What’s Bugging You!

bug5Bed Bugs, Head Lice,
Scabies, Ticks/Lyme Disease

Bed Bugs

What are bed bugs and how do you get them?

Bed bugs are small, oval non-flying insects that feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, but are considered a nuisance. Bed bugs are usually active at night when people are sleeping.  Bed bugs can enter homes by latching onto used furniture, luggage, and clothing, and can also travel along connecting pipes and wiring.

How do I know if I have bed bugs and how do I get rid of them?

Bed bugs are easily confused with other small household insects such as carpet beetles, and newly hatched cockroaches (nymphs).  In most cases people don’t see bed bugs, but start to notice itchy skin welts.  Bed bugs are hard to find because they hide in or near beds, other furniture and in cracks; you may also notice small bloodstains, from crushed insects or black spots from insect droppings.

To get rid of bed bugs you must clean, disinfect and eliminate hiding places. Adult bed bugs can live for over year without feeding and young bed bugs (nymphs) can live for several months without feeding, because of this the pest control company may use pesticides. If you hire a pesticide company it is recommended you find one that is registered by the New York State Department Conservation (DEC).

New York City Bed Bug Resources 
EPA Bed Bug Resources

Head Lice

FAQ’s About Head Lice

What are head lice and how do you get them?

Head lice or pediculosis is an infestation of the scalp .Anyone can get them. They are frequently found in school settings or institutions. Transmission can occur during direct contact with an infested person. Sharing of clothing and combs and brushes may also spread the lice.

What are the symptoms and how do you treat them?

The first indication of an infestation is itching and scratching at the back of the head or around the ears. The nits are small, oval shaped eggs that are glued to the hair near the scalp. These are easier to see than the lice themselves. If you see nits or lice you can treat them with over the counter or prescription shampoos. Re-treatment in seven to ten days is recommended.

Click here for more information on Head Lice


What are scabies and how did I get them?

Scabies is an infestation of the skin with a microscopic mite. Scabies spreads quickly in crowded conditions where there is skin to skin contact between people, such as in hospitals, institutions, and care facilities. Direct contact usually must be prolonged. Infestation can also occur by sharing clothing, towels, and bedding.

What are the symptoms of scabies and how do I treat them?

The symptoms of scabies are intense itching, especially at night over most of the body. Pimple likes irritations, rash of the skin and burrow marks may be seen. Common infestation sites are: between the fingers; skin folds of the wrist, elbow or knee; the penis; the breast; or shoulder blades. Treatment is available by prescription. Re-treatment may be necessary. The infected person must bath and change clothing. All bedding, clothes and towels used by the infected person must be washed in hot water and dried in a hot drier.

Click here for more information on Scabies

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic bulls eye rash. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.  Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat.

Click here to learn how to prevent tick bites

Click here for more information on Lyme Disease

Tick Testing Programs

Below is a partial list of state agencies and diagnostic testing labs.  In most instances, each site will have its own submission form. Recognize that some will simply identify the submitted tick at no cost while others, for a fee, will analyze the submitted tick for various tick-borne pathogens.  If you live in a state that is not listed below, consider contacting your state’s health agency to see if they support simple identification and/or further analysis. We will continue to update the following list as more sites are brought to our attention.


The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Tick office information.
Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic LaboratorySubmission form for tick testing.


University of Maine Cooperative Extension ServiceTick identification only.


UMass Extension Agriculture & Landscape Program. Tick submission form and information.


Michigan Department of Agriculture. Tick Identification and testing form.

Independent Testing Laboratories