Downtown Chandler Art Walk happens from 6 to 10 p.m. on the third Friday of the month. The Scottsdale Art Walk runs from 7 to 9 p.m. every Thursday. The Sunnyslope Art Walk pops-up from 5 to 9 p.m. on the second Saturday of October and April.

Unleash Your Inner Geek

Throughout the year Nerd Nite Phoenix invites local to learn drink and discuss on a number of topics including superheroes, time travel, and government conspiracies. These beer-fueled brain teasers tend to change up their dates and locations so the best way to stay in the known is to visit or check out the Nerd Nite Phoenix Facebook Page.

Catch a Movie Under the Stars

Lawn Gnome Publishing is making every Tuesday night a mystery movie night. The free flick viewing begins at 7:30 p.m. in the backyard of the downtown bookstore. If you love surprises as much as you love watching films outside, visit or visit the Lawn Gnome Facebook page.

Learn to Line Dance

Cash Inn Country is kicking up its cowboy boots from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday night with free line dancing lessons. Whether you’re gay, straight, or simply into country music, make your way to the Cash Inn for a complimentary cowboy-style workout. Visit for more information.


Get Crafty in Chandler

At 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month, Gangplank gets the creative community together for an evening of arts and crafts. Bring your knitting needles, glitter, glue, and other DIY material and get ready to mix and mingle with other crafters as you work your handmade magic. For details, visit CraftHackEV on Facebook.

Get to Know Your Local Hangouts

Support new and local businesses, meet your fellow Phoenix residents over food and drinks, and enter to win raffle prizes with the monthly event, Get Your PHX. Past Get Your PHX gatherings have visited Milk Bar, Rollover Donuts, The Newton, and the Lisa Sette Gallery. To stay in the loop with Get Your PHX, visit

30 Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix Any Time

Grant via Flickr

Joke Around in Scottsdale

Stand Up, Scottsdale gives up-and-coming comics a chance to test our their new material with its weekly open mic night. The unexpected (or uncomfortable) laughs begin at 8 p.m. every Tuesday and run until everyone has had their chance to wow the crowd. For more information, visit

Make It a Movie Night at the Library 

Every Wednesday night, the Phoenix Public Library invites movie-goers of all ages to heal their hump day blues with a free film screening at Burton Barr Central Library’s Pulliam Auditorium. Film screenings start at 6 p.m. For the full schedule, visit

Tweak Your Mind

Every Wednesday CO+HOOTS invites the public to partake in Midweek Mindtweek, a free series that features lunchtime lecturers from experts in their field. Food trucks will set up in the parking lot so guests can get their midday fuel while learning new ways to better their career. For a look at who’s lined up to speak, visit

Find Your Philosophical Side

Practical Art invites fellow philosophers and deep thinkers to discuss the big picture with its ongoing event, Socrates Cafe. The reflective rendezvous happens from 3 to 5 p.m. every first and third Sunday of the month. For details, visit or check out the Practical Art Facebook page.

Get Your Game On

Every third Sunday of the month, Firehouse Gallery is putting out the Pick-Up-Sticks, Scrabble, and whatever else it can find, for Game Day. The free affair runs from 2 to 5 p.m. Guests are encouraged to BYOB and BYO-games. For details and to see who’s coming, visit Firehouse Gallery on Facebook.

Mix and Mingle with Phoenix’s Movers and Shakers

Looking to network? Radiate PHX has you covered. The monthly series gives guests a chance to learn about the latest developments in downtown Phoenix as well as make connections with who’s who behind the city’s fast-paced growth. Radiate PHX’s dates and locations vary by month. To stay updated, visit

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Phoenix Voted “Buggiest” City in the United States

A recent study has shown that Phoenix has been listed as the “buggiest” as a result of studying data from Thumbtack. Because of how large Phoenix is and how closely Phoenix borders rural desert, there are all kinds of insects, bugs and pests that end up in Phoenician’s homes. If you haven’t killed a scorpion in your home, you haven’t been in Arizona very long. Now bed bugs are becoming more of a problem in the Phoenix area. Let Arizona Heat Pest help you get rid of an infestation.

Metro Phoenix tops the list for urban areas infested with creepy critters, a services-finding website says.

Thumbtack released its findings this week in a Top-10 list and article, declaring that “Phoenix, Arizona was far and away the leading bug zone.”

The site’s representatives “looked at 159 of the largest metro areas across the U.S. and measured the number of requests for pest-removal services, relative to the population in that metro, using these figures to develop the Thumbtack Pest Index… The categories we included in our measure of pest-removal requests were pest-control services, bed bug extermination, outdoor pesticide application, and termite and pest inspection.:

Based on those criteria, metro Phoenix rated a perfect 100 on the index. The next highest was the San Antonio, Texas, area with a pest index of 60.

Phoenix Area Listed as "Buggiest" in United States (3)

Why might this area be the buggiest? Maybe it’s the raw variety of bugs here: Phoenix is well-known for its scorpions and Africanized bees, but it can also be a hot spot for mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus, swarms of nasty flies, and the beloved cockroach.

Lucas Puente, economic analyst with Thumbtack, said he can’t explain it, and was a “little surprised by the story the data told.” Possibly, the lack of a long, freezing winter means a more prolific bug season, he surmised.

At New Times’ request, Thumbtack released an additional chart that shows the breakdown of bugs mentioned in the requests for service. Cockroaches, spiders, ants, and termites generate the most requests. Six percent of people seeking services didn’t know what kind of bug problem they had, which is never a good thing. Scorpions fall in the 12 percent of “other.” But they’re a special problem here, Puente acknowledged.

“Of note, there were far more requests describing problems with scorpions in Phoenix than in any other metropolitan area,” he said.

Phoenix Area Listed as "Buggiest" in United States (2)

Johnny Dilone, spokesman for the Maricopa County Environmental Services department, said the county can’t confirm Thumbtack’s designation of metro Phoenix as “buggiest.”

“I think I’d have to agree with all the bugs I see everywhere, but that’s just personal,” he said.

People from other areas often think Phoenix doesn’t have as many skeeters as other, more humid places they’ve lived, but even if they’re right, Dilone said, they soon realize that the Valley has its fair share.
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Study on Bed Bugs in Shared Living Situations

A recent survey that is the result of collaboration from the University of California, Colorado State University, New Mexico State University, University of Arizona and the University of Hawaii, has been released about how bed bugs behave in multi-unit or shared housing situations. There are several factors that contribute to the proliferation of infestations in these kinds of areas and it is important to understand what those factors are to prevent further infestation of others.

Bed bug management is especially challenging in public and subsidized housing environments, apartments, and other low-income, multi-unit housing (MUH) situations. In these environments, high rates of resident turnover, lack of economic and educational resources, ease of bed bug dispersal between units, and communication barriers such as literacy and language limitations may all contribute to chronic infestations. Researchers and policymakers recognize the need to address this challenging situation and to design valuable and timely extension and applied research programs in order to assist pest management professionals (PMPs) engaged in this work. Data on bed bug incidence and management approaches in the western United States are lacking as compared to those on the Eastern Seaboard and in the Midwest. To this end, several western urban entomologists and extension specialists have recently formed a work group with funding provided by the USDA’s Western Integrated Pest Management Center (WIPMC). The first task of the WIPMC Bed Bug Work Group was to assess the current prevailing bed bug management practices in use, the most challenging aspects associated with bed bug management in MUHs, and the self-reported needs of the industry that may improve bed bug management outcomes in these environments. An online survey was developed and distributed nationally (, regionally (via Work Group members’ websites and personal networks), and in California (Target Specialty Products client lists) to capture these desired data. A total of 114 individual PMPs completed this survey, with over 76% of these responses coming from the targeted western region (AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY), mostly from California (60% of total responses). Data presented are from all 114 respondents. Most (64%) PMPs represented small businesses (less than 20 total employees), but some (15%) hailed from large pest control companies (100 or more total employees). Though considered a very experienced group of pest management professionals (average experience in pest control industry was 22.7 years), most had only started managing bed bugs during the past 10 years (mean duration of bed bug experience = 9.6 years), thus reflecting the recent resurgence of bed bugs as key urban pests in the United States. The number of PMPs responding to the survey was low compared to the total number of licensed individuals within the region. Therefore, we caution PCT’s readers to consider that our results and findings may differ from other and future surveys on PMP attitudes, behaviors, and practices involving bed bug detection and management. A summary of responses to the survey is as follows:

PMPs’ Attitudes, Beliefs, Observations.

Most respondents (73%) believed that bed bug infestations had increased in 2014 as compared to 2013 while some (22%) believed that the levels of infestation had not changed during this period. This trend was stable when considering responses from different regions and states, suggesting that bed bug incidence may be increasing throughout the nation. Virtually half (49%) of all respondents considered summer to be the season with the most calls for bed bug services, while another large proportion (44%) reported no differences between seasons. It is unclear whether summer incidence may be driven by increased human travel, increased ambient temperature, or some combination of these and perhaps unknown factors. Though resistance to insecticides within bed bug populations has been a concern for some time now, the majority (57%) of respondents in this survey did not believe they had encountered resistance in the field. This was true even when considering data only from the Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard, where resistance in field populations has been reported as widespread. Furthermore, though insecticide resistance may be more easily recognized by those with the most years working in the field, the level of experience of respondents had no effect on this reported belief. MUHs, the focus of this survey, were considered by most respondents to harbor the worst (highest density) bed bug infestations, to be the most difficult locations in which to manage bed bugs, and to be the locations most often treated by their companies (96%, 65%, 74%, respectively) (Figure 1, above). Hotels/motels and shelters were also believed to harbor high-density infestations.

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New Research on Bed Bug Movement

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Bed bugs are very clever in the way that they are able to move from home to home and there is still not a lot of research that has taken place into exactly how these pests are able to infiltrate. A new study from Rutgers however is showing all kinds of patterns of bed bug behavior. When and how often they move and exactly how they travel from home is home is just some of the information found in this study. By understanding bed bug behavior it is exponentially easier to prevent an infestation.

Rutgers University researchers, Drs. Richard Cooper, Changlu Wang, and Narinderpal Singh, investigated bed bug movement within and between apartments to see how far bed bugs moved in this setting. The report, titled “Mark-Release-Recapture Reveals Extensive Movement of Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) within and between Apartments” appears in the most recent issue of PLOS One.

An abstract follows:
Understanding movement and dispersal of the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.) under field conditions is important in the control of infestations and for managing the spread of bed bugs to new locations. We investigated bed bug movement within and between apartments using mark-release-recapture (m-r-r) technique combined with apartment-wide monitoring using pitfall-style interceptors. Bed bugs were collected, marked, and released in six apartments. The distribution of marked and unmarked bed bugs in these apartments and their 24 neighboring units were monitored over 32 days. Extensive movement of marked bed bugs within and between apartments occurred regardless of the number of bed bugs released or presence/absence of a host. Comparison of marked and unmarked bed bug distributions confirms that the extensive bed bug activity observed was not an artifact of the m-r-r technique used. Marked bed bugs were recovered in apartments neighboring five of six m-r-r apartments. Their dispersal rates at 14 or 15 d were 0.0–5.0%. The estimated number of bed bugs per apartment in the six m-r-r apartments was 2,433–14,291 at 4–7 d after release. Longevity of bed bugs in the absence of a host was recorded in a vacant apartment. Marked large nymphs (3rd– 5th instar), adult females, and adult males continued to be recovered up to 57, 113, and 134 d after host absence, respectively. Among the naturally existing unmarked bed bugs, unfed small nymphs (1st– 2nd instar) were recovered up to 134 d; large nymphs and adults were still found at 155 d when the study ended. Our findings provide important insight into the behavioral ecology of bed bugs in infested apartments and have significant implications in regards to eradication programs and managing the spread of bed bugs within multi-occupancy dwellings.
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