“Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
Just how much truth is there to this common goodnight greeting- do bed bugs really bite? And do they only bite at night? While this ubiquitous childhood rhyme might just be a catchphrase for some, these blood sucking creatures can really be a nightmare for many. In this article, we share some of the lesser known facts of bed bugs and will attempt to provide you with some snippets of information in the most fun and creative way possible. Sit tight on a joy ride for some bed bugs facts!
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History of Bed Bugs
Before sharing the list of fascinating facts we have curated, allow us to share some quick facts about the history of bed bugs. So what exactly are bed bugs? They are small, oval insects that thrive on the blood of any warm-blooded animal.
The origins of Bed Bugs trace back all the way to centuries ago. They were more prevalent before World War II, due to the unsanitary conditions and poorer hygiene then. However, they became rare after the pesticide DDT, a colourless, odourless chlorine compound, was being widely used, which managed to control the outbreak of bedbugs, especially in the US. In recent years, the prevalence of travel and globalisation as well as tighter restrictions on pesticide usage has led to the inevitable comeback of the bed bug infestations worldwide. While bed bugs are often said to be found in unsanitary conditions, they can also live and thrive in clean environments, as long as there are humans present.
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Interesting Bed Bug Facts
Now, to know more about the secrets of bed bugs and how exactly they work, check out this list of interesting facts we have collated about them!
1) Ironically, Bed Bugs are NOT just found on beds
Contrary to popular belief, bedbugs are NOT just found on beds. In fact, they can be found in any other places from apartments to hospitals, office buildings, trains, movie theatres, retail stores and even airplanes. Bed bugs can feed on the blood of any warm-blooded animals but prefer humans because of how we are not as furry as other animals are, which might act as a hindrance towards their quest for sucking blood.
3) Bed Bugs DO NOT only bite at night
No no, like us, bed bugs are just creatures who need food at any time of the day. All they require is warmth and blood, they don’t discriminate against time or location! Maybe the old nursery rhyme is taking a toll on our intelligence…
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4) Bed Bugs lack wings, and therefore CANNOT fly
Surprise, Surprise! These pesky creatures might have an Achilles heel after all. Bed Bugs do not have wings and can only move by crawling. They attach themselves to clothing, luggage or even skin and hitch a ride. Guess they have to resort to find other alternative modes of transportation!
5) Bed Bugs can go up to A YEAR without food
In chillier climates, due to lowered metabolism, bedbugs can live up to A YEAR without feeding! How crazy is that, they must have reached a state of complete divine liberty. But, on average, bed bugs feed once every three or four days. And at room temperature, they cannot survive for much longer than three months without food. Nymphs starve within two weeks to a month- guess they are not as divine as what we think they are then!
6) Bed Bugs are SLOWW to reproduce
Reportedly, as compared to other insects, bed bugs are slow cookers. An adult female bed bug produces only about one to five eggs per day, as compared to its fellow housefly counterpart which lays close to 500 eggs over three days. In addition, each bed bug egg takes 10 days to hatch and a further five to six weeks to develop to an adult. It is indeed a long and arduous process…
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7) Unlike mosquitoes, bed bugs do not transmit disease to humans
The National Institutes of Health confirms that bed bugs do not transmit disease to humans directly. However, research has shown that they do carry diseases and parasite with them, unsurprisingly due to the various locations they visit, but they do not transmit these diseases to humans. So far, from what we know, the only trouble they bring are those red, itchy, bumps on our faces, necks, arms and hands.
8) Young or hungry bed bugs are translucent until fed
This is an interesting one. Apparently, a freshly matured nymph bed bug, or one that has not been fed for a very long time will appear translucent. Warning, graphic image ahead! Only after their blood meal, will they gain colour and turn bright red! That is some real life paint.net going on!
How do you know if you have bedbugs?
After all this interesting knowledge on our new found friends (or enemies), how exactly can we identify the presence of bed bugs, especially if they are not just on our beds? The first few signs of bed bugs infestations include blood stains resembling small rust-coloured brown spots, egg cases and shed skins on cracks in furniture or near beds. There might also be a musty, foul kind of smell emitted from the bed bugs scent glands. If serious, a professional pest control company might be necessary to help identify bed bugs and terminate them completely.
How do you know if you have been bitten by bed bugs?
Tell tale signs of being bitten by bed bugs include red and swollen bumps that appear in a line or clusters at small areas of your body. These bites tend to be itchy or even have a burning sensation. Usually, if a bed bug bites your skin, you won’t feel it right away because of the excretion of a tiny amount of anaesthetic by the bed bug before it feeds on people. Seems like it is being kind to its victim before the symptoms settle in a couple of days later.
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- A burning, painful sensation
- A raised itchy bump with a clear centre
- A red itchy bump with a dark centre and lighter swollen surrounding area
- Linear or zigzag patterned small red bite bumps
- Small spots of dried blood from bites stained onto bed sheets
Treatments and Preventions of Bed Bugs Bites
Lastly, how exactly do we treat or prevent such bites from happening? If the bites is already present, home remedies to alleviate itching include oatmeal baths or cool compresses. Alternatively, medication like antihistamines or steroid creams can be applied if severe. However, typically no treatment is really required so washing the wound with soap and water would suffice.
Yet, prevention is always better than cure and to force these bed bugs to starve, the best way is to fit a mattress encasement. The casing acts as a deterrence and prevents the bed bugs from any form of access. Sleeping with tighter clothing or applying repellent would also be other ideal forms of deterrence.