11 Bed Bugs Facts You Need to Know to Defeat Them

Unlike mosquitoes and other dangerous pests, bed bugs are considered relatively harmless.

But if you’re one of many people currently dealing with bed bugs – you don’t really care that they aren’t known to transmit disease nor pose any serious medical risks.

All you know is that they make seriously crappy bedroom companions and you want to get rid of them. Asap.

And we’re going to show you exactly how to get rid of bed bugs once and for all – but we must start at the beginning. As a wise man once said, the first step to war is to know your enemy.

So, here goes – all the bed bugs facts you need to know to defeat this pesky bloodsucker!

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are tiny, oval-shaped parasites that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, using these blood meals to grow and reproduce. Since we are warm-blooded animals, we make ideal hosts for them. If you’ve got pets, they’ll feed on them as well, but they prefer humans.

Although bed bug infestations have really blow up in recent years – these irritating bugs have been around for ages – there’s references to them in ancient Egyptian literature and fossilized bed bugs that might be as old as 3,500 years old!

Back then, the bed bug population was able to live and thrive by feeding on bats – now, they’ve moved onto bigger, better pastures: us.

What do bed bugs look like?

Bed bugs are very small but still visible to the naked eye. Bed bug eggs are ivory white and resemble a grain of rice except much, much smaller – they’re roughly 1mm in length, about the size of two grains of salt.

bed bug facts

Adult bed bugs are brownish in color, but after feeding bed bugs will swell in size and turn a reddish color. They grow to around 7mm in length, about the size of an apple seed. Their bodies are flat and oval-shaped.

Young bed bugs look like the adults, except they’re lighter in color and smaller.

How long do bed bugs live?

Recent studies show that bed bugs can live to the ripe old age of around 6 to 18 months without a blood host!

But the average bed bug who’s getting regular feedings have a shorter life span of around four to six months – which doesn’t sound like too long ’til you remember that sexually mature females are laying new eggs of future bloodsuckers on a daily basis and will ultimately lay more than 200 eggs before she dies!

Where do bed bugs live?

We wish they were confined to remote, distant parts of the world, but alas – bed bugs are versatile pests and can live anywhere. They’ve been found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe.

Although they were thought to be a problem mostly in developing countries, they’ve recently been spreading rapidly across Europe as well as parts of Canada and the US.

Not only are they not picky about continents and countries – bed bugs are also found in a wide array of environments. According to a 2015 Bugs Without Borders study, the top 3 places where pest professionals report finding bed bugs are apartments and condominiums (89%), single-family homes (88%), and hotels and motels (67%). Even past surveys show these kinds of places to be the top three environments for close encounters with bed bugs.

Of course, this doesn’t mean other places are safe from a bed bug infestation – bed bugs have also been found in nursing homes, college dorms, offices, schools, hospitals, libraries, retail stores, daycare centers, and even in laundromats, movie theaters and on public transportation!

They’re pretty much willing to live wherever humans are.

What cities have the most bed bugs?

According to a recent report by Terminix, which covered company calls from January 1st to December 17th, 2015 – the cities with the worst bed bug infestations are:

1. Detroit, Michgan

2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

3. Cleveland-Akron, Ohio

4. Los Angeles, California

5. Dayton, Ohio

6. Chicago, Illinois

7. Columbus, Ohio

8. Cincinnati, Ohio

9. Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas

10. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California

11. Denver, Colorado

12. Toledo, Ohio

13. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

14. Baltimore, Maryland

15. New York City, New York

Where do bed bugs hide?

Bed bugs are all about location, location, location – and the best location for a bed bug to set up camp will be close to areas where people typically sleep, rest, or sit for long periods of time.


Bed bugs and eggs living in the crevices of a headboard.


Bed bugs and eggs living in a screw hole.

And thanks to their tiny size and narrow body shape, that means they can hide pretty much anywhere – behind wallpaper, in cracks in furniture, and any types of textiles (including upholstered furniture). But the most common places for bed bugs to hide are beds – the mattress, the box spring, bed frames, and inside the bedding.

Who gets bed bugs?

Clean people, dirty people, poor people, wealthy people – bed bugs don’t discriminate based on household income or cleanliness. Anyone can get bed bugs.

These parasites are attracted to warmth moisture and the carbon dioxide released from warm-blooded animals so pretty much the only qualifications you need to get bed bugs are that you have warm blood running through your veins and you come in contact with bed bugs.

The first one – warm blood – you can’t really help but the second one you definitely can. Here’s how.

How do you get bed bugs?

Good question – this is probably the most important question on this list since knowing how to get bed bugs is key to making sure you don’t do it.

Unfortunately, there are many ways to get bed bugs. But fortunately, many of the most common ways to get bed bugs are avoidable. Find out the most common causes of bed bugs so you can avoid them!

What do bed bug bites look like?

Ooooh, tough question. You see, looking for bed bug bites is not the best way to tell if you have a bed bug infestation on your hands.

For starters, identifying bed bug bites is not an exact science – bed bug bites can look very similar to bites from other insects like mosquitoes and fleas.

To complicate things even further, people have widely varying reactions to bed bug bites. Some may not have a visible reaction at all whereas others get red, itchy welts. Still others might break out in rashes and hives.

Thanks to the wide range of individual reactions to bed bug bites, people have been completely unaware they’re living amidst a bed bug infestation until they see the little pests scurrying around and others have mistaken their bed bug bites for everything from poison ivy to an allergic reaction to detergent!

That being said, bed bugs do have a pretty predictable feeding pattern, which is why their mealtimes are jokingly referred to as bed bug breakfast, lunch, and dinner since there will often be a pattern to the bites you’re getting.

How Do You Know if You Have Bed Bugs

Bed bugs also tend to bite multiple times, even “testing” a few areas first to find the best source of blood so bed bug bites often occur in clusters or rows on exposed skin. If you notice you’re getting welts or rashes that seem to happen at certain times and are clustered on certain areas of your skin – there’s a good chance you’re dealing with bed bugs. Find out the other symptoms of bed bug bites!

Do I have bed bugs?

Bed bugs don’t always leave marks, so how do you know if you have bed bugs?

What to Do If You Have Bed Bugs

Seeing the live, moving, apple-seed-sized parasites with your own eyes is the “gold standard.” Even better, if you can collect some of these buggers and get a professional to identify them – you’ll know for certain.

How hard is it to get rid of bed bugs?

We hate to break bad news, but bed bugs are damn hard to get rid of. It can be done but the process of getting rid of bed bugs – and living with them until you do – will be a stressful, time-consuming and traumatic experience.

That’s why we recommend that everyone – especially those living in or traveling to a bed bug infested area – take all the necessary precautions to avoid getting them in the first place. A few hours of bed bug prevention could save you weeks and months of torture.

If you’re already dealing with a bed bug problem – the good news is that you can defeat these jerks. It will take time and patience, but it can be done. Find out what really kills bed bugs and the steps you can take to start fighting these parasites asap.

Oh, and even if it’s too late for you – let your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors know that the easiest bed bug solution is prevention. Here’s an easy guide on how to prevent bed bugs – forward it to them.

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1 comment
Alan says May 18, 2019

The description of bed bugs that you give here is not the same as the ones I experienced in Egypt in 1950/52. These were more like 4mm long rather than 1 mm and they were not white like a grain of rice but a very dark brown with an even, smooth carapace. They were of variable thickness depending upon if they had recently sucked in blood. They could fly at a certain time of year; probably during their mating season. However, they can be physically moved to a new site by human transference. We used to prevent them getting into our beds (when not able to fly) by putting tins, partly filled with kerosene under each bed leg; so that when they tried to crawl up they fell into the tin and were killed. If the bed was already infected (we had metal beds) we used a blow lamp along all of the frame and this killed dormant bugs and eggs. If a mattress was infected it was difficult to find and kill all of them; but they usually spent daylight hours in the seams and folds. If the mattress was of good quality, it was unusual for them to get inside the outer cover.

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