There are many bed bug facts and myths out there today. So, what’s true and what’s not true?
Bed bugs spread like wildfire, infesting homes, vehicles, restaurants, hotels, and other public locations.
Have you dealt with bed bugs before? If you did, you’ve probably discovered the hard way that there are misconceptions about them.
You were probably aware of the infestation and you called pest control companies based on misconceptions and disinformation regarding the bugs.
It’s important for you to know that knowing the facts and myths about bed bugs is the greatest way to control and prevent an infestation.
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Here are some common misconceptions about bed bugs, as well as the facts to dispel them.
Myth: Bed bugs can fly
Fact: Because many bugs can fly, you might assume that bedbugs can as well, but this is not the case. Bed bugs don’t have wings.
They’re crawling insects that move at a speed of about one meter per minute. They’re also not able to jump either.
Myth: Bed bugs only bite at night
Fact: You might believe that bedbugs are only a problem at night, but this isn’t the case. Bed bugs are primarily nocturnal, and this is due to the fact that you sleep at night. They come out to feed while you’re asleep.
Bed bugs are attracted to the heat and carbon dioxide you produce when you’re sleeping. They will change their behavior to accommodate your sleeping habits.
If they have to, they’ll adapt and feed on you in the morning instead of at night if you stay up all night and sleep during the day.
Bed bugs are commonly associated with nighttime because they live in your mattress, and they come out to feed at night.
Myth: Bed bugs leave a huge welt where they bite
Fact: Only half of this statement is correct. Bed bug bites cause about 40-50 percent of people to have a reaction.
The reactions you have can vary. The bumps can be large, requiring ointment to relieve the itching you get. They may be small and you’ll hardly ever have a desire to scratch.
Myth: Bed bugs spread diseases
Fact: Bed bugs can carry human diseases such as anthrax, typhus, and plague to humans. There has been a lot of research done to determine whether they can transfer these diseases to you.
There’s currently no evidence that they can. It was determined that even if bed bugs are fed HIV-infected blood, they’ll not be able to transmit the infection to you.
As things stand, unfavorable dermatological disorders caused by bed bug bites are a bigger worry than disease transmission.
So, while you don’t want bed bugs by any means, you probably don’t have to worry about catching any major diseases as a result of your bed bug infestation. At least not for now.
Myth: You can’t see bed bugs with the naked eye
Fact: Some people believe that bed bugs are invisible, yet they are most likely larger than you think. You most certainly can see them. They have the tendency to hide in microscopic cracks, making them difficult to spot.
Adult, fully mature bed bugs can be one to five millimeters long and one to three millimeters wide. They are the size and shape of an apple seed and can range in color from red to brown.
The nymphs, especially early in their immature stages, are much more difficult to spot. Nymphs are roughly the size of a pinhead and are light brown in color. With a magnifying glass, you could see them.
Even their tiny translucent eggs, which are normally no bigger than a pinhead, can be seen with the naked eye if examined closely.
Myth: If you don’t have bites, you don’t have the bugs
Fact: Unfortunately, the absence of bites does not rule out the possibility of you having a bed bug infestation. Not everyone is bitten by bed bugs.
Many people do not react to bed bug bites at all. When they do, the bites can take anywhere from one to 14 days to appear.
If you don’t have bite symptoms, you shouldn’t ignore evident signs of bed bugs such as shed skins, little brown fecal stains, or a musty-sweet stench.
Myth: Bed bugs are only found in beds
Fact: One of the most common misconceptions regarding bed bugs is that they only live in beds. This is probably owing to their name.
Beds are a typical place to find bed bugs because you spend around a third of your day in your bed. Typically, bed bugs try to stay within a 5-foot radius of where you are.
Bed bugs can be found on headboards, couches, luggage, travel bags, and even on your family pets.
They can be found in nightstands, baseboards, electrical sockets, picture frames, and alarm clocks in situations where you have a significant infestation.
They can be found in baseboards, picture frames, electrical sockets, nightstands, even in alarm clocks if you have a significant infestation.
Bed bugs can also be found in public places such as movie theaters, restaurants, as well as living rooms, dens, offices, other places where people congregate. This includes your regular means of transportation such as vehicles, buses, trains, and planes.
Myth: The only way to get rid of bed bugs is to throw out your mattress
Fact: Throwing away your mattress isn’t a guarantee that there aren’t more bed bugs lurking in your home. This is because bed bugs are not just confined to your bed and mattress.
To completely treat your mattress, you can use steam, chemical, or heat treatment. Your first step in treating a bed bug infestation is not to get rid of your mattress.
You’ll probably be able to get rid of the bed bugs without having to throw out your mattress or spend money on a new one.
Myth: The cold will eliminate the bugs if you leave your bed outside overnight in the winter
Fact: This is not true. Bed bugs can survive in sub-zero conditions for days to even weeks, although they’re not cold-tolerant.
For you to be able to kill them with cold, you’ll have to leave your bed outside for a week or two, at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit the entire time.
Myth: If you have bed bugs, it means your home is dirty
Fact: Bed bugs don’t just live in filthy places, despite what you might think. While cleaning up and getting rid of clutter can help treat bed bugs more quickly, they can live in any environment, including locations you may consider to be clean and tidy.
It’s probably a good idea to keep your area clean (for a variety of reasons), but the presence of bed bugs in your home doesn’t mean you’re filthy.
Myth: You can carry bed bugs in the same way as ticks or lice
Fact: You shouldn’t be concerned about carrying bed bugs around on your person the way you’d carry lice and other insects. Unlike ticks and lice, bed bugs are not drawn to heat unless they are looking for a blood meal.
You’re more likely to transport bed bugs from one location to another via your jackets, backpacks, shoes, luggage, and other inanimate objects than your body.
Myth: Based on your bites, a doctor can tell you if you have bed bugs
Fact: No one can tell the difference between a bed bug bite and a mosquito or spider bite or a wasp sting. You can distinguish bed bug bites by their unique cluster of bites.
A single bed bug will often feed in one location, then travel about an inch to feed, then feed again. Even then, it’s not a surefire way to tell if your bites are caused by bed bugs.
Myth: Over-the-counter treatments will get rid of the bugs
Fact: Unfortunately, based on bed bug facts and myths, many companies will sell you ineffective sprays because of wrong beliefs. Many of these over-the-counter pesticide sprays contain Pyrethroid-based chemicals which are ineffective in treating bed bug infestation.
You can kill weak bed bugs using these sprays, but not all of them. And when applied regularly, the bugs become resistant to the sprays over time.
Some of these treatments, such as explosives and foggers, might even exacerbate bed bug infestation by encouraging the bugs to spread to nearby rooms or apartments.
You should look for sprays that contain Deltamethrin, Prallethrin, or Gamma-Cyhalothrin as part of the active ingredients listed on the bottle’s label. Those are some of the active chemicals in pyrethroid-based bed bug sprays sold in stores.
Myth: Chemicals are the only good way to get rid of the bugs
Fact: When it comes to bed bug facts and myths, getting rid of bed bugs with chemicals isn’t your only option. Even if you choose to use chemicals, you’ll still need to use other approaches and techniques.
In most situations, you’ll need a chemical application in addition to vacuuming, steaming, and laundering your belongings where the bed bugs can hide.
It is recommended that you use bed bug heaters. They are environmentally friendly, efficient, and 100% effective at eradicating bed bugs.
Despite the bed bug facts and myths that you’ve heard, treating an infestation without the knowledge and skills of a pest management specialist can be extremely challenging for you.
The pest control professionals know where the bed bugs prefer to hide and how to best treat them. Before you waste money on DIY measures, and maybe make your situation worse, it’s advisable to engage the services of a professional pest control company to treat your bed bugs.
Finding bed bugs in your home can be stressful, unpleasant, and a little annoying. However, it’s better if you’re able to separate the realities from the popular falsehoods.
When you do, you’ll be able to tackle your infestation with a clear head. You can then know what you should be concerned about and what you shouldn’t.