Home » What Do Bed Bugs Do? 3 Crucial Bed Bug Activities

What Do Bed Bugs Do? 3 Crucial Bed Bug Activities

What do bed bugs do? Well, bed bugs suck. Literally. Despite the popular saying “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite,” bed bugs don’t actually bite.

What they do is far more disturbing.

These parasites have two hollow tubes. When they’re ready to feast, it injects anesthesia-laden saliva into your skin through the first tube to numb the area and keep your blood from clotting. And then it sucks your blood through the other tube. Sorry, but nobody ever said bed bug feeding habits would be pretty.

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When it feasts, it really goes to town – they’ll feed like that for up to 10 minutes! When full and swollen with your blood, they return back to their hiding place, where they can digest, rest, and breed like there’s no tomorrow.

And that basically sums up what bed bugs do.

Bed bugs don’t lead complicated lives. The typical bed bug’s life consists of just a few key activities:

  • Eat
  • Hide
  • Breed

Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail. Because the key to defeating them is to understand what they do and how they do it.

What Do Bed Bugs Do? Eat.

This is the bed bug activity that we focus on the most, despite the fact that bed bugs don’t feed on us that often.

In fact, the average bed bug only feeds every 3 – 7 days.

But when you’re dealing with a severe bed bug infestation – aka thousands of bed bugs all hungry for blood – the bites can become unbearable.

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.

How long can bed bugs live without a host?

Unfortunately, a long time.

When food is scarce, bed bugs have an extraordinary ability to survive. Twelve months is a figure you will commonly see quoted as the length of time a bug can survive without eating.

There was a study done decades ago in which a single female bed bug lived for 18 months without a blood meal. This may have been an anomaly, but it shows just how well bed bugs deal with starvation.

Is this a bed bug bite?

Bed bug bites may be horrible but they can be a blessing in disguise since they are a sign of bed bugs that alerts you to the infestation before it can get out of hand.

How Do You Know if You Have Bed Bugs

The tricky part, though, is identification. Bed bug bites can look a lot like any mosquito bites or flea bites. Even trickier is the facts that bed bug bites may not even look like bites at all!

Many people don’t even have a reaction to bed bug bites. But if you’re in the camp of people who do – you may be wondering if the marks on your skin are bed bug bites.

Here are some must-know bed bug bite symptoms to check for.

Do bed bugs bite pets?

Bed bugs don’t only bite you. These bloodsuckers have no sense of decency and will feast on any warm-blooded mammal around.

That means your pets and even your babies. So if you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, it’s imperative to learn how protect your loved ones from bed bug bites.

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. There are also a host of effective home remedies you can use.

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

What are Bed Bugs are Experts at? Hiding.

Bed bugs can get by eating just once or twice a week. The rest of their time is spent digesting their blood meal.

While they do so, it’s imperative that they remain tucked away from prying human eyes.

A bed bug’s only defense from getting killed is to stay hidden. They are helped in this by the way that their bodies are shaped.

They’re flattened across the top, which allows them to squeeze into tiny cracks and crevices to hide during the day.

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As a result, bed bugs can hide almost anywhere, but there are certain places they prefer.

How do bed bugs get in your bed?

Oftentimes, bed bugs simply crawl their way up. It’s not hard to do when you consider that most beds have several points touching the floor – aka bed legs or an entire boxspring.

This is why bed bug traps can be so effective in keeping your bed a bed-bug-free zone. They ensure that every bed bug that tries to climb up your bed gets trapped.

But while bed bug traps do indeed help keep bed bugs out of your bed, you need to be aware that this isn’t the only way bed bugs have of getting to your bed. They can also be carried there on any blankets or clothes that you take from elsewhere in the room. They can even travel on you for short periods.

If a blanket falls off and is left touching the floor, that can be a bridge of sorts for bed bugs to climb aboard. And if desperate enough, bed bugs have even been known to climb the walls and cross the ceiling to drop onto a bed.

I know, they really are resourceful little buggers.

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!

They’re called bed bugs because they love our beds as much as we do – but beds are certainly not the only place bed bugs could be lurking, especially if you have a full blown infestation.

Here are some of the most common places you’re likely to find bed bugs:

Where do bed bugs hide?

Anywhere they can.

Rough surfaces like wood and fabric are ideal. Not only do they allow the bed bugs to cling on with their claws, but they also provide a great place to lay their eggs.

Also, bed bugs tend to hang out together. Once they’ve found a good place to hide, they emit an aggregation pheromone which will attract more bugs to the location.

The seams around a mattress and the gaps where parts of a wooden bed frame meet are ideal bed bug hiding places. But those aren’t the only places they can be found.

Underneath baseboards, underneath furniture, behind light switches and power outlets, inside luggage, inside discarded clothes – all of these make suitable hiding places for bed bugs.

Again, a bed bug’s ability to hide is a big part of what makes them so hard to get rid of.

Can bed bugs live in wood?


A bed bug’s mouth is not designed for chewing. They can’t make holes in word or any other object the way that, say, ants and wasps can. When a bed bug needs a place to hide, it has to find one that already exists, since they can’t make their own.

But wooden furniture, for example, provides an ideal place for a bed bug hide.

In fact, anywhere where two pieces of wood meet, or where fabric is attached to wood, presents an opportunity to a bed bug. Their flattened bodies squeeze easily into such places, allowing them to hide in wooden furniture.

Can bed bugs live on humans?

For a bit of good news – there is one place that bed bugs are not likely to live on: you.

There aren’t many good things you can say about bed bugs. But if you’re determined to look on the bright side, you may want to focus on the fact that they don’t actually live on the body.

Bed bugs are ectoparasites, which is scientist for ‘they live outside the body’. They may need to feed on human blood and bite humans to live, but bed bugs don’t live on human bodies.

That includes your hair. And yet, it is still a common question. So here is an explanation for why bed bugs won’t live in your hair.

Can bed bugs get in your skin?

No. This is probably one of the more positive bed bug facts.

In case you’ve forgotten this disturbing bed bug fact, their mouths are shaped like hypodermic needles.

This allows them to break human skin and reach the blood vessels underneath easily, but it does not let them chew or make a hole in human skin any bigger than the width of the needle mouthparts.

Bed bugs can’t get into your skin, and they wouldn’t want to if they could.

That’s not to say that they can’t get under your skin in the metaphorical sense.

Because they bite through the skin, bed bugs cause itchy welts wherever they feed. This causes a lot of distress for the people being bitten, and it can make them feel as though the skin is crawling.

Plus, the mere thought of bed bugs is enough to make most of us feel itchy.

The Scariest Bed Bug Activity? Breeding.

It’s bed bug bites that get the most attention. But the scariest bed bug activity is actually the rate at which bed bugs reproduce.

Here are a couple crucial facts you need to know about how bed bugs breed.

Do bed bugs have a queen?

Bed bugs aren’t like ants – there isn’t a hierarchical colony and reproduction isn’t limited to one queen. Every female is a baby-making machine that can lay up to 7 eggs per day, adding up to more than a hundred eggs in her lifetime.

Do bed bugs need a mate to breed?

Here’s some very bad news: once a female has been mated with, she can continue to lay eggs without having a male present. All she needs are regular blood meals. Well, until she runs out of sperm. At which point, she needs a male mate to fertilize her eggs again.

But bed bugs aren’t picky about mates. If that single female bed bug has already laid a brood of bed bugs by the time she runs out of sperm, she will readily mate with her sons.

This is how a bed bug infestation can quickly spiral out of control. Bed bugs will mate with anyone and they are not above incest. Siblings, parents, cousins – no one is off limits.

And this is why even one (female) bed bug sneaking into your home can lead to a full-blown crisis…

I found one bed bug…are there more?

We get this question a lot. And we get it – we really do. Because when it comes to bed bugs, you want to remain in hopeful denial that the one bed bug you’ve come across is a loner, a fluke, a stray who’s mistakenly wandered into your home all by itself and lonesome.

We hate to be the bearer of bad news but the chances of that are very, very slim. So slim, in fact, that we have a whole article explaining exactly why.

In short: if you’ve found one bed bug, there’s most likely an army of its kinfolk hiding nearby. And that’s because bed bugs are prolific breeders.

Even in the very rare instance that it is indeed only one bed bug that has managed to gain entry into your home – if it happens to be a female bed bug, you’re in trouble.

One pregnant female bed bug can be more than enough to cause a full-blown infestation. And trust us, it can get bad.

>>>True Bed Bug Stories: The Worst Bed Bug Infestations Ever Recorded

We don’t write articles like the above simply to scare you, but to scare you into action. Because even a single bed bug can have terrifying consequences.

How Do You Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

By now you know that bed bugs are expert hiders and prolific breeders. So it goes without saying that getting rid of bed bugs is hard to do.

It is possible, yes, but it is also going to take time, work, and a really good strategy that covers both offense (kill the bloodsuckers) and defense (make sure they never come back).

Bed bugs require a multi-pronged treatment plan. Here’s the full guide to get you to a bed bug free life. Forever.

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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: Ultimate Guide to DIY Bed Bug Treatment

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