Top Ten Bed Bug Myths, Debunked


There’s something about bed bugs that just strikes panic and even embarrassment in the hearts of homeowners. For many New Haven residents, the mere thought of bed bugs can create that itchy, creepy-crawly feeling that’s so hard to shake once the thought is there. We may be familiar with the age-old bedtime rhyme, but what do people really know about bed bugs?

Unfortunately, there are more than a few myths surrounding this pest, and mixed statements about bed bugs can leave many confused and generally uninformed. Because of this, we decided to compile a list of our top ten debunked bed bug myths to clear up confusion surrounding bed bugs and aid homeowners in taking the right plan of action in eliminating these tough bugs.

1. Bed Bugs Can Live In Your Hair

Bed bugs are often thought to be similar to lice, and that they will take up residence in your hair. However, this is not true at all. Bed bugs are heat-sensitive pests that will prefer to live in places where heat is not easily trapped, like hair. Bed bugs are also not designed to crawl through hair like lice and ticks are. Bed bugs will only stay on their host for no more than a few minutes before leaving to find their next meal, making hair generally unappealing to them. 

2. Bed Bugs Transmit Diseases  

One very common misconception about bed bugs is that they transmit diseases. This is not true, as bed bugs are not a vector for pathogens. Although they will take blood meals from their host, they are not known to pass on diseases from feeding or coming into contact with humans. On the other hand, bed bugs will bite when they are feeding, and the bites are incredibly itchy. If you have bed bug bites and are intensely scratching, this can open up a wound over the bite, making you more susceptible to the risk of bacterial infection. Although an infection wouldn’t be directly correlated from the bed bug bites, you may consider seeing your doctor for bed bug bite treatment to stop the itching. 

3. Bed Bugs Are An Urban Pest 

Bed bugs are sometimes associated with metropolitan areas and cities. The truth is that bed bugs do not discriminate based on location or setting. Bed bugs can just as easily be found in suburban or rural areas in addition to large, bustling cities. Bed bugs, however, do tend to favor more densely populated areas that make it easier for them to feed on a larger food source. Where bed bugs decide to go does not depend on the environment the host resides, but on how many and how easily accessible they are. 

4. Bed Bugs Only Infest Low Income Households

There is a myth that bed bugs prefer to infest low-income communities. Contrary to belief, there is no correlation between the number of bed bug infestations and income. Once again, bed bugs do not discriminate: these pests may not care about the money you have in your bank account, but they certainly care about food sources. A smaller income will not make you any more susceptible to bed bugs than someone with a larger income. What does matter is that temperature, environment, and food sources are in ideal condition for the bed bugs to thrive.

5. Bed Bugs Are A Sign Of A Dirty House 

When people think of bed bugs, a cluttered mess creeping with tiny bugs often comes to mind. But, this assumption does not represent the truth. The bugs are not attracted to clutter. Bed bugs have no interest in human food; they can only feed on blood from their hosts. Although a little clutter may make it harder for someone to find bedbugs, it is not what is drawing them in. However, they do have a habit of traveling with people or their belongings. While bed bugs may not be attracted to clutter, it might still be advisable to clear away messes in spaces where bed bug activity is suspected. This will help homeowners identify where the bed bugs are coming from. 

6. Bed Bugs Are Attracted To People With Bad Hygiene 

Bed bugs are often associated with people considered to by unsanitary or unhygienic. However, this myth is not rooted in truth. Lack of hygiene does not make a person more susceptible to bed bugs, simply because it isn’t what draws the bed bugs in. Bed bugs are drawn to warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide. As a consequence, bed bugs like to migrate from place to place to get to these things. This makes people who travel often or have recently visited somewhere new most at risk for bed bugs. 

7. Bed Bugs Only Live In Mattresses

Despite their name, bed bugs can be found in more places than just your mattress. Bed bugs have been known to hang around piles of clothes, luggage, chairs, sofas, carpets, electrical outlets, books, and laptops. If you believe you have bed bugs residing with you, closely check your home for signs. Bed bugs are relatively flat unless they’ve had a meal recently; and the size of an apple seed. Eggs resemble a grain of rice but are harder to spot with the naked eye.  

8. Bed Bugs Can Jump 

Bed bugs are not capable of jumping, nor can they fly like fleas. These pests get around by crawling fairly quickly, about a meter a minute. Despite their fast pace, bed bugs will not suddenly crawl towards you when you come into their presence- they much prefer feeding while their hosts are sleeping. Many people often believe turning on their lights while they sleep will help prevent bed bugs from biting, but this is not true either. While bed bugs do prefer the dark, a light left on will not stop a bed bug from biting.  

9. You Need To Throw Out All Your Stuff 

When people discover they have bed bugs, their first reaction to it may be to throw out everything but the kitchen sink. The good news is that you don’t need to throw away all your belongings to get rid of bed bugs, even your mattress! Bed bugs like warmth, and are often found in the creases of items like bedding or cushions. Even though they may like the heat, they can only take so much; laundering your clothes in high heat or steaming your mattress will save you a shopping spree, while also getting rid of any bed bugs found in your belongings.

10. DIY Methods Are Effective In Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs 

Cayenne pepper, hairdryers, store-bought foggers, and other home remedies will not be effective at all in killing bed bugs. When it comes to bed bugs, home remedies are not going to help you in getting rid of them, but only make the infestation worse. Home remedies can also cause the infestation to spread to other nearby areas. To give yourself, your family and even your neighbors' peace of mind, contact us at Connecticut Pest Elimination to treat your home and eradicate the bed bug infestation!