In this post we take a look at bed bug facts and myths to uncover what bed bugs really are, what causes them and how we can deal with an infestation.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small insects that feed on blood. They feed at night and although they do not carry disease, their bites can become itchy and painful. They feed by injecting the host with their saliva to stop blood from clotting while they feed. They also inject a small amount of anaesthetic to prevent the host from feeling the bite and moving during its feed.
Bed bugs are usually found in beds or furniture and in small cracks and crevices within skirting boards where they can nest undetected.
They can lay up to 12 eggs each day and can survive for months without feeding, however the young cannot develop without feeding and must feed before each stage of growth.
Bed bugs feed on animals as well as humans, although they tend to prefer humans due to their exposed skin.
Bed Bug Facts
• Size: Around 6mm long
• Number of Legs: Six
• Shape: Oval, Flat
• Color: Rusty Brown (they turn more of a reddish after sucking blood)
• Wings: None/Cannot Fly
• Antenna: Two
• Common Name: Bed Bug
• Family: Cimicidae
• Species: Cimex Lectularius
How to prevent Bed Bugs
• Wash your bedding regularly in a hot wash
• Regularly check your bed sheets for small red or brown spots
• Don’t take second-hand furniture without a thorough examination for signs of bed bugs
• When staying in hotels, do not leave your suitcase or bag under the bed
• On return from a holiday or trip – wash all of your clothes on a hot wash (even if they are unworn)
Facts and Myths about Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are only found in bedding
This is not true, bed bugs can live almost anywhere. They are often reported to be found in soft furnishings such as sofas and carpets. They are often found in hotels due to a high turnover of people, but have even been found in laundry facilities and cinemas!
Bed Bugs can survive in any environment
Bed bugs are very hardy and can survive in temperatures from freezing to 120 degrees. They can also travel long distances in a short space of time in search of a blood meal. Bed bugs can also survive for long periods of time without feeding which makes them a very hard pest to remove.
Bed bugs aren’t visible to the naked eye
This is not true. Bed bugs are illusive and very good at hiding in all sorts of places, but they are large enough to be seen with the naked eye. They are known to hide in small crevices within skirting boards or door frames as well as within bed frames and box spring mattresses.
Bed bug bites can’t be felt
This is not true. Bed bugs use their own anaesthetic which they inject into the host meaning they hardly feel the bite. At the same time they also inject saliva which increases the blood flow meaning they can have a full meal in just a few minutes.
Bed bugs return night after night to feed
This is not true. After feeding, bed bugs return to their nest for up to 10 days while they digest their blood meal, mate and lay their eggs.
Bed bugs only feed at night
This is mostly true. Bed bugs will generally only feed at night time however, if they feel safe they would happily feed during the daytime.
Bed bugs can lay over 200 eggs each day
This is not true. Bed bugs do lay multiple eggs each day, but generally up to around 5 eggs per day.
Bed bugs live in clothes
This is partly true, bed bugs do hide in clothing however they will only usually use clothing as a method of travel to a new destination. This is the main way bed bugs are able to travel long distances and the main cause of infestations within the domestic environment.
Bed bugs can live for a year without feeding
This is not true, although they can go for a few months without a blood meal in the right environment. The young bed bugs or nymphs however cannot move onto the next stage of life until they have fed, so they cannot survive for as long as adults without feeding.
If you get bed bugs, you should throw away your mattress
This is not true. Although bed bugs can infest a mattress, this doesn’t mean you need to throw it away. Bed bugs can be treated even if they have infested the mattress using specialist heat treatments.
Bed bugs are hard to kill because they are resistant to chemicals
This is true. Bed bugs have evolved and become resistant to many of the chemicals used by pest controllers. There are however new heat treatments which are extremely successful at killing an infestation.
What to do if you think you have bed bugs?
As discussed in this post, bed bugs are very common and can infest almost any part of your living area.
They are also difficult to detect and a hard pest to remove.
If you think you may have a bed bug infestation, it is advisable to contact a bed bug pest control specialist. Our website can help you identify the signs of bed bugs and we offer advice and a free quotation for bed bug heat treatment which is the most effective way of removing an infestation.