Most county health departments have a Vector Control department. They often are able to identify your insect for free. If you have found an insect you think is a bed bug or any other insect, actually. Some County Health Departments, like Multnomah County in Portland, Oregon, have an entomologist who can identify your bugs for free!
How to find and contact your County Vector Control Department
The National Association of County and City Health Officials has made it easy to find your state and your county office. They also have provided a pdf version that includes every State and County office. Call and ask to speak to Vector Control Department, which may be part of that county Health Department or it may be independent. Typically, Vector Control deals with rat infestations and other disease transmission. Most will help identify your insect. They get a lot of questions about bed bugs and you don’t have to worry about them trying to sell you a pest control service.
Bed bugs are not “officially” recognized as a vector because they have not been scientifically demonstrated to spread disease or pathogens in humans. However the University of Ohio says this about that.
“Although not presently implicated as a vector of human pathogens, the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, has been suspected of carrying human pathogens because of its close association with humans and its obligate hematophagy. Recently, we characterized the vectorial competence of C. lectularius for the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. We observed that C. lectularius can acquire T. cruzi infection when fed on T. cruzi–carrying mice, and subsequently transmit T. cruzi to uninfected mice. ” https://u.osu.edu/bedbugs/research-refs/health/potential-disease-vectors/
Disruption to your life can be devastating even if transmission of disease to humans has not been demonstrated. Bed Bugs take toll it takes on your health, your economics, and mental health. Bed bugs differ from other insects in that they are predatory to humans. Instead of avoiding them, they seek them out in vampiric fashion.