Are Bed Bugs Attracted To Food? Answered (Updated)

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Alene Schill

Do bed bugs show a preference for certain types of food, or do they solely rely on blood from either humans or animals?

To clarify this, we took the time to investigate and provide the most accurate answer to the question. 

Does Food Attract Bed Bugs?

grilled meat, tomatoes and other green vegetables

No. Bed bugs are not really attracted to food, as most people believe. You get bed bugs not because you love to eat in your room but because they are attracted to blood as mosquitoes do. 

So, even if you leave food on your bed or table, it will not attract bed bugs. 

Bed bugs prefer a host with a supply of fresh blood from any warm-bodied creature, like humans, dogs, cats, and so on. Grime, crumbs, or any food supplies will never get the attention of bed bugs. 

As bed bugs want fresh blood, even if there’s blood on the surface of the meat, they won’t have the instinct to eat it. But what attracts bed bugs into your home?

What Attracts Them? 

Carbon Dioxide

Bed bugs are attracted to human body heat and the carbon dioxide we exhale. That’s the reason why these bugs love to feed on warm-bodied creatures. 

When we sleep, carbon dioxide from our exhaled breath surrounds our heads, which explains why most bed bug bites occur on the head and neck.

Read: Facts About Bed Bugs


Bed bugs love warm temperatures, and the perfect home for them is the crevices on your mattress or box spring. In short, a warm bed attracts bed bugs, and they can detect heat from up to 3 feet away. In that span, bed bugs know which are the warmest place to hide.  

Dirty Laundry

smelly dirty laundry

Bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry as it smells like a potential host. So, we suggest keeping your clothes off the floor as much as possible. 

Dark Bed Sheets

Bed bugs can be attracted to varying colors at some point, but they tend to gather around more on red, black, and dark-colored things. 

They can camouflage in dark-colored items and protect themselves from predators. So, we advise using colorful bed sheets or use light-colored sheets. 

Read: Things Bed Bugs Eat Other Than Blood

What Does Not Attract Bed Bugs? 

Aside from food, bed bugs are not attracted to dirty places or unkempt households. The reason why they roam around dirty environments is for habitat. It could be their hiding ground, where there are many spots to hide. 

Also, scented candles, bleach, and fabric softener do not really attract bed bugs, as most people believe. There’s no clear evidence that these home products have any effect on attracting bed bugs. 


What smell keeps bed bugs away?

The smell that can keep bed bugs away includes rubbing alcohol, tea tree oil, lavender oil, powdered pepper, lemon, peppermint, cinnamon, and neem oil. Bed bugs hate the smells of these items. So, you can use these things to keep bed bugs away from your place.

Are bed bugs attracted to urine? 

No, bed bugs are not attracted to urine. Though urine contains carbon dioxide (which attracts bed bugs), it’s so little that it cannot affect attracting these bugs. Also, urine does not have the hormone histamine, which bed bugs use to signal other bugs. 

Final Thoughts

Bed bugs are not as attracted to food as other pests. But, like mosquitoes, bed bugs are attracted to fresh blood from any warm-bodied creature.

Besides, the dirty laundry, dark bed sheets, carbon dioxide, and warmth attract bed bugs [1] to hide and live within your place. 

But regardless of the reasons why they’re infesting your place, you need to take action immediately and stop the infestation. Also, note the things they’re attracted to and avoid them as much as possible to prevent things from worsening.  



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