Bed Bugs in Australia

Bed bugs are wingless and dorsoventrally flattened.

There are two species of Bed Bugs in Australia – both of which have been introduced.

You know that you have bed bugs if you see live or dead bed bugs or their cast skins, blood spotting on sheets or along mattress seams.

  • Bed Bug

    (Cimex spp.) Bed Bug


    • Wingless
    • Dorsoventrally flattened
    • Adults are reddish brown in colour
    • 5mm- 6 mm in length - unfed
    • Up to 10mm when engorged with a blood meal
    • Five nymphal stages with similar body shape to adults
    • Nymphs start out translucent in colour and then cream in colour and continuing to darken to adulthood
  • Bed Bug - Engorged Abdomen

    (Cimex spp.) Bed Bug


    • Eggs are cream in colour with a slight bend. The eggs are about 1mm in length
    • Egg are laid in crevices in dark areas
    • The smell of bed bugs is sometimes described as 'sickly sweet'
  • Bed Bug - Nymph

    (Cimex spp.) Bed Bug Nymph

    Where Bed Bugs are Found

    • Buildings
    • Vehicles
    • Boats
    • Trains
    • Buses
    • Aircraft
  • Bed Bug - Mahogany Colour After Blood Meal

    (Cimex spp.) Bed Bug

    How to Control Bed Bugs

    • Hygiene
    • Physical Removal
    • Heat
    • Steam
    • Mattress Encasements
    • Cold
    • Traps & Barriers
  • Bed Bug - Sucking Blood

    (Cimex spp.) Bed Bug - Sucking Blood

    Hiding Places

    • Bed Bugs have a flat body so they can hide in virtually any crack or crevice
    • Bed Bugs prefer wood, paper and fabrics
    • Bed Bugs prefer the darker side of the bed, near the wall

    Hiding Spots in Beds

    • Seams of the bed
    • The bed frame
    • The Bed Heads & Foot. Bed heads attached to the wall should be removed
    • Bedside furniture, tables, chairs, lights, drawers
    • Luggage Racks
    • Appliances, power points, telephones, switch plates etc...
    • Straight edge which holds carpet in place
    • Books
    • Visual equipment, joints, loose wall paper & paint, electrical conduit, picture frames and blinds/curtains, ornaments, smoke detectors, light fittings
  • Bed Bug Infestation on Bed

    (Cimex spp.) Bed Bug Infestation on Bed

    Should Do & Should Not Do

    • Never remove any items from the room before it is inspected by a Pest Manager
    • Disturbing the infestation may cause the bed bugs to disperse
    • Removal of the infested items to another location may spread the infestation

    After Inspection by a Pest Manager

    • All bed linen, curtains and clothing must be removed from the infested area and places in sealed plastic bags prior to being removed from the room
    • All items must be washed in the hottest water possible and must be over 55 degrees centigrade (We recommend at-least 65 degrees centigrade)
    • All items must be dried in a hot air clothes dryer
    • Delicate items can be placed in a freezer, in a sealed bag
    • All wardrobes, drawers and cupboards must be emptied and the contents treated
    • All treated items must NOT be returned to the infested site prior to being treated. They must be kept in sealed plastic bags in the interim
  • Bed Bug Infestation & Castes

    (Cimex spp.) Bed Bug Infestation & Castes

    Should Do & Should Not Do

    • Cover up or remove fish tanks from the infested room after inspection
    • Vacate occupants and pets
    • Hotel Rooms must remain vacant until the infestation is resolved


    • One method of treating for bed bugs is by using steam. Steam will not only kill live bed bugs in all their stages, but it will also kill the eggs
    • A treatment which employs the use of steam followed with an insecticide is the most effective treatment possible and allows for long term control
    • When using steam, Pest Control technicians must ensure that immediately after treatment the temperature of the steamed item is at or above 70 degrees centigrade


    • The alternative to extreme heat is extreme cold
    • Treating heat sensitive materials with extreme cold by freezing them prevents them from being damaged
    • An approximate guide to how long an item must be in a freezer for is in excess of 2 hours if the freezer is at or below -20 degrees centigrade. Naturally, the larger the item, the longer it will take to reach this temperature, and dense items may take several days
  • Bed Bug Feeding on Human

    (Cimex spp.) Bed Bug Feeding on Human

    • Bed bugs are extremely susceptible to heat and extreme cold
    • Whilst it is widely accepted that Bed Bugs die when exposed to temperatures above 45 degrees, we recommend they are treated with at-least 65 degrees, as temperatures of 40 degrees will not kill the eggs
    • If the water is over 65 degrees then every stage of the bed bug will be killed
    • Note that state laws require that hygiene fixtures containing water taps must not allow water flow above 40 degrees, but this does not apply to Kitchen Sinks and Laundry Sinks, which should be about 60 degrees
    • Clothes dryers are also a great way to generate temperatures over 60 degrees. In saying this, the dryer must be placed on the hottest setting and the clothes must be in the dryer in excess of 30 minutes for clothes to reach the required temperature to kill all the stages of bed bugs
  • Bed Bug - Life Cycle

    Mattress Encasements

    • Matress Encasements with no or few seams provide less harbourage areas for bed bugs, making mattresses less susceptible to infestations
    • The covers can also be removed for washing
    • Mattress encasements can be used in two ways. Firstly by completely encasing the entire mattress, thereby containing the infestation inside the encasing or Secondly by completely encasing the entire mattress prior to an infestation and preventing the mattress from becoming infested in the first place
    • These scenarios are conditional upon the mattress encasement having a built in membrane that is impervious to bed bugs, preventing the bed bugs from penetrating or biting through the material