Bed bugs are surrounded by myths that have been spread via word of mouth, the media and as of late, the internet. Knowing the facts on bed bugs can save you a lot of time, money and itchy embarresment in the future.
Myth #1: Only low-income neighborhoods and dirty housing complexes get bed bugs.Bed bugs can literally live anywhere, whether it be a spotless hotel, a shanty village or a Hollywood mansion. Bed bugs do not discriminate against income, age race or cleanliness.So next time someone tells you they can’t get bed bugs because they keep there house clean, be sure to give them a reality check. Furthermore, people who travel frequently are more likely to be exposed to bed bugs and bring the nasty little critters home with them when they return.
Myth #2: You can’t see bed bugs with your naked eye.This is simply not true. Bed bugs are easily spotted if you know what to look for. Adult bed bugs range from 3mm to 5mm in size – clearly big enough to be visible to the naked eye.Bed bugs are similar in shape and size to an apple seed and are generally reddish brown in color. The most common spot for bed bugs to hide are in your mattress, the seams of your mattress and your headboard. They are very “flat” so you’d be surprised at some of the places they can hide.
Myth #3: I don’t have bed bugs, my partner never gets bed bug bites so it must be something else!Not everyone reacts to bed beg bites in the same way. Just like some people have severe reactions to bee stings while others have no reaction at all, people react differently to bed bug bites.Some people may have an immediate almost allergic reaction to a bed bug bite, while another person may have no reaction at all. Furthermore, some people may experience severe itching and swelling while their partner doesn’t even notice they have been bitten.
Myth #4: Bed bug bites can NOT make you sick.It’s true that bed bugs do not spread disease among humans. However, bed bug bites CAN get infected. Generally speaking bed bug bites are harmless, but in some cases people can develop severe allergic reactions to bed bed bugs. Along with allergic reactions, bed bug bites can be extremely itchy and often the temptation to scratch the bite can lead to infections.The most noticeable effects of bed bugs are actually psychological – including things like fatigue, anxiety, stress, depression and sleep apnea. Bed bugs make people feel “icky” and going to sleep knowing your going to be sharing your bed with nasty bugs that feed on you during the night can be daunting. That’s why it’s important to remove bed bugs before they become a major issue.
Myth #5: It’s too cold where I live for bed bugs!Even in the coldest climates bed bugs can still thrive. For starters, most bed bug infestations are located indoors. Bed bugs only need to be transported for short periods of time on clothing or luggage to find a new home to infest. Often this transportation occurs in the warm comfort of a car in cold climates, or on public transit, or in the warmer summer months.So don’t kid yourself by thinking that the cold will stop bed bugs in their tracks. Bed bugs are worldwide and effect places like Russia and Canada just as bad as they do the United States and Mexico.
Myth #6: Sleeping in a metal bed will protect you from bed bugs.It’s true that metal beds are not as comfortable for bed bugs as say wooden beds, but having a metal bed alone will not protect you from bed bugs. In some scenarios a metal bed may actually make it harder to detect a bed bug infestation because there are less places for the bed bugs to hide, making them choose less obvious places.And if you thought that bed bugs can’t climb up metal bed frame legs – you’d be wrong. Bed bugs can climb metal, wood and even glass. You could however set bed bug traps around the four legs of your bed. Not only do the traps stop bed bugs from getting into your mattress and hiding, they also offer a first sign that you may have a bed bug problem.
Myth #7: Over the counter (OTC) bed bug sprays and remedies will get rid of bed bugs.This myth actually has a grain of truth to it. Many different things have been tried to kill bed bugs – rubbing alcohol, kerosone, regular bug spray etc. While these are generally ineffective against bed bugs you can remove bed bugs without having to call in a specialist. However, you have to be very persistent and it’s more manual labour (like vacuuming) then it is using an over the counter bug spray or other remedies.If you do try something like kerosene or rubbing alcohol – remember these are FIRE HAZARDS! With any spray or fumigation you should always make sure to read and follow the directions on the label and ventilate the room.
Myth #8: Bed bugs are resistant to all common pesticides.It’s true that bed bugs are becoming increasingly resistant to commonly used pesticides, however they are not resistant to all pesticides. Common home pesticide sprays and foggers are not very effective at killing bed bugs. Pest control experts on the other hand do have pesticides that are very effective at stopping bed bugs and they are continually coming up with new ways to kill bed bugs.So if you have a bad beg infestation it’s best to call in an expert in pest control – if you can afford it. If not, get out your vacuum and your magnifying glass and get busy!
Myth #9: Get rid of your bed and you’ll be rid of bed bugs.Bed bugs don’t just live in your bed. They can leave in any crack or crevice in your room. This includes places like peeled wallpaper, floor molding, vents, carpet edges, clothing, furniture, electronics – pretty much anywhere that they can hide. In fact by getting rid of your bed you may just be spreading the bed bugs elsewhere throughout your home or to neighbors nearby.If you do need to dispose of your mattress or furniture make sure you seal it tightly in plastic and write on it to make sure people know it contains bed bugs. You may even want to destroy it (grab that knife) so that the item is no longer usable and the bed bugs won’t be spread.
Myth #10: All of your clothes need to be washed to make a bed bug treatment effective.In extreme cases, you will have to wash all of your clothes in extremely hot water (and then dry with a hot temperature) to kill any bed bugs in your clothes. In other, less extreme cases your clothes may not even contain any bed bugs.The first step in effectively treating bed bugs is to identify the source of the bed bugs. After you’ve identified the area with the most bed bugs you can decide on a plan of action. If the source is close to your clothes or you have reason to believe your clothes have been contaminated then it is a good idea to wash ALL of them. If you’re unable to locate the source, call a professional bed bug or pest control expert.
Myth #11: Traveling is the only way to pick up bed bugs.Many people think, “Hey, I can’t have bed bugs because I havn’t traveled anywhere recently!”.It’s true that traveling and then returning home with bed bugs in tow is the most common way of spreading infestations – but it’s not the only way. You could of picked up bed bugs on the public transit, having someone visit your home, by purchasing a piece of infested furniture or used electronics, or even through connected vents and drains with other housing.Bed bugs spread very easily and can reproduce rapidly, so don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re too good for them. Anyone can get bed bugs – instead of being in denial about it, start removing the bed bugs from your home before the infestation gets worse.
Myth #12: You can’t bed bugs from your neighbor.Bed bug migration from one home or apartment to another is actually more common then most people think. In apartments or shared housing such as condos the risk of migration is even higher. Bed bugs can travel through tiny cracks in the will, through connected vents or spaces, or even in the seams of floor boards or the edges of carpet.If your neighbor has bed bugs it is quite possible the infestation will eventually spread to your home as well. Apartment complexes are especially vulnerable to migrating bed bug infestations. You must let the apartment complex owner know when you have an infestation so everyone in the building can get involved and prevent bed bugs from spreading.If you have any questions about bed bugs, please leave a comment.