Lies you’ve been told about bed bugs

There is a lot of misinformation about bed bug treatment out there. We tackled this topic earlier in the month but there is also a lot of misinformation out there about bed bugs themselves. Many people do not have a clear understanding of what bed bugs look like, how they behave and what their bites are like.

Though bed bugs have been in the news a lot in recent years, there’s a surprising amount of misinformation floating around about these blood-sucking ectoparasites. How much do you know about bed bugs?

1. If you wake up with bug bites, you must have bed bugs.
With so much news about bed bug infestations, you might immediately think bed bugs are the culprit if you wake up with mysterious bites on your skin. Don’t panic! First of all, quite a few other arthropods could be the cause of your bite marks, including fleas, mites, or even bat bugs. Also, many medical conditions cause symptoms that look similar to bug bites. If the marks persist but you don’t find signs of an infestation, it might be worth a trip to your doctor.

2. I’m the only one in my house with bug bites, so they can’t be from bed bugs.
If you’re the only one in your household waking up with bites, that doesn’t exclude bed bugs as the cause. People react to bed bug bites differently, just as they do with mosquito bites or other insect bites.

It’s really a matter of how your body reacts to the bed bug saliva when you’re bitten. Two people can sleep on the same bed bug infested mattress, and one can wake up without any signs of being bitten while the other is covered in bite marks.

3. Bed bugs are so tiny, you can’t see them with the naked eye.
It’s true that bed bugs are pretty small insects, but they aren’t microscopic. If you know where to look for them, you can definitely see them without the aid of a magnifier. The bed bug nymph is roughly the size of a poppy seed, and grows larger from there. Bed bug adults measure a bit larger than 1/8th of an inch, or about the size of an apple seed or a lentil. The eggs, which are just the size of a pinhead, will be harder to see without magnification.

4. Bed bugs live in dirty houses. If I keep my home clean, I can’t get bed bugs.
Bed bugs don’t care how neat and tidy your house is, nor do they care if you’re the best housekeeper on the block. As long as you have blood pumping through your veins to provide them with a meal, bed bugs will happily take up residence in your home. The same rule holds true for hotels and resorts. Whether or not a hotel might have bed bugs has nothing to do with how clean or dirty the establishment is. Even a five-star resort can host bed bugs. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that clutter can make it much more difficult to get rid of bed bugs once they’re in your home, because they’ll have lots of places to hide.

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