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  • Writer's pictureAllan Bossel

9 Common Myths about Bed Bugs

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

bed bugs

If you’ve never had to deal with a bed bug infestation, consider yourself lucky, as these pests can be incredibly difficult to get rid of. Once a pest of the past, bed bugs have made quite a comeback and experts are saying this is due to densely populated urban housing, global travel, and growing pesticide resistance.

[Note: They’re not resistant to Sterifab!]

However, even if you haven’t come face to face with a bed bug infestation yet, it’s likely you’ve heard a thing or two about how to deal with them. Unfortunately, when it comes to bed bugs, there’s quite a bit of misinformation out there. From how to spot signs of a bed bug infestation and how to effectively get rid of them, there are plenty of notorious myths that need to be debunked. The more people know about bed bugs, the easier it is to properly treat them.

Myth 1: Bed bugs bite only at night

Bed bugs are typically nocturnal insects becoming most active at nighttime. However, if hunger strikes and they feel safe enough, bed bugs are not opposed to feeding during the day, so keeping a light on at night won’t deter these pests. One of the reasons they tend to feed at night is because of the lack of movement from humans as they sleep making it easier for them to feed.

Myth 2: You can’t see bed bugs

You may have heard that you can’t actually see bed bugs with the naked eye. While they are small, they’re actually bigger than you might think, as an adult bed bug is roughly the size of an apple seed and reddish-brown in color. If you look closely enough you can even see bed bug eggs which are about the size of a pinhead and pearl-white in color. One of the main reasons bed bugs are hard to see is because they hide in the cracks and crevices of mattresses, couches, and other inanimate objects making them difficult to spot, if you don’t know where to look.

Myth 3: Bed bugs live only in beds

Likely due to their name, one of the most common myths about bed bugs is that they live only in beds. While they’re often found in mattresses because that’s where their food source spends most of their time at night, bed bugs can be found in many other places such as couches, carpet, travel bags, suitcases, and family pets. You may also find bed bugs on different forms of transportation like trains, planes, or cars. The good news is that Sterifab can be used to kill bed bugs while you travel without leaving any undesirable residue or stains behind.

Myth 4: Bed bugs prefer unsanitary conditions

Many people often assume that bed bugs are found only in dirty or unhygienic places, however, that’s not true. When it comes to their living arrangements, bed bugs don’t discriminate and can be found anywhere from luxury apartments to homeless shelters. Bed bugs aren’t attracted to dirt or grime; they’re attracted to the warmth, carbon dioxide, and blood of their host.

The issue is though, once bed bugs move in, they can be incredibly difficult and expensive to get rid of. Therefore, it may be more common to find these pests in lower-income properties with unsanitary conditions due to the dense population and lack of resources to effectively eliminate the infestation. However, it’s important to understand that higher amounts of clutter or increasingly messy living conditions give these critters more places to hide and thus can aid them in evading your efforts to get rid of them. Certain hygienic habits such as regular vacuuming can also help prevent them from spreading from one point to another, in case they’ve been brought into the house. Using disinfectant products that work simultaneously as insecticides, such as Sterifab, is a great way to practice household hygiene and keep pests, including bed bugs, at bay.

Myth 5: Bed bugs hitchhike on the body

There’s a common misconception that bed bugs can be transferred to other locations via the human body. While they can move about on your clothing, bed bugs don’t actually live on the human body like lice or ticks do. Unless they’re feeding on a blood meal, bed bugs don’t really like heat. Bed bugs prefer to hide in cracks and crevices of your belongings when they’re not feeding so they’re more likely to move around via luggage, backpacks, shoes, fabrics, or other non-living objects. You should not use Sterifab on your skin (in fact, it’s best to wear gloves during application), but you can use it on most of your household surfaces, excluding cookware and waxed surfaces, to kill any bed bugs that might be hiding.

Myth 6: Bed bugs can survive a year without eating

Recent research shows that at a normal room temperature, which is around 68 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit, bed bugs can survive for only two to three months without a blood meal. However, in colder conditions, these cold-blooded insects are able to slow down their metabolism and may be able to live a year without eating.

Myth 7: Bed bugs can jump and fly

While many bugs jump or fly, fortunately, bed bugs do not, so you don’t have to worry about these pests jumping or flying onto you. They lack wings and instead get around by crawling, moving at a speed of roughly 1 meter per minute.

Myth 8: You need to get rid of your mattress if you have bed bugs

Some people believe that you’ll need to throw away your mattress or other belongings if you have a bed bug infestation. This is largely due to the fact that most insecticides cannot be used on upholstered furniture, such as mattresses. However, there are multiple ways to exterminate bed bugs from a mattress. Sterifab is the only bed-bug-killing pesticide and virucide that is non-residual, EPA-approved, and usable on all upholstered surfaces including mattresses. Professionals have used Sterifab for decades to remove bed bug infestations, and you can use it to remove bed bugs from your mattress, preventing you from having to throw it out.

Additionally, professional bed bug extermination specialists, such as Michigan Bed Bug Specialists, have non-chemical approaches that can also effectively exterminate bed bugs. Heat treatments are one effective method that can kill bed bugs and their eggs in and on your mattress, penetrating it completely and making it impossible for any life stage of bed bug to survive. However, heat is not a permanent solution, and does not keep bed bugs away. If you’ve experienced a bed bug infestation and treated it with a professional heat service, such as Heat Assault, you should routinely use a product like Sterifab to clean and treat the surrounding areas to help keep your space bed-bug free.

Myth 9: Bed bugs bite in groupings of three

You may have heard that bed bugs bite in groupings of three as a line or cluster of three bites, also known as the breakfast, lunch, and dinner patterns. In reality, bed bug bites can appear in any number, whether it's a single bite, a line of bites, or a larger cluster. This depends solely on the number of bed bugs that may have bitten you and how severe the infestation is. So if you wake up in the morning and have a single mysterious bite, don’t immediately rule out bed bugs as the culprit. Any kind of unexplained bite should be checked out by a medical professional, especially if it results in any rash or pain.

Want to get rid of your bed bug problem, for good?

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Allan Bossel

Owner and Operator of Michigan Bed Bug Specialists, has over a decade of insect and pest control experience, with a background in professional pest extermination and lab work. Allan is licensed by the State of Michigan as a commercial pesticide applicator in general insect control and mosquitoes, and has received thorough continued training in his field. As an expert in residential and commercial pest control, in addition to his skillset in operating state-of-the-art pest control machinery, Allan has a formidable base of expertise and experience when it comes to all things pest-control, and more specifically, bug control.


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