Mosquitoes flying around

7 Myths About Bed Bugs

June 19, 2020

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Although bed bugs are common pests, there are many misconceptions about them. In this post, we’ll separate fact from fiction, revealing the truth about some of the rumors you may have heard in the past.

Myth #1: Bed bugs are too small to see

Bed bugs typically are indeed visible. Full-grown bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed. What makes them difficult to identify is their tiny size combined with their ability to hide when their victims are awake. The pests are fast and can dart out of the way quickly without being spotted.

Plus, bed bugs are nocturnal, meaning they’re most likely active while you’re sleeping and when your home is dark. If your home has a bed bug infestation, they may not be anywhere you can easily see them. If you know how to check for bed bugs, you should be able to spot them or recognize their warning signs, like finding black smears or blood spots on bedding and upholstery.

Bed bugs, Bedbug eggs, blood and larvae on a timber bed slate

Myth #2: Only dirty homes have bed bugs

Bed bugs don’t care what condition your home is in. All they care about is whether there are people around to feed on. Whether your home is spotless or not, bed bugs are there for a good meal. However, good cleaning procedures may make you more likely to spot bed bugs early when infestations are generally easier to treat.

Myth #3: Bed bugs can only be found in beds

Bed bugs were named for the location where they most often feed. What might surprise you is that they may not be near your bed most of the time and they can also infest other areas of the home. After bed bugs are fed, they often leave your bed to find a good place to hide. During thorough inspections, it is not uncommon to find bed bugs and signs of their presence in and around nearly every room of a home.

Some places you might spot bed bugs in your home include on sofas and other upholstered furniture, around baseboards, and in electrical outlets, drawers, light fixtures, and electronics.

Myth #4: Bed bugs aren’t dangerous

Many people believe bed bugs are just a nuisance, but this isn’t the case. While bed bugs aren’t known to spread diseases, their bites can cause allergic reactions. In sensitive people, this could result in a serious medical emergency. Because you likely won’t know you have an allergy until you get bitten, dealing with an infestation promptly is best.

A brown bed bug crawls over a medium grey twill fabric.

Myth #5: Bed bugs will go away on their own

As long as bed bugs can find a meal in your home, they won’t go anywhere. Some might hitchhike their way to new homes, but the majority will stay and feed to their heart’s content. Leaving an infestation alone allows the pests to reproduce, leading to a bigger problem. 

Myth #6: Bed bugs ride on pets

Although bed bugs can feed on your pets, they are unlikely to stay on them when they are awake and walking around. It is much more likely for bed bugs to hide around your pet’s bed or in their carrying case than it is for them to try to remain hidden in their fur.

Myth #7: You can get rid of bed bugs on your own

Bed bugs aren’t just great at hiding. They have evolved to survive long periods without food. If threatened, bed bugs in your home will retreat deep into places you cannot reach and hide until they feel the danger has passed. This reaction often gives false positives for homeowners trying to eliminate bed bugs in their homes, only for problems to re-emerge days, weeks, or months later. 

A better approach to bed bug pest control is to call professionals with the know-how, tools, and products necessary to address infestations.

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