Bed bugs have long been an issue of public health. While they don’t spread or transmit disease, they do feed on human blood, cause itchy bites and are irritating to their human hosts. Experts believe the recent increase in bed bug infestations in the U.S. may be due to travel and general lack of knowledge about the bug.
The best way to control and prevent an infestation is to get good, solid information about bed bugs. Here are the most common bed bug myths, debunked.
Myth 1: Bed bugs aren’t visible to the human eye.
Fact: Adult bed bugs, nymphs and eggs can be seen with the naked eye.
Myth 2: Bed bugs live in dirty places.
Fact: They aren’t actually attracted to dirt and grime, but warmth, blood and carbon dioxide. The dirt and clutter are added bonuses for more hiding spots.
Myth 3: Bed bugs transmit diseases.
Fact: According to the EPA, there have been no cases or studies that indicate bed bugs transmit diseases to humans.
Myth 4: Bed bugs won’t come out in a brightly lit room.
Fact: While they prefer darkness, keeping the lights on has no real effect on them, and they will still bite you.
Myth 5: Bed bugs can fly.
Fact: Bed bugs don’t have wings therefore they cannot fly. However, they can crawl about 3 feet a minute.
Myth 6: Bed bugs only bite at night.
Fact: While they are considered nocturnal, their feeding habits are more like humans – if they’re hungry, they eat no matter what time of day.
Myth 7: Bed bugs live exclusively in the bed.
Fact: The name ‘bed bug’ is deceiving. While you can find them in your bed, they also spread away into other living areas. Bed bugs can be seen on any surface. You can find them on your pets, your chairs and your ceilings.
Myth 8: Bed bugs travel on our bodies.
Fact: Unlike lice and ticks, bed beds don’t stick in hair or on skin. They don’t particularly like our body heat, so they prefer to travel in backpacks, purses, luggage, shoes and other items that don’t emit direct heat.
Myth 9: Bed bug bites are distinct.
Fact: It’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between a bed bug bite from a mosquito bite or a wasp sting. However, bed bugs do tend to leave a cluster of bites within mere inches of each one. The cluster could be an indicator, but not a completely reliable way to determine the bite.
Myth 10: Over the counter treatments will get rid of an infestation.
Fact: Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are companies that sell sprays and chemicals that claim effectiveness, but the only true treatment is through expert pest control.
Treating bed bugs is extremely difficult. Pest professionals are experts on bed bugs and know the best, most effective treatments and prevention methods. Don’t mess around when dealing with bed bugs. Home remedies and DIY treatments can potentially make the situation worse. If you see warning signs of bed bugs, contact your local pest control expert immediately to discuss treatment plans.