Can Bed Bugs Smell Blood? Explained (Updated)

Last Updated on February 21, 2024 by Alene Schill

Bed bugs seem to be present in every nook and cranny, from wall crevices and furniture to carpets, dirty laundry, and even mattresses. This raises the question of whether bed bugs are able to track their movements, and if so, by what means?

Our team researched and took the liberty of compiling essential information to help you answer the question – can bed bugs smell blood?

Bed Bugs Can Smell Blood: Fact or Myth?

wounded finger

This one is definitely a myth. Bed bugs cannot smell blood, so they can’t find you or their other hosts (e.g., house pets) through sniffing. These pests locate their hosts through the body heat or warmth and carbon dioxide emitted by the body.

In addition, there has been no scientific evidence supporting the notion that bed bugs can smell blood. 

They are only known to be attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide, which is mainly the reason why they live nearby and commonly hide under mattresses, cracks, and wall crevices. Doing so helps them locate their hosts and feed on them easily.

How Do They Find Their Host?

Bed bugs can find their host as far as 3 feet away from them by seeking out body heat and sensing the carbon dioxide their targets release as they breathe. Bed bugs are commonly found close to their hosts, particularly humans, as they depend on them to survive.

They can also sense movements so they can easily spot the exact location of their host. Often, bed bugs stay close to their host so they can feed on them multiple times during the night and hide swiftly afterward. But what do bed bugs eat other than blood?

What Blood Type Do Bed Bugs Prefer?

blood specimen on test tube

No scientific explanation or study can prove whether bed bugs prefer a certain blood type. However, a study by the University of Nebraska Lincoln states that bed bugs would most likely go for a person with alcohol-free blood [1].

Even though bed bugs prefer alcohol-free blood, it is not advised to drink alcohol just to avoid getting bitten by them. 

There are lots of reasons why bed bugs are more attracted to you, and one of them is because you can be an easy meal to them if you are sleeping with most of your skin exposed [2]. 

Read: What Attracts Bed Bugs Into Your Home?


Are bed bugs attracted to period blood?

No, bed bugs are not attracted to period blood. As previously mentioned, these pests are attracted to body heat and carbon dioxide. 

No scientific evidence has proven that they are attracted to period blood since they cannot smell in the first place. Also, bed bugs have no way of sensing whether someone is on their period or not. But are bed bugs attracted to certain blood types?

Do bed bugs have noses?

Bed bugs do not have noses. However, they have antennae as sensors that guide them towards their host and feed on them.

They have a proboscis or straw-like part that they use to draw blood from their host when feeding. Also, they have six legs which makes them fast travelers.

Key Takeaways

The notion that bed bugs can smell blood is only a myth – these nasty pests are attracted to their hosts because of their body heat and the carbon dioxide they emit when breathing.

Moreover, dark bed sheets, dirty laundry, and warmth attract bed bugs more than anything else.

If in case you are suffering from a bed bug infestation, don’t wait for it to become severe, or worse, pose a serious health risk to your or your pets. 

Contact a professional bed bug exterminator immediately and have these nasty critters removed from your household as soon as possible.



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