Bed Bug Fun Facts
September 12, 2016
In recent years, bed bugs have returned with gusto to become a commonplace nuisance, especially for hotels and apartment complexes. This latest bed bug resurgence has everybody wondering if they should be worried about these tiny pests. Fortunately, bed bugs do not carry any threats of communicable disease and they do not pose any other serious dangers, but they can be quite irritating especially when you wake up with itchy red bumps on your skin. Regardless, they have managed to nose their way into our everyday lives, so it can’t hurt to learn more about these resilient little guys. After much research and a vigorous selection process, I decided on these seven intriguing and somewhat peculiar “fun facts” that set bed bugs apart from other pesky critters. Get ready, some of these facts may surprise you, some may interest you, and some may even make your skin crawl; but no matter what, by the end of this post you will have learned something new!
#1: Sanitation and cleanliness are NOT a factor when it comes to preventing an infestation, bed bugs do not discriminate. I always thought that you could only get bed bugs if your place was messy or dirty. And whenever I hear that a hotel has a bed bug infestation, I automatically assume that it is nasty or that the owners don’t keep up with health codes or worse! In reality, it doesn’t matter how clean or dirty a place is, the bed bugs will thrive either way. You could be the tidiest person in the world with a house so clean that you could see your reflection in every surface; it wouldn’t make a bit of difference once the bed bugs arrive. They will have no problem making themselves comfortable in your home. Bed bugs are equal opportunity pests, anybody could fall victim to an infestation.
#2: Bed bugs are commonly referred to as the “Hitch Hikers” of the bug world. In order for bed bugs to spread, they have to catch a ride. They will travel into your home on your luggage, your purses, your furniture, and even your clothes. On the bright side, they do not hitch hike on your body, just on your stuff.
#3: They are drawn to the carbon dioxide that you exhale, and it gets even creepier than that. Everybody assumes that bed bugs are nocturnal, given their name, and that is true for the most part. They are typically nocturnal, but when it comes to feeding, they will go for it whenever they get a chance. Bed bugs do not feed based on the light or dark, rather they will feed when they sense that you are dormant and will remain dormant for an extended period of time. They can sense that you are dormant based on the carbon dioxide in your breath when you exhale. Creepy, right?
#4: Bed bugs are little anesthesiologists. Have you ever woken up to find those itchy red bumps on your arm, you know that a bed bug is responsible, but how did that annoying little bug bite you in the middle of the night without startling you awake? The answer is actually quite fascinating! Bed bugs’ saliva has unique anesthetic-like features that numb your skin so you won’t feel that they bit you until later.
#5: Believe it or not, poop is usually the first indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are excellent at hiding and they are very smart, which makes it incredibly difficult to detect an infestation. Lucky for us they are not perfect; unlucky for us their one weakness is their poop. Bed bugs gorge themselves on your blood to the point that they must deposit their feces immediately after feeding. Unfortunately, this means that they will probably poop on you after they feed on you. Even though they are going on you, the up side is that they are also depositing feces on your mattress. I know that doesn’t sound like the ‘up side’, but the stains that their feces leave on mattresses are usually the first sign of a bed bug infestation. At the end of the day, poop gives them away!
#6: There is a growing market for dogs that are trained specifically to detect bed bug infestations. These trained dogs detect an infestation successfully about 97% of the time. That is pretty impressive compared to humans’ measly 30% success rate. Bed bugs are nearly impossible to detect visually because they are incredibly small and excellent at hiding. In these scenarios, dogs are natural detectives because of their acute sense of smell. Bed bugs don’t stand a chance against man’s best friend.
#7: Bed bugs are resistant to cold temperatures, BUT they are incredibly vulnerable to heat. Bed bugs simply cannot survive in extremely hot temperatures. In fact, heat can be an incredibly effective way to get rid of bed bugs in your home. You can take advantage of their vulnerability to heat by washing your clothes and sheets in hot water to kill off any bed bugs that may be hiding there. Some pest control companies, such as Nozzle Nolen, offer bed bug heat treatments during which they are able to safely heat your entire home to a degree that will kill off any bed bugs and eliminate the infestation entirely. Heat can be more effective than other treatments, like insecticides, because there is no need to search for each bed bug since the heat will cover the entire area. Bed bugs are fairly durable and evolution made them immune to most common insecticides, but so far they haven’t figured out how to beat the heat!
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