Bed Bug Urban Legends: Top 8 Bed Bug Myths
Top 8 Myths About Bed Bugs
From Baltimore to Chicago and Los Angeles to Miami, bed bugs seem to be showing up all over the place. But what is true and what isn't about these disturbing blood suckers? Let's have a look...
Bed Bug Myth #1. Bed Bugs Transmit Diseases
Contrary to popular belief, and unlike other blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes or ticks, bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases. Some people, however, may be sensitive to bed bug bites and may exhibit skin rashes, welts, bumps, itchiness, or other discomfort as a result of being bitten by bed bugs. So if you're a glass half full kind of person, at least the bugs sucking your blood each night aren't passing along a deadly disease!
Bed Bug Myth #2: Bed Bugs Live Only In Mattresses
Nope. Unfortunately bed bugs are much more opportunistic than that. Although they are commonly found in and around mattresses and box springs where they have direct access to sleeping human hosts, they may also be found in just about any areas where people tend to frequent. Hotels, planes, trains, buses, cars, cabs, restaurants, schools, offices, arenas, and movie theaters are all potential bed bug habitats.
Bed Bug Myth #3. Bed Bugs Fly
Because bed bugs are wingless, their capacity for flight is about the same as that of humans. So no, bed bugs do not fly. And unlike some other insects such as fleas which have tremendous leaping abilities, bed bugs don't have much of an ability to jump either. Instead, bed bugs travel by crawling, and are transported from one location to another as hitchhikers.
Bed Bug Myth #4: Bed Bugs Live Naturally Outdoors
Although populations of bed bugs can theoretically exist outdoors, bed bugs are almost exclusively an indoor pest, as they feed almost independently on the blood of humans. Unless you are spending time in an outdoor campground or other outdoor establishment where people tend to idly congregate for extended periods of time, it is unlikely that you will come in contact with bed bugs in nature.
Bed Bug Myth #5: Bed Bugs Feed Only at Night
Unfortunately not. While it is true that bed bugs are naturally nocturnal, feeding predominantly between 2:00-6:00 am, they are also opportunistic feeders and will readily bite during daytime hours, particularly in areas of heavy bed bug presence. They may also be more likely to be on the hunt for blood during the daytime after prolonged periods away from the home, such as returning from a 2 week vacation. Bed bugs will be as excited for your return as anyone else.
Bed Bug Myth #6. Pesticides are Needed to Eliminate Bed Bugs
While pesticides can be an important part of a bed bug elimination strategy, it is sometimes possible to get rid of bed bugs without using any pesticides at all. In fact, it is sometimes possible to resolve a bed bug infestation without doing any actual "treatment" of any kind. What is always necessary, however, is a commitment to a consistent process that adheres to a series of clearly defined actions and objectives. Sometimes an aggressive bed bug vacuuming and removal campaign in combination with bed bug monitoring devices and utilization of bed bug encasements will be sufficient to slowly resolve a bed bug problem. Please visit our 8 Step Guide to Bed Bug Elimination for a step-by-step treatment plan.
Bed Bug Myth #7. Bed Bugs Feed Every Day
It typically takes a feeding bed bug about 5-10 minutes to become fully engorged with your blood, after which they will return to their secluded harborage to rest, digest, mate, and lay eggs. On one hand, this may seem like good news, as if you only have one bed bug in your home you shouldn't expect to get bitten more than once a week or so. But it's safe to say you won't have that luxury for long...and you probably don't have it now! This also means that if you're getting bitten every night, you probably already have more bed bugs in the area than you would like to believe.
Bed Bug Myth #8. Bed Bugs Easily Starve To Death
If you're thinking maybe you can just go away for the summer and cause all the bed bugs in your home to die of starvation, you likely need to rethink your strategy. Some bed bugs may be able to go 6 months or longer between blood meals, making them amongst the most resilient insects to contend with. Part of the importance of using properly sealed bed bug encasements on mattresses and other furniture is to keep all bed bugs trapped inside for many months without allowing them to access their food source.