Busting Bed Bug Myths

With so much information regarding bed bugs it can become confusing and overwhelming trying to decipher what’s true and what isn’t. Bed Bugs and Beyond is committed to providing the facts on bed bugs and how to eliminate them. Check out the list below, gathered from the EPA and a UK Bed Bug site, for information on common bed bug myths.

You can’t see a bed bug. You should be able to see adult bed bugs, nymphs and eggs with your naked eye.

Bed bugs live in dirty places. Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth, blood and carbon dioxide. However, clutter offers more hiding spots.

Bed bugs transmit diseases. There are no cases that indicate bed bugs pass diseases from one host to another. Lab tests have shown that it is unlikely that the insect is capable of infecting its host.

Bed bugs won’t come out if the room is brightly lit. While bed bugs prefer darkness, keeping the light on at night won’t deter these pests from biting you.

Pesticide applications alone will easily eliminate bed bug infestations. Bed bug control can only be maintained through a comprehensive treatment strategy that incorporates a variety of techniques and vigilant monitoring. Proper use of pesticides may be one component of the strategy, but will not eliminate bed bugs alone. In addition, bed bugs populations in different geographic areas of the country have developed resistance to many pesticidal modes of action. If you’re dealing with a resistant population, some products and application methods may only serve to make the problem worse. It is a good idea to consult a qualified pest management professional (PMP) if you have bed bugs in your home.

If I throw out the bed I will no longer have bed bugs. They may be called bed bugs but they don’t just live in bed and they can occupy almost any dark crack or crevice in a room. Disposing of ANY furniture prior to it being inspected and treated by an experienced and competent pest controller can be a costly mistake and certainly a false economy. Almost everything can be treated to remove bed bugs but if not properly handled the removal of furniture can simple spread an infestation to other areas of the property.

You need to wash all of your clothes for a bed bug treatment to be effective. We are increasingly hearing this from people who call other companies. The simple fact is that without inspecting the property there is no way of telling if this is needed, our experience tells us that it is only needed in 2% — 5% of cases and is most commonly used as an excuse by an organisation which does not actually want to work on an infestation. There are also a lot of other decontamination methods available that are more effective than washing.

There are no bed bugs in <insert country> We are often told by people that there are no such things as bed bugs in our country.  The simple fact is that bedbugs can occur in almost every country and region on this planet, some areas have always been worse than others but they are a global pest. The resurgence in activity has caught many countries unaware but they do exist everywhere.

My neighbor has bedbugs will I get them as well. Transmission from a neighbour is a lot more common than people would believe and the likelihood of you getting infested depends on how they handle the problem. In flats and apartments the risk is greater if the building does not have a sturdy party wall. A few years ago this method of transmission was widely discounted by pest professionals but is now recognised by most people who have experience of dealing with infestations. In worst case scenarios we have seen 10-20 adjoined properties infested by this method in the same street and several floors in apartment buildings and blocks of flats. If you think your neighbour has an issue with bed bugs you should check your bed and living area on a weekly basis to make sure that you detect any bed bug signs at the earliest possible stages.

I can’t have bed bugs because I have not been anywhere. Unfortunately travel, whether overseas or locally, is not the only possible source of bed bugs.  In an increasing number of cases people are finding it hard to pin down a case of bed bugs to a obvious source such as a trip abroad or the acquisition of a piece of second hand furniture.  We are increasingly finding that bed bugs may be spread on the public transport network, via the workplace, from an adjoining property or even from a house guest who has unwittingly brought the problem with them.

It can’t be bed bugs because I get bitten but my partner does not. The simple fact is that two people sleeping in the same bed may both be bitten by bed bugs but respond in a different way. Some people immediately have a reaction to the bites while others show little or no sign - it all depends on how much you respond to different types of insect bites, the environment you live in and your immune response. There is also some anecdotal evidence that, like most blood feeding insects, bed bugs do not feed from people with certain blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia.

 Bed bugs can be killed by the cold. Yes they can be killed by extremes of cold and hot but it is unlikely that outside temperatures will rise or fall enough to effectively kill them. In the USA where heating houses has been attempted, 3 hours at 70°C will only kill about 78% of bed bugs and needs to be an incredibly rapid otherwise they simply adapt.

Bed bugs are resistant to all pesticides. This is not true but they are becoming increasingly resistant to over used pesticides which unfortunately means the ones that are readily available over the internet. The most common group of chemicals that bed bugs are resistant to are simple Pyrethrins, organic Pyrethrins, Bendiocarb (Ficam products) and simple cypermethrin coumpounds

The bed bugs have been exterminated but I still itch and get occasional bites. Although rare, we are seeing more cases of chitin hypersensitivity which is a temporary condition that can be brought on by contact with bed bugs. Effectively you become sensitive to the compounds in insects shells which can if present cause an itch and in some cases what appears to be a bite. We have even witnessed someone showing a bite response to a dead insect when it was placed on their skin. The only solution is deep cleaning to a hypoallergenic level to remove all the traces of insect casings from the property and your possessions this can be time consuming and is best done by a cleaning team as it reduces your exposure to the irritants.

Bed bugs don’t like metal beds. Although it is true that metal beds are less hospitable to bed bugs simply replacing all beds with metal ones will not cure a bed bug problem.  In some cases because there are not as many obvious hiding places for bed bugs in metal beds they can make the matter worse.

You can’t bring bed bugs back from holiday because they will not survive the temperatures of the planes cargo hold. Bed bugs are a lot more resilient that many people give them credit for. They will survive at low temperatures even below freezing for significant lengths of time.  Unless you are planning on staying in the air for several days don’t rely upon this as a way of decontaminating, isolate your bags before they re-enter your property and make sure they are treated correctly.

If one insecticide does not work why not mix two together.  As much as this may make some sense it is highly illegal to do so.  As much as it pains us to say it we are seeing this happen even with experienced pest controllers.  Make sure you look after your health and safety by only using pest controllers who know what they are doing.

Do you have some bed bug myths you’d like to bust? Let us know, share your thoughts!

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