We've all heard of bed bugs, but unless you've had them, you likely don't give them a second thought. After all, they only exist in dirty, dark places, right? Well - actually - no. Unfortunately, bed bugs are surprisingly prevalent worldwide and have experienced a post-pandemic boom as we've all started traveling again.
These little bugs don't thumb a ride when they hitchhike; they just climb on. Worse still, when they get to your destination with you, they'll quickly colonize your bedroom. They don't discriminate - whether you're clean or dirty, wealthy or poor, young or old, they'll feed on you.
But what attracts bed bugs in the first place? Read on to learn the Fact and the Fiction!
What Attracts Bed Bugs: FACTS
So, what really attracts bed bugs? The truth is simple: it's you.
Bed bugs are drawn out of their hiding places by the carbon dioxide you breathe out and the warmth from your body. They'll climb up out of the mattress or a crack in the baseboard and, once on your skin, will bite and feed until plump and full if left uninterrupted.
Your Body Temperature
Bed bugs are attracted to warm-blooded animals like you. Their antenna has specialized sensory structures that can detect small temperature changes. Lab studies have shown that bed bugs can detect heat and move towards it, independent of other cues, such as CO2, odors, or moisture. To them, your body heat signals food.
Your Dirty Laundry
Actually, it's not your dirty laundry but the odor found on the dirty clothes that attract bed bugs. Controlled experiments showed that bed bugs were significantly more attracted to dirty laundry than clean laundry in the same bedroom-sized area. Some speculate that this attraction to dirty laundry could be a reason bed bugs will come home with you after a stay at a hotel with bed bugs. They jump in the suitcase with the dirty laundry.
Small Safe, Warm Cracks, Crevices, Nooks, and Crannies
Everyone wants a safe, warm place to call home, and bed bugs are no different. Unfortunately, they also like to be near a reliable food source, so naturally, they look for small cracks and crevices near your bed. You might find them anywhere from the baseboards to the bead of fabric along your mattress. If it's warm and hard to get to, they want it. It also helps that you will lie around for 8 hours a night, unsuspecting of their intent to feed.
What Attracts Bed Bugs: FICTION
Like any scary monster, there are a lot of myths about what attracts bed bugs. But rest easy that most of them are not valid. Here are some of the more common ones we've heard.
Dirty People and Places
One of the most prevalent myths about what attracts bed bugs is that they only like dirty places and people. Unfortunately, for most of us, this is not the case. While trash and clutter may provide additional hiding spots, a messy room won't attract them. Even a 5-star hotel can be infested with bed bugs if someone brings them with them during their stay.
Left Over Food
Many pests will be incredibly grateful if you leave a takeout container overnight or forget to put the lid back on the cookie jar, but bed bugs aren't one of them. They aren't interested in any food you'd put in your mouth! You are the food source they are looking for.
They're Only a Problem for People with Pets
If a bed bug finds its way onto your pet, they'll likely be quite happy to feed on Rover, but it's the equivalent of settling for McDonald's when you thought you were going out for a sit-down meal. It does the job, but it's not quite what you were hoping for.
Bed bugs always want humans first, so if they find their way into your home, look to where you've been rather than your poor pet. (That said, if your pet is scratching like crazy, check for fleas first since those pests will bite both of you!)
They're wrong if anyone's ever told you that you can keep away the bed bugs by keeping a light on at night. Like criminals, they'd prefer to work under cover of darkness, but if they see an opportunity while the sun's up, they'll take it.
How Do I Avoid Getting Bed Bugs?
Showering regularly and keeping your clothes in your suitcase won't necessarily protect you from bed bugs while traveling but being diligent about what you do when you return from your trip can protect you from an infestation.
When you return from traveling, put all your clothes into the washing machine on a hot wash, even if it's 3 AM. In the days and weeks following, keep an eye on your skin for any signs of bites and check around your bed for any signs of bed bugs.
How Do I Keep My Business Bed Bug Free?
The only way to truly keep your business bed bug-free is to regularly treat the area to ensure you're killing off any potential pests before they can get a foothold.
Our Heat Treatment Packages are exactly what you need to kill bed bugs, whether you're a business owner or homeowner who has a lot of guests or travels frequently. We offer the most affordable way to keep on top of your bed bug pest control, and you'll be able to take action whenever you need to quickly.
To find out more about our heat treatment packages, click here