Six Facts You Didn't Know About Bed BugsMissy Henriksen
Monday, July 16, 2012
Wacky, Weird but True Bed Bug Facts
If you follow the news and have seen all the
bugs have received in the past few years, you might think you
know all there is to know about this pest: They feed on humans
while they sleep, they cause itchy, red bumps and they are hard to
get rid of! But these pesky insects have a lot of secrets that you
might be surprised to learn.
1. Bed bugs can live
When most people think of bed bugs, they think of hotels. But
the truth is,
bed bugs can thrive in single-family homes, apartments,
hospitals, college dorm rooms, office buildings, schools, buses,
trains, movie theaters, retail stores and just about anywhere that
humans are. In fact, according to the
"Bugs without Borders" study, 89 percent of pest professionals
report treating bed bug infestations in single-family homes, and 88
percent report treating bed bug infestations in apartments/condos.
Respondents also report other common areas, with 67 percent
treating bed bug infestations in hotels/motels, 35 percent in
college dormitories, 9 percent on various modes of transportation,
5 percent in laundry facilities, and 4 percent in movie
2. Bed bugs aren't just city
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not just in big cities
or third-world countries. They are found in all 50 states. The
Bed Bugs in America" survey found that 17 percent of those
surveyed reported having bed bugs in the Northeast; 20 percent in
the Midwest; 20 percent in the South; and 19 percent in the West.
However, the incidence of bed bugs is three times higher in urban
areas than in rural areas due to factors such as larger population
size, apartment living and increased mobility, which are conducive
to the rapid spread and breeding of bed bugs.
3. Bed bugs are
These pests can live for several months without a blood meal.
This means they can linger in furniture, bags and suitcases for a
long time until they are near a human host again. In addition,
bed bugs can survive temperatures of nearly freezing to 122
degrees. Because of this, bed bugs are not a pest that can be
treated with DIY measures. Professional pest control is the most
effective way to treat an infestation.
4. Bed bugs are smart.
As a survival instinct, bed bugs are elusive. They know to stay
out of view during the daytime, hiding in mattress crevices, box
springs, baseboards, behind electrical switchplates, in picture
frames, and even behind wallpaper. But at nighttime, the carbon
dioxide we exhale often tempts them out of their hiding spots.
5. Bed bugs are methodical.
Bed bugs have a predictable feeding pattern. Once a bed bug
finds a host, it will usually feed for 5 to 10 minutes until
repletion. Sometimes the pattern of bed bugs feeing is jokingly
referred to as breakfast, lunch and dinner as bites will often be
found in a pattern. But the bite marks they leave behind - often in
clusters or in a row on exposed skin on the chest, arms or legs -
are telltale signs of a bed bug infestation.
6. Bed bugs could have a degree in
People often wonder why a biting bed bug doesn't wake up its
human host when it feeds. The answer is that components in bed bug
saliva act as an anesthetic and promote increased blood flow at the
bite site, making the feeding process quick and nearly
After feeding, bed bugs move to secluded places and hide for
5-10 days. During this time, they do not feed but instead digest
their meal, mate and lay eggs.
If you have a bed bug infestation, don't try to treat it alone.
Instead, contact a licensed
pest professional who is trained on the (unique, often sneaky)
habits of bed bugs. They will be able to inspect your home and
recommend an effective course of treatment.