Drycleaning & Laundry Institute has provided the following information on prevention and treatment of bed bugs.
Bed bugs are small wingless insect that can feed on sleeping humans
Adults are small (about 1/5 inch), oval, and rusty red. Nymphs, or immature bed bugs are smaller and lighter colored. Bed bugs feed only on blood and must have one blood meal prior to molting to the next larger state. Adults can feed every few days but can survive many months without food. Bed bug feeding is painless. Victims usually remain asleep. Areas around bites may redden, swell, and itch. These nocturnal insects hide along seams of mattresses, in box springs, or in cracks and crevices near sleeping areas.
How do you get bed bugs? People can carry bed bugs on luggage, clothes, bedding, furniture, or other objects. Hotels, furnished apartments, dormitories and homeless shelters are most at risk. Second-hand mattresses and furniture can be a source.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs: Furniture and other home area infestations Eliminating an infestation requires removing or treating all infested materials and monitoring to be sure bed bugs are gone. Heat and cold can kill bed bugs. If the outside temperature is below 25 Degrees F, place mattresses and furniture outside for several hours to kill bed bugs. Fragile or delicate items can be placed in a freezer. Toys, backpacks, or other small items can be placed in a dryer at a temperature setting of 120-125 Degrees F for 25-30 minutes and a 5 minute cool down. You may wish to consider hiring an experienced pest control professional.
Remove or treat all infested materials as soon as you detect bed bugs Wash all bedding and clothing in hot water – 120-125 Degrees F – and dry in a hot dryer. Vacuum along mattress seams, baseboards and other areas and place vacuum bag in a tightly sealed plastic bag for disposal. If bringing items to a professional cleaner, secure all items in a plastic bag.