bed bug myths

Debunking the top 10 bed bug myths

There have been theories and myths about bed bugs floating around since 100 A.D. when they were first running rampant through Italy. Of course, back then, people thought these blood-sucking pests could be used for medicinal purposes…to treat things such as ear infections and “hysteria.” Since then, claims about bed bugs have gotten a little less ridiculous, but the general sense of fear surrounding them still sparks some interesting theories. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place, because as your local bed bug experts, we debunk some of the most common bed bug myths.

All jokes aside, if you have a problem with bed bugs, contact Western Exterminator right away. The faster you can put an end to a bed bug infestation, the better.

Now, let’s dive into these myths.

bed bug myths

1. You can’t see bed bugs with the naked eye.

Actually, yes you can. Bed bugs are a dark reddish-brown color (even darker after a blood meal) and are about the size of an apple seed. Younger bed bugs and bed bug eggs can be more difficult to see. Early instar bed bugs are lighter in color and can be as small as a pinhead. The eggs are even smaller than that.

2. Bed bugs can jump and fly.

Luckily this one is false. Bed bugs don’t have wings, so they aren’t able to fly anywhere. Additionally, their legs do not enable them to do much jumping. The most they can do is crawl at a speed of approximately 1 meter per minute. Even though they’re relatively fast, bed bugs won’t come running toward you when you enter a room. Instead, they’ll wait until you’re sleeping before they come around.

3. Bed bugs can live a year without eating.

Bed bugs can go quite a while without eating, but they likely won’t make it an entire year. In a typical residence with “normal” temperature and moisture conditions, adult bed bugs can go 2-3 months without a meal. In colder conditions, they may live longer without feeding. Young bed bugs need to eat more often than adults and will not survive without doing so.  

bed bug myths4. Bed bugs only bite at night.

Nighttime is prime time for bed bugs. That being said, they’ll still feed at other times when the opportunity presents itself. For example, if a person works the night shift and sleeps during the day, bed bugs will adapt to feed during the day instead. Their preference is to feed while we sleep. And just in case you were considering it, sleeping with the lights on won’t fool them. A little bit of light won’t deter a hungry bed bug.   

5. Bed bugs are only found on beds.

Despite their name, bed bugs are not only found on beds. They like to stay close to the source of heat (and blood), but they can be found anywhere people spend sedentary time such as couches and wheelchairs. Bed bugs can also be found in carpet and along the crevices of drawers and cupboards.

bed bug myths6. Bed bugs prefer unsanitary conditions.

Bed bugs are often associated with “dirty” environments but in reality, they don’t discriminate. They can be found in luxury apartments just as easily as they can be found in a homeless shelter. Bed bugs are found more frequently in areas in which there are a lot of people, and consequently, a lot of blood. Though the cleanliness of a property does not impact the probability of an infestation, clutter makes it more difficult to detect and control bed bug populations.

7. Bed bugs travel on people.

You’ve probably heard bed bugs are frequent travelers. That part isn’t untrue. However, bed bugs don’t travel on people. Unlike ticks or lice, bed bugs do not latch onto their hosts, especially when said hosts are moving around. More likely, the pests will travel on personal items such as backpacks or luggage.

8. Bed bugs transmit disease.

Anxiety. Sleepless nights. Itchiness. Bed bugs can cause many things, but disease isn’t one of them. A secondary infection can result from scratching bed bug bites with dirty fingernails, but the bug itself does not transmit disease through its bites.

bed bug myths9. Doctors can identify bed bug bites.

If a doctor has ever “identified” bed bug bites on you or a loved one, s/he is likely just speculating. It is not scientifically possible to distinguish between bites from different insects. Not to mention, everyone reacts differently. Only 40-50% of people even react to bed bug bites at all.

10. DIY bed bug control methods are effective.

DIY bed bug treatments are largely ineffective. Aside from the fact that bed bugs are becoming increasingly resistant to over-the-counter solutions, eliminating EVERY single adult bed bug, egg, and larva is a very daunting task. Be that as it may, bed bug removal professionals like the experts at Western Exterminator have the necessary training and tools to tackle it. Take the guesswork out of bed bug control. Count on Western to get rid of every last one.  

The idea of a bed bug infestation can be a scary one, but not to worry. Western Exterminator bed bug specialists are the best in the business. Even if you’re not 100% sure you have bed bugs, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Call us at 888-444-6138 or send us a message to have one of our specialists come and check things out. If you do have a bed bug infestation, your specialist will work with you to determine the most effective and safe treatment plan for you and your family.

For more on bed bugs, check out some of our other blogs:
5 signs your home might have bed bugs
Inspect Your Hotel Room for Bed Bugs in 5 Easy Steps
5 bed bug hiding spots for college students

Ashley Smith

Ashley is a Digital Content Manager with Rentokil. She loves drinking coffee and spending time with her dogs.

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