Bed Bug Facts and FAQs: Everything You Need to Know About Bed Bugs

Bed bugs suck. Literally.

And they’re back in full force. According to The National Pest Management Association, bed bug infestation is up 81% since 2000!

How do you protect yourself and your family from this onslaught of bed bugs?

Well, as G.I. Joe once said – knowing is half the battle. And armed with these bed bug facts, you’ll have all the information you need to know to win the battle.

What do bed bugs do?

Apart from feed on you and drive you crazy? Little else, actually.

Here’s what happens in an average bed bug life cycle, in a nutshell: A female bed bugs lays around 1 to 5 eggs daily. The eggs hatch in about 2 weeks time and the young bed bugs immediately begin to feed although they cannot lay eggs – yet.

In 5 weeks, the young bed bugs reach sexual maturity and can then start to both feed and lay eggs. Here’s a disturbing little bed bug fact: a sexually mature bed bug female lays over 200 eggs in her lifetime!

During their lifetime, bed bugs usually spend their days hiding out of human sight. When they get hungry, they crawl out of their hiding places in search of exposed skin. Once their target is found, they feed for around 5 to 10 minutes until full and then quickly scamper away back to their hiding place.

One feeding can fill them up for days and a full bed bug may only come out of hiding once a week – spending the rest of their time holed up to digest their blood meal, mate and lay eggs – which sucks when you’re trying to lure them out to kill them.

Why is there such a big bed bug problem all of a sudden?

Good question. Bed bugs were nothing but a nursery rhyme when we were kids but now all of a sudden, they’re all over the news. What is going on?

No one is totally sure why bed bugs have started making such a booming comeback in recent years, but it’s suspected that it has to do with multiple causes – the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports it’s probably a mix of bed bugs’ increased resistance to available pesticides, more frequent domestic and international travel, a lack of knowledge and misconceptions on how to control bed bugs, as well as the steady decline of public pest control programs.

Is there a bed bug season?

Some pests – like mosquitoes – run rampant in the summertime but don’t bother you when it gets colder. Unfortunately, bed bugs aren’t seasonal pests so they can bug you year-round.

That said, summers are usually a little more intense in the bed bug department. It may be because people are unwittingly bringing bed bugs back home from vacation or simply using public transportation and hotels more often during this season.

Although bed bugs are a year-round nuisance, they do have a favorite time of day – nighttime. They’re tricky little buggers and they know they’ll be least likely to be noticed when you’re asleep.

This doesn’t mean they only bite at night, though – they’re most active at night, but they’ll feed whenever they’re hungry, even during the day.

Do bed bugs only live in beds?

No, bed bugs can live pretty much anywhere – furniture, behind headboards and pictures on the wall, clothes, inside luggage and purses, even inside appliances like alarm clocks and coffee makers!

This is why you should be careful about what you bring into your home – things like used furniture and clothes are common causes of bed bugs.

Why are they called bed bugs if they can live anywhere?

Bed bugs are attracted to us by our body heat and the carbon dioxide we exhale so any place we live, sleep, rest, work, and stay will be a good housing situation for them.

But beds make for a particularly enticing home. Mattresses, box springs, and even the bed frame can make cozy places for the bed bugs to hide and breed in while the vulnerable position we’re in when we’re sleeping makes it the perfect feeding grounds for bed bugs.

Lucky for us, bed bugs lurking in the bed are fairly easy to get rid of – find out how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress!

Do bed bugs have wings (do bed bugs fly)?

No, bed bugs don’t have wings and lucky for us, they can’t fly nor jump long distances.

How they do manage to get around is by crawling. Bed bugs can travel over 100 feet in a night but they typically prefer to live within 8 feet of where people sleep, sit, or rest.

How big do bed bugs get?

Bed bug size really depends on their stage of development – bed bugs can grow to the size of an apple seed and tend to range from 1mm to 7mm in size (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny).

Bed bug eggs are around 1 millimeter in length. Once hatched, young bed bug nymphs are the size of a poppy seed and adults are roughly the size of an apple seed.

Do bed bugs bite?

Yes – thus the saying “sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.” But if you’ve ever had bed bugs, you know that “not letting the bed bugs bite” is easier said than done.

How do bed bugs bite?

Bed bug bites aren’t technically “bites.”

Here’s a disturbing bed bug fact: these parasites have two handy little tubes – with one, it injects its saliva which is laced with an anesthetic, into your skin so you don’t feel anything while it feeds on your blood by inserting the other sharp proboscis, or beak, into your skin to suck up blood.

They’ll feed like that for around 5 to 10 minutes until they’re swollen and slightly red from being filled with blood. Then, they return back to their hiding place.

Where do bed bugs bite you?

The most common locations for bed bug bites are hands, arms, neck and the worst – face. Basically, any exposed areas will be the most bitten, but they can bite pretty much anywhere.

Hungry bugs will move out from their hiding places, in search of exposed skin. Typically, the head and neck are bitten, but bed bugs will also bite bare arms, hands, legs, and pretty much anywhere else skin is exposed and easy to get to.

Can I get a disease from a bed bug bite?

As annoying as bed bugs are – their one saving grace is that they’re not known to spread disease. Hey, at least we have that to be grateful for.

How do I treat a bed bug bite?

Since bed bugs don’t transit disease, you don’t have to seek medical treatment – if the bites are itchy, creams and antihistamines help.

The only time you actually need to seek help for bed bug bites is if you have an allergic reaction to bed bug bites.

Do bed bugs only bite at night?

Bed bugs are pretty wily and will usually wait until the time of night when you’re most likely to be deep, deep in sleep – like, 4 AM.

But that doesn’t mean they only bite at night – they also move around during the day and if they get hungry and a meal source (i.e. you) is nearby, they’ll bite during the day as well.

Not disturbed enough yet and want more creepy bed bug facts?

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