Fact-Checking Bed Bugs: Debunking The Myths

Posted on: 28 May 2021

Bed bugs are, without a doubt, the world's least desirable bedfellows. Indeed, bed bugs are so undesirable that a sort of mythology has developed around them in popular consciousness. Since the first step to be prepared for any problem is to separate fact from fiction, here are some of the most popular bed bug myths and present you with the facts to counter them.

Metal Beds are Bed Bug Resistant

The idea that you can oust bedbugs from your home simply by using a different type of furniture is, sadly, nothing more than wishful thinking. While bed bugs may feel more welcome if your bed has a nice wooden frame, they can climb metal bed frames just as well. Furthermore, the droppings that bed bugs leave behind show that they prefer to spend their time nestled in your sheets, box spring, and mattress — when they're not feeding off of you!

Another mark against metal bed frames as bed bug fortresses is that the pests will take up residence just about anywhere within 8 feet of your bed. Bed bugs prefer dark, enclosed spaces of any kind. Other acceptable names for these creepy crawlers could be "dresser bugs," "closet bugs," or "rug bugs!"

Dirty Homes Attract Bed Bugs

The unsavory habits of roaches and flies have given many people the impression that pests and uncleanliness go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately for tidy homeowners, the bed bug sees itself as better than this. While other insects are drawn to grime, waste, and decay, bed bugs are much more interested in getting to know you. Bed bugs feed on blood exclusively, and human blood is the common bed bug's favorite.

While a messy home doesn't make you more likely to get bed bugs, there's never a downside to cleaning up. When bed bugs are already present in a home, clutter only gives them more options of where to hide. Cleaning up will drive the bugs out of their hiding places and make the infestation easier to deal with.

Bed Bugs Enter From Outdoors

You may be wondering how bed bugs pierced your defenses if the perimeter of your home is regularly treated by an exterminator. The secret is this: they had a man on the inside. Bed bugs are indoor pests, and the most common vector of entry is through contact with someone else's infested home or belongings.

While poorly cleaned hotel rooms are perhaps the most infamous places to contract bed bugs, your risk is greater in any high-traffic area. This is just another item on the long list of reasons to keep to yourself on public transit. While bed bugs can rarely crawl to your home from a neighbor's house that is very close by, this is decidedly not the norm.

You can Always Detect Bed Bug Bites

Suppose your home had bed bugs, but you never found out about it. Ignorance is bliss, right? The truth is, some people really can be unaware of bed bugs in their home. The redness and itchiness associated with bed bug bites are due to an allergic reaction, and not everyone is allergic. Bed bug bites are painless and usually — but not always — occur while people are asleep, making them even harder to detect if they don't cause a reaction.

As mentioned previously, bed bugs like to find dark hiding spots under your mattress and near your bed. While they are in hiding, they are also digesting their most recent blood meal, and will only emerge for another feeding every five to ten days on average. If you don't detect any bites the day after a feeding, it will be a while before the bugs show themselves again.

A little research will elucidate which parts of the bed bug legend aren't actually true. Despite all the misinformation floating around, you just need to remember a few simple rules. Inspect your beds and other furniture regularly for droppings, check that secondhand furniture and bedding are clean before bringing them in, and be vigilant in hotels, laundromats, and other public places. Hopefully, these facts will help you sleep tight!