Bed bugs have been gaining much attention because of Ohio’s rising bed bug infestations. We thought we knew many things about bed bugs, but what if they were just myths?
Let’s all dig deeper and know the real facts about bed bugs.
10 Interesting Bed Bugs Facts
1. They can live anywhere.
Bed bugs are nasty but incredible pests because they can live anywhere and not just in your bedrooms. They can live in cracks and crevices of walls, furniture, bedding, mattresses, and closets.
In addition, they can withstand temperatures from freezing to 120 °F. Under favorable circumstances, they can survive living in apartments, schools, theaters, and hospitals. Once they crawl to other places, they will start to look for new hiding spots where they can dwell, mate, shed skins, and lay hundreds of eggs. But why does Ohio have so many bed bugs?
2. They’re almost too little to see.
Do you know why people find bed bugs hard to see with the naked eye? Because they only measure 5-7mm. The average size of an adult bed bug can reach 6mm, but it can grow to roughly 7mm after feeding. More so, bed bug eggs measure 1 mm long, and that’s the same size as a pinhead.
3. They are picky eaters.
Bed bugs are picky eaters because they only consume blood meals from live hosts, preferably humans. They love human blood more than animals because the human has the right temperature and layers of skin ideal for bed bugs .
Bed bugs don’t feed with spilled and cold blood. They don’t feed on cadavers because it suffers from rigor mortis ; as muscle stiffens, there will be no blood flow.
4. They are quite smart.
Bed bugs are quite smart because they have a survival instinct. They know how to stay out of sight during the daytime and hide in crevices, mattress box springs, electrical outlets, and baseboards. When you sleep at night, they are attracted to the carbon dioxide you release, and they go out of their hiding places.
5. Their saliva contains a mild anesthetic.
Do you ever wonder why we don’t wake up and feel the pain when a bed bug bites? It is because bed bug saliva contains a mild anesthetic. When they poke their straw-like mouth on human skin and feed, hosts don’t wake up, feel the pain and continue sleeping.
Bed bug saliva also promotes increased blood flow on the bite site making their feeding process painless and quick but will turn into itchy welts in the morning.
6. They follow a feeding pattern.
Bed bugs follow a feeding pattern because they can bite you multiple times until repletion. They usually eat for five to ten minutes, and their feeding pattern can be referred to as breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Also, you can notice that the beg bud leaves behind bite marks on exposed skin like arms, legs, or chest. Bed bug bite marks are often in rows or clusters, indicating bed bug infestations.
7. They do not transmit diseases.
Bed bug bite does not transmit disease or induce any serious medical risk, but it can be itchy. Avoid scratching it because excessive scratching may cause secondary skin infection. While they are not considered deadly, their bite can cause a serious allergic reaction and may need medical attention.
Unlike other insects, when bed bug bites, it does not transfer any diseases and applying antiseptic creams may help soothe the marks.
8. They reproduce quickly.
Do you know why bed bugs can easily and quickly infest single-family homes, apartments, dorm rooms, office buildings, and hospitals? Because they can reproduce quickly. A mommy bed bug can lay 1-5 eggs per day, which means they can lay 200-500 eggs in their lifetime.
A single bed bug can live for 300 days under favorable conditions, but you can get rid of them with hot water, excessive temperature, and chemicals.
9. Their bites are difficult to distinguish.
Bed bugs bite can be difficult to identify because it does not have a specific characteristic. Bed bug bites are often confused with mosquito or fleas bites because they become itchy later. However, mosquitoes leave small bumps, and fleas leave a red spot in the center.
While it can be similar to other bites of insects, humans also have different reactions to bed bug bites. Some don’t develop lesions, bumps, or even sightings of reddish color spots.
10. They are not just city dwellers.
Most people believe that bed bugs are just city dwellers, but bed bugs exist even in rural places. Those big cities have a larger population, leading to increased mobility of bugs, so people think they only dwell in cities.
The city’s population size, lifestyle, and mobility are favorable for breeding and rapidly spreading bed bugs, but rural places can be infested if given the same situation.
5 Common Myths
1. Bed bugs can live for a year without food.
Bed bugs can live for a year without food is a myth. Here’s the truth: an adult bed bug can only live without food for 100 days. The only way they can survive a year without a blood meal is if they are in low temperatures as low as 46°F.
2. Bed bugs are scared of light.
Bed bugs are never scared of light, so stop leaving your lights on to make sure you will not get bitten by bed bugs. Most people assume that because bed bugs attack at night or when you are sleeping, they are afraid of the light.
Bed bugs are attracted to hosts when sleeping, so they usually come out at night. But even if you sleep in broad daylight or with lights on, they will go out and suck your blood. But can bed bugs survive in the wild?
3. Bed bugs can fly.
Bed bugs don’t have wings, so they cannot fly. This myth is popular because bed bugs have vestiges of wings (aka wing pads), but since it is not fully developed to be a functional wing, the bed bug cannot fly. But are bed bugs considered arachnids?
4. Bed bugs live in dirt and clutter.
Bed bugs don’t live in dirt and clutter, but it helps them avoid getting detected earlier. They live in bed frames, box springs, sheets, mattresses, bedding, and other furniture with cracks and folds.
As long as bed bugs have easy access to human hosts, they will live in either clean or dirty spots. Without regular inspection, you’ll most likely find your home with a bed bug infestation.
5. Bed bugs are only found on beds.
Bed bugs are only found on beds is a myth. Bed bugs can inhabit, hide or live in places near their hosts because it is easy for them to eat and populate. Bed bugs can live anywhere with favorable temperatures and easy access to a meal, so you can find them inside cracks, furniture, or even in your luggage full of clothes. Here’s how you can get rid of bed bugs on your couch.
How long do bed bugs feed on you?
Bed bugs can feed on you for three to ten minutes. The pest has an eating habit of not spending more than ten minutes on its host. Once they are full, they will leave unnoticed and hide in mattresses and other hiding spots.
How do bed bugs find you?
Bed bugs can find you by sensing your body heat and carbon dioxide. Bed bugs feed on warm-blooded creatures, so they find you when you are releasing carbon dioxide while sleeping.
There are many facts about bed bugs that we don’t know; furthermore, there are a lot of bed bug myths that we think are bed bug facts.
Learning about the bed bug facts can greatly help prevent and cure bed bug infestation, so we hope you find these bed bugs facts helpful.
Alene Schill is a property manager from Columbus, Ohio, who has dealt with numerous pest control agencies. She helps families find the perfect homes and knows very well that bed bugs are an ultimate deal-breaker. She enjoys cycling around Scioto Mile during her spare time.