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Bed Bug Myths…Fact Or Fiction

Bed bugs are a nuisance and no one wants to be on the receiving end of a bed bug infestation. There are a lot of myths out there that might be making them out to be much worse than they already are, or that can leave you unprepared to seek proper treatment.

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Bed bugs are only found in gross motel beds

While there may be some truth that this is a common place to find bed bugs, they can be anywhere. They actually live in a variety of places beyond just beds. They can be found in furniture like couches, chairs, as well as luggage, and more.

Bed bugs have been found in not just hotels (dumpy as well as fancy), but also apartments, condos, college dorms, laundromats, movie theaters and even sometimes hitching a ride on planes, buses, cabs, and in cars. They are also known to hitch hike on your clothes and luggage. If you do find yourself in a place that does have bed bugs, be careful not to bring them back home with you.

Bed bugs only live in big cities

It’s true that bed bugs are much more common in bigger cities. However, that isn’t the only place they are found. The main reason they tend to be in bigger cities is simple. It’s easier for them to spread in places with close contact to humans combined with more frequent travelers passing through.

Anywhere there are apartments, condos, college dorms, etc. are all good locations for bed bugs. Bed bugs feed off of the blood of mammals. If there’s a place to stay with a decent blood meal, bed bugs can live there.

You can tell if you have bed bugs based on the bites they leave

Unfortunately, this is not true. A common question we get in the pest control world is, “what kind of bug bite is this?” Many bugs don’t even bite humans to begin with. Spiders are thought to bite humans all the time and that just isn’t true either.

Some people don’t even have a reaction to bed bug bites. Others can have allergic reactions and have red bumps or sores where they’ve been bitten. It’s almost impossible to identify “what bug bit you” by the marks left behind.

A lot of the time “bite marks” aren’t even a bug bite to begin with. It could be a skin infection, rash, or even sometimes skin cancer.

If you suspect bed bugs, definitely reach out to a pest control service. They can help remove them as they aren’t something you can get rid of on your own.

For any type of skin issue, it’s often best to consult a doctor for help. A pest control service won’t be able to provide treatment or diagnosis.

You won’t wake up when bitten by bed bugs

This one is actually true. Bed bugs are like mini anesthesiologists and they inject an anesthetic through their saliva when they feed off of you, so even though you are getting bit several times, most people don’t feel anything at all until hours later.

On top of this, bed bugs can last months without feeding, so you might get bit one day and not see them or notice them biting you for a long time. Again, if you suspect bed bugs, at all it’s best to have it checked out by a pest control professional so they don’t go unchecked allowing them to breed and multiply creating more issues.

Bed bugs can transmit and spread HIV and other blood born diseases

It’s true that bed bugs do feed exclusively on blood, but at this point thankfully they don’t seem to transfer any blood borne diseases to humans when they do.

Bed bugs are being constantly monitored and tested on various diseases (blood based and other) to see if they begin to transmit diseases, but so far they do not. The biggest risk related to this comes from the possibility of skin infections from scratching the welts from their bites.
The absence of bed bug disease transmission has aided in the study of bed bugs. Universities are able to sustain bed bug populations for study by paying volunteers to let the bugs feed on their arms and legs.

Bed Bugs Can Fly

Although they technically have wing pads, they are a dormant physical trait that does not develop. They are also horrible jumpers. They can crawl up on something and fall, but they do not jump in the standard sense. If you are seeing bugs jumping or flying that are biting you, it is not bed bugs.
Even though they can’t fly, they still are hardy travelers. One of the main reasons they spread so quickly in cities and densely populated areas is that they do crawl from place to place and they aren’t limited to just beds to live in. They have been known to get onto luggage and clothes left in areas with bed bug issues and then they end up coming back home with you or spreading to new areas.

Bed bugs are impossible to see

While they are small and master hiders, they are not invisible. They are about as hard to see as a watermelon seed if they are out in the open. Most of the time they stay hidden in cracks, crevices, and voids only coming out to feed in the dark as you sleep, so they can be very hard to find even though they would be relatively easy to see once found.
Many people think that bed bugs only come out at night as well, which isn’t 100% true. The reason this happens is that they are attracted to the heat and carbon dioxide that humans and other mammals expel when they are sleeping. It’s pretty much the equivalent of ringing the dinner bell for bed bugs and yelling dinner is served!
They can just as easily come out in the day if there is a food source available, at night their prey usually is sleeping and sedentary making them easy targets for bed bugs.

Bed bug bites tend to be linear in pattern

There is some truth to this, but it is not a hard fast rule. Bed bugs often times target veins which often times will be linear, but they may simply follow a pattern of where biting is possible and what part of the body is most accessible.
This again brings us back to a pest control service is not going to be able to identify a specific pest infestation based on the bite marks that you have. Since you can see bed bugs with the naked eye it’s best to do some searching and identify them yourself or if you suspect bed bugs call a professional pest control service.

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