Over the last few decades we’ve seen a steady rise in bed bug infestations throughout the country. Once considered a pest of the past these blood-suckers have made quite a comeback. This is largely due to more densely populated urban cities, greater accessibility to global travel, growing pesticide resistance.
If you’ve never had to deal with a bed bug infestation chances are you’ve heard a lot of stories about how to deal with these pests. Unfortunately, when it comes to bed bugs, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. These long-standing myths can make it hard for families to effectively identify and eliminate bed bug infestations in their home. Which is why, from time to time, it’s necessary to bust some of the more common bed bug myths and misinformation.
Myth #1 – Bed Bugs Only Feed at Night
Bed bugs are generally considered to be nocturnal pests. While they are most active during the night they are not opposed to feeding during the day. If a bed bug feels safe enough, and there’s a potential blood meal to be had, they’ll happily feed in broad daylight.
The main reason bed bugs tend to feed at night is that’s when their human hosts present the easiest targets. In short, when we’re asleep and immobile it’s easier for bed bugs to feed. So it’s not so much about the time of day as about our own habits. Bed bugs are just as likely to bite you during an afternoon nap as during the night.
Myth #2 – Bed Bugs are Only Found in Bedrooms
One of the most common myths about bed bugs is that they are only found in beds and bedrooms. It is true that these pests are often found in mattresses and among bed linens. But that’s primarily because it’s where their food sources spend so much of our time. As a general rule bed bugs try to stay as close to their preferred food source as possible. So they can be found beyond the bedroom in places such as couches, carpets, laundry, and suitcases. You’ll also find bed bugs any place where large numbers of people gather. This is why it’s not unusual to find infestations in public buildings, shopping centers, and on public transport.
Myth #3 – Bud Bugs Prefer Dirty Homes
Many people mistakenly assume that bed bugs are only found in dirty or unsanitary homes. But nothing could be further from the truth. Bed bugs don’t discriminate, and when it comes to their living arrangements they’re as likely to infest 5-star luxury condos as they are modest urban houses.
That being said, however, a cluttered home does give these pests more places to hide. That makes it possible for the infestation to grow and allows the bed bugs to feed and thrive long before they’re discovered. So a tidy home can make it easier to spot a growing bed bug invasion and nip in the bud before it can get out of hand.
Myth #4 – Bed Bugs Can Survive a Year without Food
This myth is partially true. Recent research into the life cycle of the bed bug has shown that at room temperature (say 60 to 73 degrees) bed bugs can only survive for two or three months without a blood meal. However, in colder conditions bed bugs can slow their metabolism down and may actually be able to live longer between feedings. Potentially up to a whole year.
Myth # 5 – Bed Bugs can Fly
Because bed bugs are insects many people assume they share similar traits with other household pests. However, while many insects can jump or fly bed bugs can not. They lack wings and their legs aren’t strong enough to jump distances. These pests get around by crawling and climbing, moving at about a meter a minute.
Myth # 6 – Bed Bugs Bite in Groups of Three
A long standing myth is that bed bugs bite in groupings of three, appearing as a line or cluster of bite marks. It’s a common misconception that has been around for decades. In reality, however, there is no set pattern to the bed bug’s bite.
Bed bug bites may appear in a line or a cluster or simply as a single bite mark. It all comes down to the number of bed bugs that are feeding on the host and the severity of the home infestation. The idea that a single bed bug bites their victim three times during a blood meal is a myth.
Myth #7 – Bed Bugs are Invisible to the Naked Eye
While bed bugs are small they are bigger than most people think. The average adult bed bug is roughly the size of an apple seed and reddish-brown in color. Easily seen by the naked eye. The main reason bed bugs are hard to see is that they are experts at hiding in cracks and crevices, under carpets, and in the seams of mattresses and upholstery. But a careful inspection will reveal them without the need for specialized equipment.
Bed bug infestations are on the rise across the country. Avoiding a bed bug invasion begins with understanding the enemy and tossing out some of our old preconceptions. By busting some of the more common myths we are better prepared to protect our homes and families from these pernicious pests.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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