GRIC Environmental Health Offers Public Awareness on Bed Bugs

June 16, 2017


GRIC Environmental Health

Gila River Indian Community


The GRIC Tribal Health Department would like to increase community awareness about bed bugs. We will begin by giving you a few “did you know” facts about bed bugs. Here are the following:




* Bed bugs are appearing due to changes in pest control practices, increased personal travel and bugs hitch hiking on clothing, people and personal items like bags and purses.


* Bed bugs are wingless and cannot jump or fly.


*   Adult bed bugs are brownish or red in color, flat and oval shaped.


* Bed bugs range in size from smaller than a poppy seed to as big as an apple seed.


* Bed bug eggs are very tiny and look like rice.


* Bed bugs are often mistaken for ticks, fleas, and cockroaches.


* Bed bugs feed on humans only and when they do feed it’s called a “blood meal”.


* Bed bug adults can live 6-12 months without a “blood meal”.


* Bed bugs like to hide and rest where humans sleep and hang out.


* Bed bugs do not transmit disease.


* Bed bug bites are painless and human reactions to bites vary.




If you think you may have a bed bug infestation, the GRIC Environmental Health Services Program would like to offer a few tips to increase community awareness when inspecting your home. Early detection for the presence of bed bugs can prevent a large infestation from happening. Our suggestions are as follows:


  • To get helpful tools including a flash light, magnifying glass, and playing card
  • To start by looking in the first place you saw the bed bug
  • To inspect the bed first and work out from there
  • To search for bed bugs of all life stages, shed skins, and white rice like egg cases
  • To collect a sample of the bug and call the GRIC EHS for a positive identification
  • To look for the bed bug, and brown to red lumpy dropping stains on fabric, wood and metal
  • To be aware of stains that will look as if someone touched the tip of a magic marker to the fabric
  • To look behind the floor moldings by the wall, head board, mattress and box spring seams, and the mattress frame where they come together
  • To inspect linens, pillows and casings, notches and grooves in wood and metal
  • To inspect wall hangings, curtains, books, night stand drawers, TV and remote
  • To inspect all furniture and if someone is sleeping on the couch, search there also


The search and detection for bed bugs requires persistence and patience. When searching your home for bed bugs, you practically have to think of everything. A thorough search and identification can prevent an active bed bug infestation from spreading throughout the home.


Please be on the lookout for our final bed bug awareness article on how to get rid of bed bugs. If you suspect that you have bed bugs or have any questions and concerns about bed bugs, please give our Environmental Health Program a call at 520-562-5100.


I’ve Got Bed Bugs! Now What Do I Do?


If you have positively identified bed bugs in your home, the GRIC Environmental Health Program would like to provide awareness of some common practices in managing your infestation. They are as follows:


To remove all furnishings, wall hangings, fabrics and bedding from the infested room.


  • To place all items in direct sunlight, spread out for no less than 6 hours on a day that is over 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • To drive the bed bugs from their hiding places using a hair dryer, tape, or a vacuum to remove them from cracks and crevices, outlets, trim, molding, etc in each room.
  • To scrub all wood, wall and floor surfaces in each room with a mild bleach solution or detergent and a stiff bristle brush.
  • To seal all holes with plaster or joint compound; cracks and crevices with elastomeric caulking.
  • To vacuum and scrub all furnishings which were placed outdoors; focus on the mattress/box spring seams, upholstered furnishings and wood furniture cracks and crevices.
  • To dry all fabrics at high heat then place them into the washing machine.
  • To contact an exterminator to apply pesticide along all remaining cracks and crevices in the “cleaned”, empty rooms that have been properly prepped.
  • To only put back properly cleaned furnishings and fabrics into the home environment.
  • To utilize specialized bed bug encasements for each mattress, pillow and box springs.
  • To do searches and extermination for bed bugs on a continuous basis over the course of 6 to 9 month intervals.
  • To label all discarded items as “Bed bugs, Do Not Re-Use”.

As you can see, prevention, patience and persistence are required when removing bed bugs from your home. Any lesser amount of remediation from the above mentioned recommendations will decrease the possibility of a complete and thorough removal of a bed bug infestation.


If you have any questions regarding the removal and awareness of bed bug infestations, please give the GRIC Environmental Health Program a call at 520-562-5100.